It’s 2018, and many so-called experts are quick to proclaim the death of SEO. Yes, just like last year and the year before, people continue to question the longevity and efficacy of SEO tactics and wonder how much it will take until search engine optimization becomes obsolete.
Let’s make one thing clear from the start: SEO is not dead nor will it disappear anytime soon. What is true, though, is that SEO is constantly evolving. So, if you’re still stuffing your content with keyword phrases, use questionable link building methods, and create low-quality content, then yes, search engine optimization isn’t generating any real results for your small business. But, if you understand how good SEO works and the effort it takes to rank high in search engine results, then this digital marketing strategy can propel your company to new heights.
With that in mind, here’s why SEO will not die anytime time soon.
Traditional SEO Is Dead, Long Live SEO
It used to be that search engine optimization was a game of guessing how many keywords you need to include in your content to rank high. Search marketers were trying to discover the secret formula that would help businesses get higher rankings and generate traffic.
The only problem is that tweaking your title tags or adding more links isn’t going to help you boost your Google rankings anymore. So, in a way, you could say that SEO is dead, but not as you may think. Yes, traditional practices have become obsolete and trying to outsmart the search engines is no longer a feasible strategy. But, search engine optimization with its new rules and requirements is still very much alive and kicking.
Search Engines Are Improving
Online users are becoming pickier by the day. In fact, 88% of them will click away if they don’t see an exact phrase match. They expect search engines to keep pace with their demands and provide them with relevant results.
In an effort to keep pace with the changing needs and behaviors of online users, search engines are always tweaking their algorithms and introducing new factors that influence search engine results. Sure, high-quality content, seamless user experience, and relevance are paramount if you want to reach the top of search engine results. But, there’s more to this equation that just that.
- The Rise of Machine Learning
A few years back, Google introduced RankBrain, a machine learning algorithm that promised to improve and streamline search results. Businesses and search marketers alike were skeptic about the AI. Search engine optimization is already difficult as it is; do we really need to make it even more confusing and complex, they asked themselves.
But, here’s how RankBrain is making SEO better than ever before. This intelligent system can collect and interpret massive amount of user data. If the algorithm sees a phrase that it doesn’t understand, then it will make an educated guess to find words with similar meaning and filter the results accordingly.
In other words, Google is getting better at recognizing and understanding connections between words and ensuring that only the most relevant pages will rank high. Remember, we’ve said RankBrain is making SEO better, not easier.
So, search engines are becoming better at predicting what users want, and consumers know that. Sure, you could still find your way to the top of SERPS with aggressive keywords strategies. But, if what you’re offering is not relevant to the searchers’ needs, then they will bounce. And, a high ranking position is close to nothing without qualified traffic and leads.
- Voice Search
“OK, Google, what’s the best pizzeria in Sydney?”
Voice search is another factor that is changing SEO. According to a 2014 report, 41% of adults and 55% of teens in the U.S. are already relying on intelligent voice assistants like Siri or Cortana to perform routine online searches. And, the numbers are expected to grow in the next five years.
How is this going to affect your SEO game?
Well, if you haven’t already, then you need to begin optimizing with users intent in mind. Ask yourself, what the intention behind your target audience’s search is and how can your content help. For example, if people are just looking for information about your products, then advertising your landing page may not be the smartest strategy. Instead, you should direct them towards you blog where they can find the answers to most of their questions.
- Mobile Devices
The ubiquity of mobile devices has made many business owners wonder if it could be a sign that SEO is dying. Well, that’s not the case. Yes, mobile devices are influencing the way people search online, making them more prone to ignore slow or poorly designed sites in favor of apps. But, once again, SEO is adapting to meeting the new user behavior. For example, Google has recently launched Accelerated Mobile Pages, a solution that makes it easier for publishers to create mobile content.
With the rise of AI, social media, and mobile devices, you may be tempted to believe that SEO is slowly but surely dying. But, as we’ve made it clear throughout this article, search engine optimization is constantly shifting its form to keep pace with the changes.
If you’ve neglected SEO so far thinking that it’s a dying practice, now is high time to take action. At Australian Internet Advertising, we have an expert and dedicated team of search marketers that can help you dominate the search engines.