There’s an old saying you’ve probably heard that goes “the only thing constant is change”. There is a modern day example that demonstrates that philosophy perfectly. Search Engine Optimization or SEO. The digital marketing practice is probably different this week than it was last and more than likely will have changed and modified between the time this article is being written and when you’re reading it.
You will hear from time to time that SEO died but it in reality has never been more alive. Think about it, if something is constantly changing it must be alive right? If SEO remained the same, never changed, it would then in fact be dead. The only thing dead about SEO then are old methods of SEO. Not SEO itself. This constantly changing practice will always be progressing and modifying.
Digital marketers that want to succeed with SEO will always have to keep up with current practices and changes. The challenge of doing this will always be present but the reward for those that do keep up will be worth it.
At a recent conference in Manila, Cyrus Shepard, the former SEO Director at MOZ delivered a presentation on the topic of SEO in 2018. The first sticking point of the discussion was that there is no such thing as an “SEO Expert” and many of those perceived as experts, like Shephard are in fact winging it and making things up as they go along.
Millions of dollars are made every year online from SEO gurus promising to provide a “blueprint” to successful SEO when in reality no such map exist. Making it important for any SEO practitioner to always be prepared to change and adapt.
Another point that was made in the presentation was just because you get good search engine page ranking results does not necessarily guarantee you traffic. Many SEO teachers will stress how important it is to increase your rank and use SERP’s for more visibility. In the old days this was correct advise but with changes to SEO over the years, in this day and age this old strategy is no longer always effective for several reasons.
First of all SERP’s are crowded places now. With shopping ads, video thumbnails, text ads, images and other new SERP features, organic results are getting lost in the crowd of a very busy page. There are many more distractions and attention grabbing features that can leave organic results virtually unnoticed which is leading to fewer clicks for organic listings. Another factor is Google has increased meta description lengths and many times the users question is answered right in the description snippet so they don’t even need to click through to the site. Finally there’s voice search, this feature eliminates the need to click on any links or visit any websites as their inquiry is answered with voice technology. Estimates are that by 2020 50% off all searches will be done using click free voice search. So there’s another change that must be known and adapted to by SEO’s.
All news is not bad news however. Search volume is constantly increasing every year and Google remains the number one traffic source on the internet and traffic from the search engine continues to climb. One of Google’s primary focuses for their customers in modern SEO is measuring how much content they are ranking satisfies the users query. So your opportunity lies in knowing what the search engines are trying to achieve, meeting those needs and expectations will keep you above the noise and on page 1 while others are left utilizing old outdated SEO practices and proclaiming “SEO is dead”.