SEO is Dead? Really?

by Sid

So, it’s November 24th, 2017 and SEO is dead… again… One of the oldest cliches on the internet, SEO being dead is about as old as search engine optimization. As Google rolls out its latest update (May Day, Caffeine, The Farmer Update, the latest Panda tweak, Penguin, the EMD update, Penguin 2.0, Hummingbird – whatever), people are cheering the death of SEO right on queue. Any quick search for the term “seo is dead” or “is seo dead” will quickly bring up results from both sides of the argument, though you’ll notice those who argue against this supposed death of SEO populate a larger portion of the top search results. I can’t imagine why…

If you can't see this image, have I got a treat for you - An alt attribute that actually describes the image rather than being keyword stuffed nonsense. Here goes: This image depicts an anthropomorphic skeleton kicking into the air because he's super excited that people who say 'seo is dead' are wrong. His name is Sid the asskicking SEO skeleton.

Check me out. I'm SEO and I'm totally dead. How am I still kicking so much ass?

The reality is that SEO is incredibly basic. Take the standard on-page factors – you know all that cliche crap like title tags, H tags, alt attributes, good keyword choices, properly keyword-laden content etc, and align them with your off-page efforts, and voila – you’re ranking. This should all be incorporated into any basic web designer or web development team’s plan these days. If it isn’t, fire those people. And whatever you do, fire anyone who claims to be an SEO expert, or worse yet, a Social Media Expert.

Do off-page efforts count as SEO? SEO is supposed to be about optimizing your website for the search engines, right? Sure, in 1997. These days it’s an all encompassing process of getting your website ranked. This includes the process of getting backlinks using means that are whitehat, blackhat and everything in between.

Spamming (comments and content) may be involved, if you so choose, in addition to “article marketing” which is a lesser form of spam that often involves paying for articles in large quantities from content sweat shops, and submitting them to article directories. This is a perfectly valid (though not very effective) way to get your sites ranked. These articles aren’t going to be mind-blowing “quality content” but they get the job done. Some people even choose to put this mass produced sweat shop content on their main websites. You see these content farms everywhere at the top of the search results. Just look for “how to” do pretty much anything and you’ll see what I mean.

[Update: Since this article was first published, Google has made a (sad) attempt to clean out these content farms when they initially rolled out the Panda update on February 23rd(ish), 2011]

[Update (10/17/2016): You’ll find the latest iteration of this keyword phrase exploitation using shallow sweat-shop content if you search for anything using the word “best”]

A lot of these basics haven’t really changed much since the inception of SEO. The great thing is that a lot of this is fluid and intangible. This means that people who need exact numbers (“how many links does it take?”) will give up long before they see results for their efforts. Fortunately for me, and my mediocre efforts, that really lowers the bar for SEO. But you’ve got to be wondering where all these quitters are going, yeah?

Twitter. These people that claim that SEO is dead seem to be flocking to social media. Why social media? Because it’s easy and cheap. It’s pretty damned easy to post a Tweet and assume you’re doing some real work. It’s even better if you’ve convinced some clueless business to pay you to do it.

The problem with Twitter is that even if people bother to click the link, they won’t be doing anything worthwhile on your site (buying a product or clicking an ad). And note I said IF they click the link. I’ve had articles on various websites of mine “Tweeted” and then “retweeted” throughout the land of Twitter by people with thousands of followers, and the amount of people that actually clicked through the link was depressing low. Good job “engaging your audience.” These mindless moronic zombies are just tweeting and retweeting their faces off and no one is listening. No one gives a crap. If this is where people default to when they fail at proper SEO, then they can have at it. Go ahead and call yourself a “Social Media Expert” (SME) or an SMO (Social Media Optimizer) and leave the real work to those of us who know what we’re doing.

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[Update: 08/19/2011 – Case in point about Twitter sucking – Some chucklenut with 5,000 “followers” tweeted this blog today. 11 people clicked through. 11! That is a whopping .2% CTR. Talk about an engaged audience. With those numbers, I’m reconsidering shifting vocations to SMO. What a joke.]

More reading: The Social Media Ponzi Bubble Explodes @ SEOBook.com – This is basically a much better version of parts of the rant I wrote here more than two three four five six seven years ago. The article is superb, and there are a lot of links; I suggest you follow them all and read the associated articles as well.

