Have you heard that SEO is dead? It’s been said with increasing frequency lately, largely due to Google’s most recent updates, including Panda, Penguin and the latest update, Hummingbird. What the people who are saying this really mean, though, is that the tactics they’ve used to rank in the search engines are now obsolete. Many of them used blackhat techniques and their sites have been penalised. Some people have become bitter about the SEO process because it’s always changing, and it seems hard to keep up with it all. Even though things have changed, however, one thing has not. Sites will always need to be optimised for the search engines in order to rank well.
What is SEO, Really?
The term “SEO” is thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean? Of course, it stands for search engine optimisation, but that’s rather ambiguous, too. More specifically, SEO refers to the activities used to draw in visitors, get business or gain readers from organic search results. These include things like using title tags, blogging to provide fresh content or writing a press release for your company’s new product. Aside from paid advertisements, any method that is used to improve rank in the search engines is an activity under the umbrella of search engine optimisation.
How Do You Know SEO Isn’t Dead?
SEO cannot die as long as there are search engines around. Search engines need to rank results according to those that are most relevant and have the most authority. As long as people continue to use search engines to find what they want, businesses will try to figure out how to make search engines work to their advantage. SEO will not be replaced by paid advertisements because most people don’t want a search full of paid advertisements. What would be the benefit of that – the companies with the most money would be listed at the top. That’s what directory listings are for. When people search, they want real results that answer their questions, provide solutions to their problems or entertain them. Instead of using the phrase, “SEO is dead,” what people really mean is, “SEO as I knew it is dead.” There’s a big difference between those two statements.
What Has Changed?
There’ve been a number of different changes in terms of SEO, but perhaps the biggest one we see today is that social influence is more important than the number of links to a site. When a person or a site like Mintcandy has social influence that means that people trust them as an authoritative source of information. Relationships, influence and relevant content are what it takes to succeed with SEO today.
SEO is just getting started. It’s no longer merely a numbers game as it has been in the past. The heightened focus on quality in terms of both relationships and content means that he who has the best content and most influential circle wins. Take the time you’ve spent building low-quality links in the past and put it towards building relationships now and in the future.