I’ve recently read a number of articles that seem to be suggesting that SEO is dead, or that it’s not worth investing money in this form of online marketing. As someone with more than 10 years of SEO experience, I’ve found such discussions to be interesting.
One element that always attracts my attention is the fact that it’s easy for ideas to gain traction online. Since there seems to be so much confusion in the world of SEO, it can be incredibly easy to convince novices that certain viewpoints are true. There’s a big difference, however, between presenting a particular viewpoint and actually being correct.
The story of 2012
So why is it that many people are so easily convinced that SEO is dead and buried? In part, I think it can be explained by the fact that last year saw many transformations in the search engine landscape. With high profile algorithm updates from Google, many online businesses suffered a loss of positioning.
As is typical in the case of algorithm updates, however, it’s worth remembering that there were winners and losers. Internet forums tend to be full of stories from those who have lost out and you need to think about the fact that you are far likely to hear from the winners.
This can create an overall impression of a situation where so many people seem to be struggling. For those who have suffered a similar fate, it should not be too surprising to find that there is a willingness to believe that all is lost.
A focus on quality
This all needs to be kept in context. Although many sites did lose positioning, the truth is that website owners were often indulging in fairly low quality techniques. In a sense, this was pretty understandable, since Google often rewarded those who were looking for shortcuts.
The message from last year is not that SEO has come to an end. Instead, the reality is that a certain approach to SEO is no longer successful. If you’ve been busy stuffing sites full of keywords, adding low quality content and building thousands of links, then the game is up.
This can be frustrating news, particularly if it seems like others are still succeeding, despite a reliance on older techniques. I certainly see sites rising up the rankings that do seem to be using shortcuts, but they don’t last long. For those of us looking to build sustainable rankings, it’s clear that a different approach is required. In particular, we need to think about quality, rather than quantity.
A consideration of all aspects
That quality needs to be present when adding content to a site, when reaching out to potential customers and when attracting links to your site. In short, you need to be thinking about quality at all times.
This can seem like a more difficult approach and it’s certainly less likely to be quick. As a result, there’s also a fair chance that it will be increasingly expensive. Without embracing the new rules of SEO, however, you will discover that you can’t find long-term success.
If 2012 was the year of SEO changes, then make sure that 2013 is the year of online marketing advances for your business.
About the Author: Keith Barrett writes on a variety of online marketing subjects. As part of his work for Search South SEO, he takes a look at strategy and the changing online environment.