Leave a Comment

{ 81 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank

I believe seo is dead but, marketing is alive and well. All the old tricks and strategies are useless now. The only things that matter is content and links, that’s it! The man who gets the most and highest links gets the position, it’s that simple.

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Sid

Depends on what you define as “old tricks and strategies.” I tend to include “article marketing” (AKA getting a bunch of backlinks in exchange for content) as being part of an overall SEO strategy that covers on site as well as off site efforts. Getting links is part of SEO, therefor SEO is not dead. It changes, and it always will, but it will never die. We can’t simply forget SEO.

If by “old tricks and strategies” you mean simple things like aligning title tags and the like with what you want to rank for, you’re crazy to think that’s dead. More links will beat less links, but it’s certainly a bit easier going if you’ve also optimized your on page/site factors.

The whole content thing is a debatable. Yes, you want to present quality content, but moreover you want to make sure that content is properly SEO’d (not just keyword stuffed). Having amazing content will also bring organic links, but no one is organically linking to your amazing content if they can’t find you in the first place. Google can’t read. It doesn’t care how brilliant your statements are, it just wants to analyze what your content is about so it can present the most relevant content to its searchers. If you’re good, you can engage an audience while also optimizing your content. This will get searchers to your page, and hopefully have them spreading the word about how super awesome your content is. Or clicking an ad, buying a product, or taking some sort of action.

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Jeric

I don’t agree with your last sentence. We have a new competitor (u1seo.com), newly built site i guess. I tried to check their profile link ’cause I wonder why they ranked so fast. I checked them on Opensite and Ahrefs and I found out that they don’t have any backlinks at all.
This is crazy. -_-

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Phil Seo

I can’t get your point man? One statement you’re saying SEO is dead and in another you’re “preaching” about content. Well, in my honest opinion, SEO will NEVER die because Google won’t be a perfect search engine. And with that imperfection, there is a way to fool Google. Simple.

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Sid

When I say “SEO is Dead,” I’m kidding. I agree that SEO isn’t dead, nor will it ever be. People who are terrible at SEO are a dying breed because the game is always changing, and it’s getting more difficult. A lot of people who pretend to be SEOs don’t want to do the work that’s required to keep up.

I don’t think it’s a matter of “fooling” Google, it’s just a matter of sending the machine the right signals to get things ranked. It’s always going to be better for everyone – Google, Users and Webmasters – if SEOs are ranking content that properly matches searcher intent.

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SEO Enquirer

SEO will die one day. When Knowledge graph and carousels and adwords ads are all you see on the front page then why are you bothering with SEO?

don’t believe me? type in “diabetes symptoms” into google and tell me what you see.

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Jack Martin

I just keep reading how SEO is dead. And yet all my favorite SEO companies are still in business. And yet each year, you hear “SEO is dead” more and more. My coworker just did some research on how often “SEO is dead” is said, and who’s saying it. If you’re interested, check it out on Conversation Marketing at someshittycompany.com/blog/seo/seo-is-dead-and-the-death-of-seo-graveyard.htm

Note from the admin: This was a spam comment generated by or for some shitty company called Portent. It’s sort of like Impotent minus the “Im” with an extra “r” thrown in for good measure. I’ve only recently noticed the exact same comment on other blogs about SEO being dead. I have to admit, it was a fairly well done piece of garbage. I’m going to go ahead and leave it here for all to see. I’m sure I’ll totally lose my rank for having this duplicate content.

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Sid

I would, but the page seems to be dead. OHHHHH THE IRONY!

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James

Jesus is dead and people still go on about him.
SEO is not, yet people say it is.

Both groups of people mentioned above will just ignore facts and believe what they like. If SEO is supposed to be dead, why do people go on about it so much? Why does my work affect search engine results and why do SEO companies and Social Marketing ‘experts’ still exist?

Sure, we could lose the last lot, because they’re just used car salesmen who throw buzzwords about like they’re a ticking timebomb.

SEO cannot die until search engines index pages immediately as they’re published and until they are 1000% accurate and perfect. At the moment I would say they’re on about 40%.

$0.02

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Sid

To add to your list of rhetorical questions: Why is Google openly and aggressively attacking SEOs and certain SEO tactics?

They wouldn’t bother if it was dead.

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Andrew

Is Jesus the same as SEO?

Is everyone on this thread an SEO person? I want SEO people to comment on an ebook called Is SEO as dead as a parrot, it’s on Amazon it has one review which tells everyone not to read it 🙂

It must be saying something right!

