The phrase ‘SEO is dead’ is something I’ve been hearing a lot over the last year or so. It’s bandied around on forums, blogs and at networking events by people who think that internet marketers have been ‘found out’ by Google. They believe that SEO no longer works, and that you shouldn’t waste your time and money on it.
The real truth is that these people are as clueless as the people who pretended to understand SEO and offer it as a service in the first place. They have no idea what SEO really is, what it does or how it works. So why are they going around professing the death of SEO like some modern-day prophet? Why do they grinningly exclaim the end of something they never really understood?
I believe it’s probably to do with a genuine inbuilt fear of not understanding something that compels them to denounce it with such vigour. They never really ‘got it’ so are happy to evangelise its demise.
To be honest I genuinely enjoy it when someone makes these outlandish statements because it gives me the opportunity to test the level of their understanding and dig deeper into their reasons for contributing to the spread of such banal rhetoric.
So where does this rubbish come from?
Mostly, these incoherent ramblings stem from a primitive knowledge of the Google updates known as ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin’. As Google became much better at identifying low quality websites, poor content and obvious link building, it started to filter out the websites that used these tactics to artificially inflate their rankings. The ‘SEO experts’ who relied on these tricks found their clients’ rankings dropping and, in some cases, completely falling out of Google altogether.
It’s this culling of sites from the SERPs (search engine results pages) that led to some people to declare SEO as no more, as something that has ‘ceased to be’. What had actually happened, however, was that Google had identified some of the more obvious ways people would ‘game’ its algorithms and stopped them from working.
To declare SEO as dead because some dodgy tactics no longer work would be like declaring music as dead because of Honey G. It’s a completely flawed argument.
Yet still I encounter people who proudly state that SEO is dead, that it doesn’t work and that they don’t need it. In almost every case, too, you’ll find that the person declaring SEO is dead isn’t actually getting any meaningful business from their website. SEO is dead to them because it hasn’t worked for them, and it hasn’t worked because they’ve either tried it themselves (based on their own limited understanding garnered from the internet) or they’ve used someone who never understood how it works in the first place. If you use an amateur, you can’t really be surprised if something doesn’t work. That doesn’t mean you should then go around denouncing the whole industry.
If I opted to have my scoliosis surgery performed by someone who was keen, but unqualified, I shouldn’t really expect great results, and probably shouldn’t then tarnish all surgeons as frauds and warn people off having an operation.
SEO is not dead, never has been and never will be. Those who never understood it have been found out, and those who used their services believe the whole industry should be six feet under. So, the next time you hear someone tell you that SEO is dead, give them a wry smile and ask “so what makes you say that?” and watch as they explain how they, or someone they hired, did something they shouldn’t have.