This is from a post I wrote a few years back. It is as relevant today as it was back in 2016. Some of the references may be dated, but the general theme and concepts hold true. Enjoy a blast from my past!
Is SEO is dead and on the decline? SEO is an ever-changing field. If you go on to some of the forums or internet marketing networking events, you hear everywhere that SEO does not work, it’s all about quality content, it is impossible for the little guy or small business to rank for competitive keywords anymore.
Google this, Google that… the end is near…
Well, I tend to agree and disagree. Yes, old-style SEO does not work anymore. For example, creating thousands and thousands of crappy spammy links using forum profile links, or using crappy articles with 20 keyword links back to your site per article and posting them on an x rated forum. And, thankfully, they do not work anymore!
This article is not about getting down to the techhical of the what’s and why’s, but rather a 1000 foot view of why things changed, what works now, and where things seem to be heading. Now I certainly do not have a crystal ball that tells me exactly what will happen over the years regarding SEO, but I can see the trends like anyone else who is paying attention. The trends are clear that Google does not like spam and stupidity and aggressively punishes both.
I often hear very strong opinions about Google, Matt Cuts and the like. Most marketers I know endure vs. embrace Google. I understand the sentiment. Personally, I do not love, nor do I hate Google. Google is not good and it is not evil. Although it is a love-hate relationship at times.
It is a business. It owns its search engine algorithm, and it has the right to set the rules as it sees fit (unless an overreaching government agency tells it otherwise, but that is for another time)! It has won the search engine wars. Bing and Yahoo are still there and still drive traffic, but a pittance compared to Google.
Google’s overall goal is to have a utopian web directory that has webmasters creating awesome relevant content that users like, share with friends on social sites, by email, and on YouTube. Google hates spammers (don’t we all) and what it calls black hat SEO. It wants users to have a great experience and to trust it’s search engine results. If you trust Google, you will come back and use it again, you will see its adds, you will click on them once in a while. Google makes money. All is well with the web inverse.
Companies Goals Differ from Google’s
As great as all that sounds, companies, and individual entrepreneurs have a different view of what Google can do and should do for them. After all, posting, designing sites, creating engaging videos and content takes time, money or knowledge, and a reason for doing so. The reason for any company website is to make a profit. It seems like the idea of someone profiting from their website is heretical to Google. Is it?
No, not really. Google is a business. Google is a profitable business. How does Google make money? Right now mainly through selling advertising. That advertising ends up on YouTube, Google search pages, and… wait for it… individual websites through its Ad Sense program (revenue sharing). What websites make the most money from Google? The ones on page 1 for a high-value search (keyword).
There is an inherent disconnect between Google’s goal to make money through advertising, having only quality sites with pure of heart intention, and website owners goal of making money through advertising, affiliate programs, and in the case of a real company, through driving traffic to their products and inner pages. A website that is seen by many is infinitely more valuable, or potentially more valuable in the right hands than a website that ends up on page 27 of a search.
SEO is Not Dead
So, SEO is not dead. In fact, Matt himself tells us that SEO is not a bad word around Google. They just do not like what they call bad SEO. So, the white hat SEO practices as defined by Google, in the right ratio’s, pointing to the right sights, with amazing content will do just fine over the long run so says, Matt. But…. and there is always a big but in the way of many things….
The but is what if you are brand spanking new to having a website. You have a great company service and are counting on the web to bring you, new customers. You need to do SEO – Search Engine Optimization. Simply put, getting your site to the first page of Google so people can see it when they are searching for what your company does. We could spend days writing about the how’s to do this…
Now, you as a business owner have a choice. Do you do things according to Google’s approved methods? Do you make sure to follow every recommendation to the letter and hope that the Google gods will shine down upon you and your website and drive more customers to your company than your sales force can handle? Well, that is certainly possible, but also highly unlikely.
Or… do you hire someone or some company or marketing agency to help you design your site and stack the odds in your favor, help you get noticed by Google, and help you climb the rankings with the techniques that are working today? It is true that Google is always trying to make things hard to rank a site quickly. They do not care about you or your site. They are not out to get you personally either.
Is SEO Dead?