Running scared is all I can say, SEO is dead because it makes not a jot of difference for the average business that is successfully ploughing forward with great sales and inbound marketing! Sucking all the leads up and stealing from their competitors.
SEO is long term very little reward tactics.

You want sales and want them today? You want cash flow? Get your sales into operation mode and stop wasting time with SEO

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Lucifer Knives

Sid, I won’t get into the whole debate about whether SEO is indeed dead, but I will say congrats on getting to the top of page 1 of google worldwide for the search term ‘seo is dead.’ When I did the search earlier today, that’s 10pm on the 24th April 2012, this article was the top dog on page 1 of google out of 12,300,000 results. That’s mental.

Lucifer

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Sid

WINNAR!11!! Yeah, I seem to be #1 in the UK and India. I’m on page 1 in the US, but I’ve never reached that coveted #1 spot as far as I can tell. I bet I could get there if I actually built a link or two. But search engine optimization is dead, so maybe not.

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Igor

Yeah, man! Page #1. With seoisdead.net.

And all these “SEO is dead ” retards are saying EMDs don’t work anymore.

Let them all suck the cold Penguin’s dick.

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Sid

Yeah EMDs are dead too according to the “expert” SEOtards. Every SEO fartbox on the internet is squawking about the death of SEO from Penguin, yet my little EMD sits here with 1 page of potentially over-optimized content. The content is relevant and accurate though, so I guess it’s got that going for it.

But everybody panic and de-optimize your sites quick! If you have an article about SEO being dead, don’t internally link to it with the phrase “seo is dead” and sure is hell don’t give it that title otherwise the Google monster will come shove a Penguin up your ass.

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chatbot

hahaha we got an EMD , almost completely blank website ranking number #2 for a highly searched term. an EMD cuts out at least half the work!

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Sid

Lolz

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Cory

I notice you seem to have a bit of a negative view regarding Twitter. Would it be accurate to say that in your view SEO may not be dead, but Viral Marketing is (owing to a diet of cheap and easy attempts at feeding it a diet of useless tweets)?

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Sid

Twitter and Viral Marketing aren’t synonymous. Viral Marketing is definitely not dead, but I’m a bit sick of every asshole on the planet trying to get some garbage to “go viral.” Twitter is annoying for so many reasons and the aforementioned assholes are only one of them.

Twitter is pretty much useless for SEO purposes. Even general marketing with Twitter is usually a big fat sad bucket of fail. It probably has its place for some businesses and can be done well, but those cases are few and far between and are pretty much drowned out by a steady “diet of useless tweets.”

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Steve
Sid

Speaking of annoying attempts to “go viral,” infographics that provide little actual data, but have a whole lot of text and a lot of silly pictures of arrows are the worst. This one is even worse because there seems to be an excessive amount of random stupid pictures including, of course, the arrows.

Overall, it’s a hack-job of hackneyed info.

And now you’ve made me link to it. Damnit.

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syed nayab

Can i just ad one more nonsense here, its not dead, But the cream Visitors are going to Adwords, dont belive me , Just go to analytics and see the visits that you are getting for the comptitive keywords you spend five months optimizing and Get all that in Few dollers with Paid campaign…
and compares the results few years back

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Sid

True, SEO is evolving and it’s definitely more difficult than it used to be and has a lower ROI, but it’s still alive and kicking. You have to keep in mind that Adwords is an ongoing cost while SEO, once you rank, requires a fairly small amount of upkeep especially if you’ve chosen your target keywords well.

Google is certainly trying their damnedest to funnel people through their channels (Adwords, Google Products, Etc), but that’s nothing new.

People tend to over-complicate SEO, and while it might be more difficult than it used to be, it still just requires a bit of research and selective targeting. Companies that are serious about their products should be incorporating both SEM (Adwords) and SEO. Especially so since Google selectively shares certain Analytics information with their paying Adwords customers.

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Nick

I’ve been in SEO for a good 7 years, and the door is definitely closing for organic SEO. The way I see it, Google can’t make a penny off organic search. They’re savvy to the fact there is a whole industry that has been thriving through their SERP’s.

Google’s argument is that they want to serve more relevant results for searchers, but ultimately I see that as a guise to push their number one money-maker – sponsored ad’s/ppc. Sponsored ads seem to be gaining more and more screen real-estate as the months go by.

