Is SEO dead? Well no, but that wouldn’t be a particularly interesting post…
Back in the day, search engine optimisation was merely a size game… The bigger you made yourself seem to Google, with the more links you had, the higher you ranked. This very quickly led on to the practice of buying links for your website, give it a week or so and hey presto – there you were page one (if not position one) of Google. Simples.
Thankfully underhand techniques such as the above – now named “black hat SEO” no longer work, and a user has to concentrate far more on their content, user experience, relevance and authority to rank well in the SERPs (search engine results pages). Yes links are still important, but they are taken in context and don’t have the same power over the search engines as they used to.
So the crux of this post is this – SEO is not dead, it is simply changing. As such our techniques for optimising for the search engines need to change too.
Technical SEO – on-the-page
Technical SEO (or on-the-page SEO) is still as important as it always was. If your website isn’t presented to the search engines in the right format, if there are errors in the code / structure, missing meta information, etc… then your site simply won’t rank as well as sites that have all these points correct.
During 2016 / 17 we have also seen the importance of having a responsive website, and running your site on https (through an SSL Certificate) upon search engine position too. These areas of user experience are really the bear minimum that the search engines consider…
To be clear, I’m not referring to conversion optimisation here – that’s another subject in it’s own right.
The simple fact here is that the technicalities of on-the-page SEO are still important, and not optimising these first leaves you fighting an uphill battle with any other SEO / digital marketing activities.
The creation of content is the new work horse for SEOs. Once your website is clean from errors, the production of high quality content that speaks to the decision makers in your audience becomes the next highest priority.
From this content can hang a multitude of other digital media, but all of which can lead back to informative, authoritative pieces of content.
For example, lets take this post as a case in point. Upon publishing, this post will (of course) be submitted to Google, but it will then get pushed out to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – and should it do well organically on those platforms, then some marketing budget will be assigned to it and it will be boosted on those platforms too. The inception of this post came from an interview on Lee Jackson’s WP Innovator podcast released earlier in the year.
The reason I’m mentioning this is to show the power of quality content. The simple litmus test is this – the best content can be repurposed over and over again with ease. If you’re struggling to repurpose, then a deeper look into your content strategy is probably required.
If you’re struggling for content ideas, head on over to answerthepublic.com and pop in the keywords most closely connected to your company… You’ve very quickly have some content titles that have SEO value to start your content strategy with.
Becoming an authority
There is no quick fix to this – and thats the joy of the way SEO is changing. In the past SEO was a checklist for SEOs to complete… “If you fulfil all these predetermined points, you will rank well.” Now, however, SEOs can be creative.
Authority isn’t built by a checklist, but by consistent quality content, released regularly. This may be on your own blog, but also as guests posts across the internet. It will include some form of links back to the best pieces of content on your website, but also the sharing of other authority pieces from other sources.
All the above creates an ecosystem of content both on and through your website, social media, personal brand, etc. and with perseverance in all these areas sites will eventually rank well for the most sought after keywords.
In conclusion SEO is not dead – and as the sections above have very briefly touched upon, there is a whole plethora of ways and means to rank successfully. Quality, authority and perseverance are the new order of the day. SEO is now about the thrill of chase just as much as the result…