SEO is dead… again?
Every few months someone releases an article claiming that SEO is dead and many people go into panic mode. It’s just simply not the case. A lot of this mentality exists because there isn’t an understanding of what SEO is in 2016.
If your concept of good SEO is simply optimizing your Meta tags and header tags while building a couple of low quality links, then sitting back and watching your rankings like a hawk. Then I hate to break it to you, but that kind of traditional SEO is long dead. There is nothing “set and forget” about SEO in 2016 and beyond. This article will give you an understanding of what good SEO services are in 2016.
Manipulation is dead
We get it, you see the ads “500 links for $100” or “Rank number 1 in a week!” and you think, “Great! that’s a cheap and easy way to get customers”. Unfortunately nothing good comes easy, there is no one size fits all strategy for SEO anymore and these schemes should be avoided at all costs. In fact, just as with any other marketing activity there are no guarantees with SEO and you should run away from any person or organisation that guarantees specific outcomes. You will also want to avoid anyone who is selling a specific number of backlinks for the sole purpose of ranking, you need to know which tactics to amplify and which to ditch.
SEO in 2016 goes beyond basic website optimization, there is no set formula anymore to making your website perform at its best. It is less to do with manipulation and more to do with promotion. Many would argue that SEO is all about content marketing, though this approach to SEO takes effort, expertise and planning which is why many shy away from it, opting for an easier or cheap approach. Usually these businesses then go looking for urgent help, they are usually not aware of the implications of poor SEO techniques and simply thought they were getting a good deal. It takes a lot of time and costs them in loss of sales after their websites have dropped out of the SERPS. Don’t be that guy.
This is why it’s essential that you involve professionals that live and breathe SEO every day. They understand and incorporate many marketing disciplines to create strategy that is going to put you in the position to achieve the most.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
When Google released Panda, it really did shake up the SEO world, it incorporated human ratings on what is perceived as quality on a website and then it was combined with elements of machine learning. It impacted up to 12% of the search results and had many elements to it, one of the main being a focus on thin content that provides no value.
This really shifted the way SEO’s approached improving the visibility of a webpage. It went from, what keywords can we incorporate and leverage in this title tag, to how can I make sure that I am serving up high quality, unique and engaging content that gives users that memorable experience?
The Evolution of keywords
Many, MANY years ago it was very important to incorporate exact matching keywords in things like your title tags, it was a key to ranking well. Things have changed, there is a better understanding of the on page content and Google looks at more than your title tags to understand and evaluate whether your site is worth ranking for a particular search or not.
The days of focusing on one “gun keyword” are really dead. Google has evolved and we need to ensure that the partners we work with as SEO experts are educated well enough on the landscape in which they compete for customers. We simply cannot rely on optimizing metadata alone to increase the qualified traffic going to a web site.
Keyword research has also evolved, it takes ongoing review, month after month so that you can stay on top of your industry and your competition. If you are currently still using focus keywords from 2012 to understand the progress of your campaign then you need to stop reading this now and get onto your refresh. It is also not the be all, end all now in 2016. Keyword ranking reports should be taken with a grain of salt and you really should be using it as a tool to identify any gaps in your campaign. For example are you ranking high for a particular keyword relating to your biggest seller but there are no clicks to your website with that search query? This is an indicator that research is needed to identify and understand what is hindering you from getting those customers to your site.
Where to from here?
A winning SEO strategy in 2016 and beyond is not about trying to follow a recipe that is intended to manipulate Google into thinking you are the best. You need to work with experts who can advise you on how to be the best and beat out your competition. It takes ongoing investment of time and resources to do well, not unlike any other marketing activity.
We need to move away from the notion that visibility goes hand in hand with crawlability. You can absolutely work to make your site easy for search engines to understand but this does not mean that Google will automatically reward you with visibility. It takes research, strategy and implementation of tactics to ensure that you are going to achieve your identified goals. The world of SEO almost needs a new name as it becomes less about simple optimization and more about marketing.
If you have any concerns about your current tactics, you can contact our SEO experts here and get some insights as to how you can be achieving more.