Organic listings will never die, after all – it’s the core of Google’s business but I do believe for businesses that are looking to increase targeted traffic, social media is going to be the way forward.

With the rise of Google+ search results will be heavily influenced by social signals. If people (especially people with large followings) are retweeting, or posting links to certain pages – you can bet your balls they’ll affect the serps.

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Sid

Well whatever it takes, links or likes, SEO scammers/spammers/Sultans of the SERPs or whatever they want to call us will figure out how to game it to get shit ranked.

Google’s best shot at countering it is shoving their own shitty properties and ads in the user’s face whether or not they’re actually useful. This tactic is becoming quite obvious as they claim more and more of the above-the-fold real estate in the SERPS with not just paid ads, but all their other scraped crap content.

I’ve had to block youtube.com results from my search results because I was sick of getting two pages of shitty spammy videos for the most mundane and non-video friendly queries I would input. It’s getting quite ridiculous.

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Neil Ferree

Nick is right. Google+ and ones Authorship + Authorank on Plus will have a major impact on SERP’s [ Organic + otherwise ]

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Sid

I doubt it. But having people out there wasting their time on this stuff makes my job a whole lot easier, so thank you.

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Cammy

“The way I see it, Google can’t make a penny off organic search.”

You really need to read “In the Plex.” Google has always known that they don’t make money on organic. This is what caused other would-be Googles to avoid giving better results (they wanted to keep people ON the SERP page to make money on display ads, not send them away to another website).

However, if they start smothering results with their paid crap, people will stop using them as their SE of choice, and will use SE that decides to show relevant organic content. So Google has a balance to maintain.

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Randy Artibee

I think we need to look at what type of business needs SEO – and more importantly the market THEIR customer are in. I live, work, and play in western michigan. not a huge population by any means. I work specifically with local real estate agents and auto dealers. most of our SEO campaigns are for realtors. It is very easy to get them to the top of any search engine. Just because the pure LACK OF LOCAL BUSINESSES WITH DECENT WEBSITES. in larger metro areas like detroit, lansing, ann arbor – it matters more. For over half the businesses in Michigan they don’t need a full time seo optimizer working on their website and social media pages. There just isn’t enough people searching for them or enough competition to spend 2,000 each month on just an SEO campaign. So what should they do? Social media has performed much better in rural markets.

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Sid

Few businesses really need a full time SEO. Far fewer, if any, need a full time Social Media Expert or whatever they call themselves. I’ve said before that social media can probably be done right, but it almost always isn’t. For most people and businesses it’s a massive waste of time and resources that’s pursued and perpetuated by lazy marketers.

Local business SEO is easy money, especially in areas with low population, and I can see how a healthy dose of Social Media convo might be helpful in those situations.

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Andy Web

I will be publishing a short paper on SEO is Dead early part of 2013

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Sid

Neato.

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Andy Web

Hi Sid finally it went live on Amazon Kindle would you like to have a link to it? Is it ok to post a link? Mail me off the forum.

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Mike Darnell

Hiya,

Just appreciating a genuinely well written piece on a topic that’s going to be around for as long as people search for stuff on the web. The Karate kick dry-bones cracked me up, and your domain name is a beauty.

I’m not going to dive into the fray with some insightful SEO comment. I’m not smart enough, and it’s all been said before.

: )
Mike
http://treepodia.com – Ecommerce Video

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Sid

Thanks for stopping by, Mike.

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Andy Web

Mike I like the ‘its all been said before’ comment. It’s amazing how full circle SEO has come and even with some very compelling arguments against it being alive it is still very difficult to say its outright dead. The biggest problem now is simply reversing the damage the SEO industry has done to business. Producing a false hope that new business will be generated from lots of ‘free’ flowing traffic from high relevancy keywords that never materialise, its just sad. But then on the other hand the education process for SEO which is free can be taken up by any business yet it isn’t often! My short paper will focus on arguing that SEO is dead or at best deceased!

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Sid

Dead and deceased are synonyms… And SEO is neither. I have never been comfortable with the idea selling businesses on SEO though, and luckily I will never have to since I actually know what I’m doing. It’s not that SEO is dead, it’s that the people who are willing to sell their services are usually not good at it. To your point about SEO being taken up for free, and that most businesses don’t – I agree, and I find this shocking especially when they’re foolish enough to turn around and pay some fool thousands of dollars to supposedly do it for them.

