Future Of SEO in 2016: Is SEO Really Dead?
Future of SEO is one of the most debatable topics with some experts claiming that SEO Is Dead whereas others claim that SEO Is Not Dead. Try to type “SEO is” on Google, and you will see the following results.
The popularity of the keywords “SEO is dead” and “SEO is not dead”, shows how divided people are over the Future Of SEO. However, according to me, SEO Is Not Dead, and it will never die as long as people rely on Google to search for information.
This is because, like humans, search engines bots cannot read your content. To deliver search results for each query, Google relies on keywords. So if you know what people search for, you can easily target those keywords and rank for it. Therefore, Keyword Research is still alive.
Google still gives more importance to keywords in Page Title and Meta Description, than those in content. Apart from this Google also considers website loading speed, mobile responsiveness, content length among many other On Page SEO Factors. Therefore, On-Page SEO is not dead.
To differentiate good content from bad content, Google still relies on the length of the content, outbound links, backlinks, Social Shares, etc. So even Off Page SEO is still alive.
So what arguments do people make to prove that SEO is dead? Let us find out
Argument 1: Facebook Search Is The Next Big Thing
Last year Entrepreneur.com came up with this article which declared SEO to be dead. According to the author, the reason he feels so is because people are hesitant about clicking on paid ads and are rather trending towards Internet Searches.
Also, according to him, Facebook has enhanced it’s search features to deliver you reviews of restaurants, places, etc. from your friends which people find to be more trustworthy than Google’s search results.
Firstly, the author seems to be confused about the difference between SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Paid advertising is not a part of SEO; rather it is part of SEM which is a much broader term.
Even if we buy his argument, I don’t understand why is he talking only about Google Ads ignoring Facebook Ads? A person who does not want to click on Ads, will not click it whether it is from Google or Facebook as both of them are promotional methods. So this argument is clearly not valid
Coming to the point of Facebook’s Enhanced search engine, yes, it is indeed nice to have a review of the neighborhood restaurant from a friend rather than a stranger person. But let me ask you one simple question; does Facebook deliver enough search results? I don’t think so, and I am sure you too would agree.
What if you wanted to search for Recipe of your favorite dish or price of the latest smartphone? Would you go to Facebook and search it? Of course not. Rather you will “Google” it. In fact, some people still use Google to search for “Facebook.”
So to sum it up, Facebook and Google are two different product each having its own advantage. None of them can replace the other, at least in the coming few years.
Argument 2: SEO Is All About Managing Few Parameters
Over the years, Google’s Search Algorithm has evolved to become very smart. The keyword stuffing and spammy backlink generation which worked in yesteryears can get your website penalized now. Moreover, Matt Cutts has repeatedly said that Blog Commenting and Guest Posting should not be part of your SEO link building technique.
All this makes some people feel that SEO these days is all about taking care of few parameters and hoping that your blog post makes it to the top of the search results.
However, this is not true at all. SEO these days is more about being smart. Instead of stuffing your article with keywords, you will now have to work hard to find Long Tail Keywords and LSI keywords that are less competitive and have decent search volume. You must know where to place your keywords, how to reduce your page load time, how to do smart internal linking.
Not everyone can handle these parameters equally good. For the same quality of content, the one who handles it better succeeds in moving his blog post at the top of search engines and the one who ignores it thinking it to be useless or spends his time building links using manipulative technique stays there at the bottom and complains that SEO is dead.
Argument 3: Social Media Marketing Gives Better Results Than SEO
Social Media Marketing, without a second thought, is very important to develop your brand Image and get a decent amount of traffic to your blog. However, it does not replace SEO.
In Fact, Social Media Marketing and SEO go hand in hand. None of them can be regarded as more important than the other. You just cannot ignore Search Engine Traffic and rely on traffic from Social Media, as the later requires continuous efforts to draw traffic to your blog.
A Facebook post or a Tweet at Twitter can get lost in a day or two. According to Moz, the life of a tweet is just 18 minutes. So you need to keep Tweeting whole day to get a decent amount of traffic which is never a good idea.
On the other hand, with Search Engine, if you have a well-optimized article, it is going to be at the top of search engines until you are outranked by a better article. It could be days or months or even years. In fact, more you stay at the top of search engines, tougher for others to outrank you.
Having said that, Google takes into account the number of Social Media shares a blog post gets while deciding the ranking at search engines. Though it may not carry a significant weightage, it does matter especially if you are targeting a highly competitive niche.
A good blogger will make sure to optimize his articles for On Page SEO and then spend the rest of the time promoting his content through Social Media and other forms of content marketing to make sure he gets decent traffic, and social shares along with developing a brand image for himself which must be the primary aim.
Why Do People Still Say SEO Is Dead?
Now, the question is, why would anyone say that SEO Is Dead even though we have enough evidence to prove it is not the case? There are many reasons for it.
- The black hat techniques of people are no longer working so they feel SEO is dead
- Social gurus want to divert people to social media marketing to increase their revenues.
- Controversial topics are perfect for link baiting. Whether you agree or not, you are more likely to end up linking to the article. Even I linked back to the Entrepreneur article. Didn’t I?
- They are also used for click baiting as they can give you very high CTR. People are more curious to know the views of the author for controversial topics.
It is ironic that people who claim that there is no Future of SEO, actually target “SEO is Dead” keyword to rank at search engines.
The above screenshot shows how people are optimizing the keyword to include it in Page Title, Permalink, and Meta Description.
SEO is certainly not dead. Rather, SEO is evolving as Google, and other search engines are trying to get rid of the all the Black Hat SEO techniques.
With Google’s algorithm changing fast, SEO’s have to keep themselves updated and try to find out new techniques to stay ahead of the rest. This only makes SEO more challenging and hence more important than it was ever before.
What do you think about Future of SEO? Is it dying or evolving? Do share your views with us.