You may have seen the phrase “SEO is dead” floating around in recent years. With search engines moving towards sorting their SERPs by content quality rather than keywords, it’s no wonder many think that SEO is dying. They may not be altogether correct, but the phrase gets one thing right: marketers have to change the way they use SEO to attract organic web traffic. It’s no longer good enough to throw in random keywords and links. Both are still relevant, but what’s more important to search engines is the quality of links and text content.
Search engines have updated the way they process keywords. Now, Google may get “suspicious” if a keyword is used an egregious amount of times for the amount of text on a page. It even penalizes websites who stuff their pages with keywords by placing them lower in a SERP. To stay on top of the SERPs, websites must keep SEO user-relevant. While this may “kill” traditional keyword strategies, it also rewards websites for keeping visitors interested. The longer visitors stay browsing your website, the more a search engine will reward you. The focal point of keywords is now the quality of users’ experiences; the more relevant your content is to search engine users using a certain keyword, the higher a search engine values your site.
Similarly, links are now more valued when they come from a trusted site. Gone are the days when link farms could raise the authority of a website. Google now takes the quality of websites into account when determining the value of a link, meaning that high-quality websites provide much more valuable links than a low-quality site. This does not mean that internal links aren’t still valuable for SEO. When utilizing internal links, your website connects the authority of its pages and encourages users to stay on the site for longer, both of which are rewarded by search engines.
The “new” SEO still values what marketers have: the quality of a user’s experience. While traditional SEO strategies may be dead, SEO is more alive than ever. The number of websites is ever-growing and marketers continue to adapt, so SEO is more competitive (and therefore more important) than ever. But, SEO is no longer a tool tangential to the user-experience, it is a tool for increasing the quality of web content in a way that is more beneficial to users. And as we know, the better a website serves a visitor’s needs, the more valuable web traffic is to a business. Staying relevant to the new SEO is more complex, but ultimately much more rewarding. So, SEO is not dead, but transformed, and transformed for the better.