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Iniquitous Inc (URL removed because your site has been hacked)

Sid, You say people who are willing to sell their services are not good at it but anyone who does SEO is selling their service. Whether it is a business owner doing SEO for their own business or a SEO firm we’re all selling our time. Even if a business owner does it “for free” the time spent on the project is paid for in their sallary and time away from other projects may cost the company more. If you have a skill, you can offer it to others for any price- that’s capitalism.

I’ve had my haircut by people who say they’re great at cutting hair and I wasn’t happy with the result- stuff happens. We all must do our due diligence when going into business with anyone else.

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Sid

Actually, I’ve said that basic SEO should be part of any web developers plan but most people who sell SEO as if it’s some sure-fire add-on service are full of shit. This is especially true for those who can’t even rank for their local terms like “Denver SEO” or “SEO in Denver” etc.

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Dave

The best description I have recently heard about off-page SEO is that it’s taking your eye off the ball. The focus should be on successfully marketing one’s business to customers and not trying to market to Google via cliches such as make great content and build quality links.

A couple years ago I attended a conference put together by a well known inforgraphic maker. The irony is that a conference, with all it’s buzz (online and off), no doubt can do much more for rankings than products like link bait infographics.

SEO as a business? Good luck. It’s a model that is under assault by smartphones.

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Sid

I guess by “best” description you don’t mean “useful” or “accurate” description. That’s kind of weird, because I usually find useful and accurate information to be the best. Oh well, to each their own.

I really don’t understand your point about the conference. Link bait infographics are shitty, but do draw links which in turn can have a direct impact your rankings. That offline “buzz” had no effect on this person’s rankings. Online “buzz” would, if it meant that the “buzz” was creating links to their website. It really is that simple. High quality, relevant links = higher SERP position. I’m glad you have “no doubt” about how these things affect rankings though. You must have gathered a lot of data to be so sure.

Tell me though, if some idiot SEO created an entire link bait website… what affect do you think that would have on his rankings?

And this business model seems to be doing okay under the oppression of the dreadful smartphone market. I have a site that gets basically all of its traffic from search engines (it ranks #1 for some juicy keywords, and on page 1 for others) and more than 75% of that traffic is via smartphone browsers. It is a very profitable site.

Being patently wrong about things related to your online business? Good luck. It’s a model under assault by common sense.

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Alex

You are being watched… a lot of information sites over this site now searching in your bones… PR, AR, Titles, IP, owner, Keywords, back links, social shares and a long WOW… some of 1.4 million more visited sites in the world. but SEO is DEAD xD!!!!

Greetings Bones
=)

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Sid

Uh… say what?

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Victor

great post, better title 😉 I have question one question! imagine that a very close friend of you ask you for a SEO strategy for his site (he is your pal, not your client so you don´t have to invent stories) would you still include Microformats or XML site map??

thanks in advance!!

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Sid

XML sitemaps are highly overrated. Google can index all of your content just fine without one, especially if your site structure has been set up properly.

I usually don’t bother with Microformats. They’re more trouble than they’re worth. Some of them can be useful for increasing clickthroughs from Google, but that depends on the site (for example I have a recipe site that has nice pretty pictures of the food in the SERPS)

So I wouldn’t include the XML sitemap, and I might work with schemas/microformats depending on the types of site.

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Victor

by the way, nice reply to the spamy comment of Steve 😉 jajaja

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Diogo

If you ask me if today’s SEO is the same as 3yrs ago, my answer is: ‘no, it’s not’.. or at least it shouldn’t be… like almost all things in digital world, changes are swift. This said, we shouldn’t forget that many people think SEO is dead in the sense of ‘will do everything for your business’ and you’ll only need an SEO ‘expert’ doing his onsite and offsite stuff.

As of today, it all depends on what you want to achieve and in what market. By my personal experience I can say that companies competing on highly competitive markets have to consider SEM strategies where PPC plays a bigger role. Companies looking to make profit out of an online presence and playing in a competitive market will have to do proper PPC to survive, that’s for sure. They need to find an online business model that deliver good ROI from PPC.

I used to work for a small company who was playing the game with the biggest players on the market, simply because PPC was dealt properly. And the biggest brands were filling the organic ranks, but even so, there were too many options to choose from and plenty of times the message from ads many times is simply more tempting.

