I’d heard it before. Many times over the past few years in fact.
Over the past fortnight I’d heard it three times. First time was an article that popped up in my Google Plus feed. Next, was a day later by a work mate who saw the same article and mentioned the title to me. The third time occurred a week later time via a Facebook status from a friend. That old attention grabbing headline that raises its head at least a few times a year to throw rocks at the search marketing hornets nest:
SEO is Dead!
Yep. It’s pretty dramatic huh. Just like it’s meant to be. It grabs the attention of the reader and baits an entire industry to comment on it. Agree or disagree, it gets the visits and it gets the links. Good on ‘em.
Attention grabbing headline aside, the articles do often contain interesting information. More recently, these articles have been focused around social media and its influence on search results and the web in general. And fair enough too. Social media is a massive factor that has once again turned SEO on its head. Now, typical search engines are not the only source of content sharing. Social media has given the power back to the people (Rage Against The Machine will be happy indeed).
Individuals sharing content via social media has turned platforms like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook into search engines themselves. As mentioned above, I initially discovered this content (again) via Google Plus and Facebook for two of the three instances.
Social media is user generated, it’s fast and it’s targeted. It’s also a ranking factor that has taken the throne from some of the more historically important tech factors (eg: meta data etc). With the growth of the social web, came an emphasises on authority and reach.
“But Daylan, If those historical elements are no longer the king of ranking factors, isn’t that what SEO is mostly? “
No, not at all. Sure SEO has a tech factor involved, and there are certain technical boxes that need to be ticked, but ultimately it’s about optimising content. SEO – Search Engine Optimisation. Optimising the factors that influence search engines, that could be technical (site build, meta data, url structure etc), content (titles, effective word use, formatting etc), strategy. . . oh wait. Here’s where it gets interesting.
Strategy is the key to SEO. Knowing and implementing all the factors available to optimise a users experience as best possible. That’s SEO. And social isn’t killing it, it’s enhancing it. It’s just one more tool in an SEO’s ‘arsenal of awesome’ to optimise a web experience and make it rank better.
So, is SEO dead?
Pfft no way.
It’s definitely changing, but it always has been as any SEO worth a grain of salt knows. It’s just when big ticket items show up that articles start appearing speaking of its demise.
Meta Tags are killed off as a ranking factor – SEO IS DEAD!
Adwords takes over top, right and bottom of results – SEO IS DEAD!
Penguin Update! – SEO IS DEAD
Panda update! – SEO IS DEAD
Facebook! OMG! – SEO IS DEAD
SEO is different today than it was 12 months ago. It’ll be different in 12 months from now. As the industry changes, so to do SEO practices and skill-sets.
The only ‘death’ that’ll occur with SEO any time soon, is when someone who calls themselves an SEO believes they know everything and stops adapting to the environment. It’s for that exact reason that I love this stuff so much. You will never know all there is to know. It moves fast. It changes every single day.
It’s the most ‘alive’ subject I’ve ever worked in.