Does SEO still work? Is SEO Dead?
You must have heard the headlines. “SEO is dead!”
Now that has successfully made you spit out your cereal, tea or coffee. Let’s lay to bed this myth that SEO is dead. SEO has become far more of an active strategy which requires constant work to keep you in a good position. Gone are the days where you can buy an exact match domain, build a couple thousand of backlinks from link farms and sit happily at the top of Google. Let this blog be a guide to you and hopefully an inspiration for you to get good constant content out there.
Let’s think about this logically for second. Google who are the main search engine and that seems that will never change now. Like the Coca Cola of soft drinks. For all of the great products that Google are now coming out with: Google apps for business, Educational apps, Smart home products, driver less cars and so on.
All of it is built upon matching people queries which they type in to search bar with the best results for that search query. To say that you can’t present your website in a way or conduct your internet marketing activities in way that Google will appreciate is to be quite frankly ridiculous.
SEO is Most Certainly Not dead
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is alive and kicking and businesses across the world are killing it by having their websites optimised for the search engines. So, if everyone is saying “SEO is dead” something must have changed, right?
Of course, it has, as does everything in the physical universe. It evolves over time and become better, everything Google has done it to try and improve the user experience and by matching search queries the best and most relevant results through its algorithm changes. Of course, there will be some changes to the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) and the are many SEO experts and businesses simply have sour grapes. They have taken their position for granted and gone are the days of the lazy strategies that used to work with SEO. But with every algorithm change comes a new opportunity to make big gains in Google, Yahoo and Bing.
I believe that the “SEO is dead” statement does have some weight behind it however, but this should be reworded to “Black hat SEO is dead” or “Lazy SEO strategies are dead”
Black Hat SEO is Dead, Grey Hat SEO is Dead
Don’t get me wrong there are some very clever people out there who will always know how to take shortcuts and cheat their way to page 1 on Google. But my personal point of view is what is the point? Surely if you want to rank your website of Google all you have to do is listen to what Google is looking for, adjust your internet marketing activities accordingly and earn your position on the results page. Like a child who lies to their parents you won’t have to worry about getting caught out.
Trying to fool Google (Black Hat SEO) may work really well as a short-term strategy but the best results with SEO come in the long term.
Does SEO still work? What is working?
Like I already said with every change comes new opportunity. Google is always looking for unique high-quality content. They actually are on the side of the small guys – they want to hear your voice. If you can get this out there with some time and effort Google will be your best friend and reward your website with a constant stream of free internet traffic.
Post Unique Content for SEO
Sure, you can do some keyword research, check what your competitors are writing about but this should only ever be used as measure for you to improve on. You should never, ever, ever copy text from other people’s website, even if you change this up a little bit it’s actually every easy for the Search Engines to see what you have done and not only will you not be rewarding with a good position on the first page on Google but you may actually be punished which is very difficult to come back from.
Before creating content which you will either need to write from scratch or hire a professional to do it for you (hint, hint) I recommend using some SEO tools to identify keyword competition on SERP results.
Keyword Research For Less SEO Competition
You may find that the keywords that you want your webpage or article are going to be very difficult to rank for you could go “gung ho” and try and beat them or you could be a little more strategic with what you are doing and try to rank high for pages with less competition.
Quoting this very blog as an example. Before I wrote the blog I did some keyword research on:
How to make my website rank in Google
SEO is dead and some others
Each had some very hard competition and this is still a relatively new domain. If you have found this article through Google that is because of the keyword research I did beforehand. There are loads of tools which can be used for this such as Market Samurai, Ahrefs and SEO Quake.
How Does Content Relevancy Effect SEO?
By making your page as relevant as what is likely to be typed into the search bar Google is going to love this. You are doing the hard work for them. If you provide a product or a service in a certain area then it is a great a idea to build pages which revolve around a service in an area. For example, a plumber who does his business in a page which is optimised for ‘Plumber in Manchester’ so that when someone jumps onto Google and types ‘Plumber in Manchester’ they will already have a super relevant result to display. The user is likely to be delighted as it is exactly what they were looking for, everyone is happy!
Content Length Helps Your SEO Efforts
You should aim to create pages that have at least 1000 words per page. You can’t be lazy with this however. You need to include all of your keywords but not over use them! Don’t just waffle either to increase your word count as well you need put all of your effort to create the best possible content.
Google Loves Fresh Content
Think about this logically, if your website has been inactive for a period of time who does Google or the other search engines Bing and Yahoo, how do they know that you are even still in business and trading and why would they want to compromise on their position of being the best search engine – I have already explained that all of their success is built upon this by displayer webpages of businesses that are no longer trading. You should aim to constantly publish new content via a blog (a personal favourite of mine) and update all of your pages every so often to make sure that they are still up to date.
For SEO to Work Optimise Images, Add Alt descriptions & Speed Up Site
Another simple one regularly avoided is the alt description, this is so that for people who can’t see will know what the image is. You should never have an image on your website without an alt description, keywords can be inserted in here to show that the picture is relevant, don’t over-do it though so it looks like you are trying to stuff keywords in unnaturally.
Optimise all of your images too by reducing the file size. There are many ways in which this can be done. I recommend getting a professional to help you with this however as they will be able to reduce the file size significantly without comprising the image quality. Doing this will greatly speed up your webpage loading time.
Make Your Website Mobile Friendly & Responsive
They will be hitting you already if you are not doing this, fortunately if you are using any form of content builder for your website these days such as WordPress all new themes will be mobile responsive. If your website is not mobile friendly get this sorted immediately!
Build High Quality Niche Backlinks – Content is Still King
You should look to attract genuine backlinks from relevant websites. The best way to do this is to create constant high quality regular information (there’s that blog one again) and people will naturally want to link to it. You can still be active in backlink strategies however and the best way to do this is by approaching other website owners with your content and ask them to link to it, if it is good then will find lots of people will link to your site or article.
Local citations still work well but you need to ensure that your business details including your address, website, e-mail address and telephone number remain the same. If these have changed you need to go back and update all of your listings.
If SEO does still work, what isn’t working
There are a few big ones that will be killing some of your SEO efforts and your ranking in Google. I have already gone over many of these above but here we go again.
Low quality, Irrelevant Back-links Will Kill Your SEO
This used to work as a strategy and this element of SEO most certainly is dead. If your website has hundreds or thousands or links from websites which have been built artificially and are completely irrelevant there is a good chance that you will be punished by one of Google algorithm updates.
Think about it logically why would a dog walker in the USA link to a surgeon in the UK, or why would a directory site in India want to feature an electrician in Ireland. These types of links will set off Google spam alerts. Fortunately, if you have some of these types of links you can inform Google to ignore your these before your website receives a penalty which can be very difficult to come back from.
Conclusion – SEO Does Still Work
SEO can be your best friend, you have just got to show it some love these days. Think of it like your spouse, if you neglect it or don’t give it your attention it isn’t going to work for you and if you want the benefits of having your website ranking high in Google you have got to take SEO out to dinner every so often. Like I have said, with all of the changes to algorithm changes this is an opportunity for you to get your website dominating the Google searches and bringing a constant stream on new business, leads and sales for your business.
So many people can’t be bothered to produce content so they will no longer do well in the search engines, if you can then and you get it right great. If all of this seems daunting to you and like a hell of a lot of work that’s where the SEO experts come in (hint, hint).
That’s us by the way!
Obviously, there are so many more things that can be done to improve your websites ranking in Google, but this blog would go on forever. I will be happy to share more of these with you if you promise to keep following our content and sharing it around. I hope this blog was of some help to you. If you liked it give it a share and leave a comment.
Until next time.
Tom & Donny