Another fact is that most business would perform better in terms of ROI if they invest on good landing pages combined with good PPC. Again, that’s for competitive searches.

I would agree with Sid that Social Media is overrated and there’s a lot of nonsense around it. I’ve seen so many 25 year social fanatics calling themselves “social media experts” I quickly got bored.

I won’t say SEO is dead, not even close. For brand awareness there’s nothing better. But if you speak of business sales/convertions, I would say that companies who are focusing mainly on SEO are losing a huge opportunity with PPC, and ultimately losing competitive edge.

To me SEM is the more sensible option.

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Swaran Jit

If SEO is Dead.. It means that Search Engines are Dead.
So SEO never Dies till Search Engines Dies.
Google Never Dies so SEO too never Dies.

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Aaron

Dear every company ever: Stop wasting money on SEO. Hire a PR company and (gasp) create some noteworthy content! All google cares about are your backlinks. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling you something. SEO salesmen have no vested interest in your success. They will destroy your google ranking by using blackhat backlinks to make it look like their work is performing only to leave you screwed in the long run when google inevitably penalizes you. SEO = playing with fire. Don’t say you weren’t warned. All the comments on this page are from SEO salesmen in denial that their snake oil isn’t selling as well as it used to. Buyer beware.

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Cammy

Aaron – not everyone can afford a PR company. SEO does incorporate some PR. What do you think branding and reputation management are? PR and SEO are not mutually exclusive. A good PR firm will include some SEO, and a good SEO strategy includes some PR work.

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MUYA

hi Aaron – seems that you have less knowledge about seo itself and i believe you ever got scam in one company or you are getting penalty from google because of your knowledge (less) in optimize your site.

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Areesh Khan.

Wow! I really like your article… You are a very tricky person man. Purchased an EMD seoisdead.com, made the title “SEO Is Dead” use in description “seo is dead”. Now your page is on first position by keyword “seo is dead”… and You are saying SEO is dead… What a Joke… LOL

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Cammy

Areesh – did you even read the article?

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Chris

The ironic thing is how much SEO these “SEO is dead” posts/articles incorporate. I wonder how many of these authors really believe it as opposed to just looking for a way to sponge off of the latest ‘SEO is dead’ hoopla.

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Sid

Some of the best examples of this I’ve found are people putting semi-relevant images on their posts (because Google loves images oh-so-much) and then giving it the completely irrelevant alt attribute of “SEO is dead” even as they rail against SEO.

I had some examples screen capped and set aside because I was going to a post here about irrelevant alt attributes and how doing this means you’re being a dick to blind people for the sake of ranking while also being a big fat hypocrite, but I decided to just leave this site as a 1 pager for now.

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Chris

I hear ya; gotta pick your battles (and how much time you invest in them), especially when it diverts you from money-making projects. Nevertheless, I’m glad this site is up on the internets! The fact that it’s a single-page EMD makes it all the better.

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sameer

I am not SEO master,but i can understand it…SEO will be never die it changes only its way of optimization. Now days if you do press release,info graphic and social bookmarking with proper way then you will count well in search engine.

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Katina

Have you seen Google’s latest update to its webmaster guidelines on link schemes? While I agree SEO is not dead, it does seem that Google is getting more and more capable of finding sites that are using unnatural tactics, tactics which are/were considered white hat. With these changes, it seems that ranking a site needs to be done through more natural means which is extremely costly and and will not happen as quickly as clients prefer. With that said it seems that Google is slowly pushing out SEO companies in an attempt to 1)Make their results more natural and 2)Build up their PPC/Paid Search. Also, maybe in saying SEO is dead people are in fact saying SEO companies are dead…just a thought. I am curious to see your thoughts on this. Great post by the way!

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Zen

Google algorithm will not be dead in a long time, but ‘manipulative’ SEO won’t work anymore. There used to times when simply spamming meta keywords would be considered SEO. The game has been tougher and tougher over the years. Google has announced that they will be kissing Keyworld Tool/Planner goodbye. What next?

Yes sure there are plenty of SEO gurus out there going on about “oh it’s good that it’s getting difficult, because SEO should always be about the content and users. And as it gets tougher it weeds out the weaker links.” Yes yes yes… all true and fancy but c’mon people… we need to stop lying to ourselves. At the end of the day those who manage to squeeze the biggest pie down their pockets before getting busted are the biggest winners, and that’s exactly what Google is doing right now – “You want stats? Hoho guess what, no more free stats anymore. Use Adwords and pay to find out!”

