If you search Google for “seo is dead”, you will see at least 547,000 results. If you search for “seo is not dead” there are only 120,000 results.
Does this mean SEO is dead, because more people say it is? Of course it doesn’t.
There are certainly lots of people talking about it though, since Google has, over the past two years, done everything in its power to negate the SEO tricks that used to work so well.
Panda, Penguin and now Hummingbird all changed the way search results work. Google’s aim has been to improve the search experience for users, presenting relevant and useful results instead of spammy, useless content.
The reason SEO professionals bemoan these changes, and claim SEO is dead, is because no longer is it easy to game the results. No longer can you stuff keywords into pages, create clever keyword-based links from low quality directories or mass-produce lazy content that’s just there to give Google something fresh to read.
Experts have claimed that SEO is dead
In a sensationalist Guardian headline in June 2013, Tim Anderson claimed ‘SEO is dead. Long live social media optimisation‘. It got people talking but Anderson started his whole article on a wildly inaccurate premise.
He said, “Search engine optimisation was always a flawed concept. At its worst, it means making web content less engaging for the reader but supposedly better for search robots.”
If you are doing SEO that way, you need to re-think. The problem is the definition of SEO. For many it means “doing whatever you can to get top keywords to rank in top positions”. That’s too blunt, because it doesn’t answer fundamental questions – which a professional SEO specialist would ask.
What’s the business objective? Who are you trying to reach? Who do you not want to waste time talking to? What are your main products or services? How do people go looking for those?
So, is it alive or dead?
The answer is that it’s subjective. If you are of the view that SEO is all about trying to outwit Google, then, yes, SEO is dead. If you believe SEO is about making sure your target customers are able to find you, or discover you, then SEO is alive and well.