So what even if you claim to be a superwhitehatman, the algorithm’s going to change, your competitors are going to change, Google is going to change. The internet is extremely VAST, DYANMIC, and GREY. There is no white or blackhat, no user-experience vs SEO, no organic vs paid. At the end of the day, you are a winner if you manage to get what you want from you what you do – which is money in most cases.

I spent 5 years to find out that SEO is just so simple, and the first advice that I would ever give a newbie is not to read too much, especially on forums. Get your answer and get on with it.

I totally agree with what you said – the logic behind SEO is bloody SIMPLE, and those who act like ‘gurus’ should be shot. You can find plenty of them on many SEO forums – people who waste time in forum boosting one another’s ego, spending weeks coming up with perfect looking SEO plans which are covered in more technical jargons than my bum fluff.

OK I should stop being a jerk and stop ranting. Don’t know what got into me, must be the fact that Google’s shutting down keyword tool. I always thought it was the best thing ever that they have contributed to society. It doesn’t feel like Google is the same old ‘Don’t be evil’ organisation anymore. Selling our data and whatnot… Screw them.

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Nigel Merrick

Finally, a post that makes sense out of all the nonsense out there about SEO dying 🙂

You put it so well when you said, “The reality is that SEO is incredibly basic…” and I think this is the one thing that most small business owners are really missing. SEO is made out to appear difficult by the people trying to sell high-priced SEO services to those who are ignorant of how easy it really is to do most of it themselves.

Admittedly, Google’s latest “(not provided)” changes make SEO life a bit more difficult, it has far from killed SEO and the tools and (white hat) techniques we use today are just as relevant as they’ve always been.

The rule I advise my own clients to stick to is very simple:

“Continue to create great content that people want to consume and share; content that’s valuable, informative, and original.”

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Asher Elran

The only thing is dead are the old methods of ranking a website. You still need to do your on-page SEO – title, h1, h2, optimized (on topic and with at least some keywords in body) content. Back links, with your brand/ company name as anchor, social mentions. It is not a rocket since but if you are an average business owner, good luck figuring out how exactly to do those things. So as an SEO guy, I feel that my business will be flourishing for many years to come.

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Alconcalcia

More and more these days I find myself thinking that the people that push SEO as being the be all and end all and a must have seem to conveniently ignore the fact that rather than putting all their eggs in one basket and relying on search engine results ranking them at the top of their particular pile, many businesses employ other means of driving traffic to their website. And, even if through some kind of technical jiggery pokery a business DOES end up ranked number one, there is still no guarantee that a) they are the best people for whatever task the reader has or product they need or b) that the website the reader lands on is going to tell a story that is going to convince them that this company is indeed the proverbial dogs swingers in its field.

Much better I believe to have an advertising, marketing and PR programme in place whereby a business is getting it’s name out there, not just online through various social channels, but by traditional means too like press, billboards, radio, mailers etc. , and backing this up by taking the time to invest in quality content on their site that sells whatever their proposition is. Human beings are led by their emotions. Technology alone may lead them to the water but won’t convince them to drink. Or in other words, SEO isn’t the be all and end all, quality content and persuasive and alluring messages are. However people arrive at your website (and, again, by online search is just one of many means) they need to be first and foremost wooed by the words they see. What’s more, if the content is written well, those words won’t just automatically include many key phrases, they will also flow nicely and entice, which, at the end of the day, is what will attract people to your business proposition, product or job.

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Andrew Laws (author of 'SEO is DEAD' book)

Good SEO is good marketing, but the acronym ‘SEO’ has been dirtied almost beyond repair by con-artists and the inept engaging the concepts poorly.

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TessLC

SEO IS ALIVE!!! and cannot be dead.. if the world still exist…and human being still exist…
Any one who likes infinite knowledge, non-endless thoughts, no end mental activity..SEO always there!! alive!!! and exist!!! SEO is basic..ideas from SEO product of human thoughts..human thoughts are alive!!

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not telling

A lot of the web thinks seo is dead, if this is the case just type seo company into google 9 out of the ten companies are using black hat seo on the first page. also the top company has no page rank no domain rank and back links from only in 28 domains. Seo will never die it is like trying to stop drug dealing or car crime, not a chance Remember it is Google vs every seo company in the world they are fighting a losing battle.

Take a look at this it ranks for loads of local terms in Texas and is pure seo manipulation

findrhinoplastysurgeons.com/

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Danny

Great article,

I found it after publishing an “SEO is dead” article of my own:

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Michael Lynch

Ya gotta love buzzwords and the speed with which they can be appropriated. Seems to me the SEO folk are all talking about content marketing all of a sudden. If I want to market something I’ll talk to a marketer – not some SEO expert who was banging on about backlinks a few months ago.

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VIvek Sharma

“I don’t think SEO is dying. I do think SEO has changed and will continue to change as search itself changes.”
– Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land.

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Robby

It would make no sense for their just to be ads in the search engines. People don’t rush to a tv to just watch commercials unless its Super Bowl commercials.

People love to buy but hate being sold too. If they knew everything was a ad it would be harder to sell them anything. Their defenses would be up automatically.

SEO is tougher now but still worth the trouble.

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Andrew

The Problem with this logic is understanding control. If you had a product that sold significant volumes was in constant demand and supply was a 24 / 7 operation you would reinforce your brand and product awareness to as many people as possible regardless of cost. You would not waste your time and effort on activity that at best was a hope of being being found.

I really hope that someone will search and find us! It’s just a dumb way to run a business.

Yes, I agree… as I prefer to call it, will yield significant results if you do it right.

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Jithin

SEO is not only dead but its on the way to the grave… LOL

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Don Hesh

Hi All
This is the ugly truth about SEO. Google need us to use AdWords more and more. I also seen web site with poor loading speed and without a mobile website , ranking in Google first page.
I know, Google fighting hard on Web Spam. However, I don’t see a bright future for SEO consultants. Google will be a web directory very soon, like yellow pages. People who got money can advertise and get higher rankings.

Regards
Don Hesh

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Marty Rogers

Frankly, I’m sick and tired of reading “SEO is DEAD” stories. They’re everywhere, literally everywhere.

It was funny when Matt Cutts released a video a month or so back about how important backlinks are to SEO still, after so many useless and ridiculous posts about their imminent death. So-called SEO experts make me chuckle.

Fools.

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Adam Rowles

Of course SEO isn’t dead. Traditional practices just don’t cut it any more. I holistic approach is required, which involves content marketing and promotion.

I believe social media will become an integral part of any SEO campaign.

Don’t forget SEO stands for “search engine optimisation”, until people stop caring about their visibility in search engines, SEO will live.

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Robert B

If you are a startup with an innovative product, what is the use of a good SEO? What should ppl start searching for if nobody ever heard of you or your product is so new also nobody ever heard of it? For a startup branding yourself, building relationships, have your product tested (and liked) and build on a sound reputation the old-fashioned upstream marketing ways are the only ways to get noticed and get some traction. Maybe, maybe SEO is great once you are up and running, but to “get attention” and high search rankings?!? Improbable, and useless at the start.

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Jack Edwards

Nobody should ever say LOL outside of text speak, but when somebody claims SEO is dead or dying during a serious conversion I feel I have no option but to do so.

I should be ashamed of myself, I know!

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Gayatri

“All of the secrets of SEO will be revealed if you simply enter your email below”
Good Prank!!

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GK

SEO IS DEAD, DONE, GOOGLE IS DONE.

#1 Indians ruined it with their approach
#2 Panda, Pinguin etc. only discouraged web masters from moving forward and actually competing for positions in Google
#3 Algorithm is a whack job now, nobody can get anywhere with new web sites

and #4 major reason – F**ck Google and hello Amazon. Google just handed their heart to Amazon and other marketplaces when Google was a domination. Dumb idiots who operated Google marketplace and spam team f***ed it up for Google. Expect massive layoffs coming soon!!! Google has hiring freeze now…. Bye Bye….

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Sid

umad?

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SEO DUDE

I’m quitting the SEO industry. We have a worse reputations than used car salesmen and there’s no one to blame but us. Our reputation has been tarnished by these fly-by-night scam-artists. Something must be done to protect consumers from these “leaches” for one and for second we need to form key partnerships to rebuild our collective reputation. Something really stinks in the SEO world and it has to change rapidly if we wish to continue being credible catalysts…

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Sid

You’re right. And most people are overly concerned with who wears what hat while consumers are getting scammed all day, every day, by the entire spectrum from “white” to “black.”

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