Spoiler alert – no. Here’s why.

The world of SEO is changing rapidly – and with so many new technologies and algorithm updates to keep on top of, rumours are circulating that SEO is dead.

It’s true that it looks a lot different now and is likely to continue to change beyond recognition within the next few years – but it’s certainly still crucial when it comes to staying visible online.

The facts fuelling the ‘SEO is dead’ fire are mostly associated with lack of results. Many companies have witnessed a sharp downturn in organic search results over the past 12-18 months – even when employing techniques which align with Google’s constantly updated algorithm. Start-ups are also struggling to compete, with many opting to avoid SEO entirely because they believe it’s impossible to outrank existing higher authority sites and don’t want to waste their money.

The large amount of changes (and unfortunate number of below-par SEO providers) has led many businesses to believe that SEO doesn’t work and isn’t worth investing in any longer. But that’s simply not true – for several reasons. SEO is still valuable – and it’s still a long game rather than a magic bullet that guarantees overnight success.

1. Content is king
Many businesses are still making the mistake of neglecting content – a major no-no which is negatively impacting their SEO.

In the past, identifying keywords and optimising your product or service pages to reflect them was enough to get them rank highly and appear in relevant searches. If you were selling lawnmowers and someone typed in ‘lawnmowers’, they’d find a list of products from various retailers (hopefully with yours amongst them).

Now if you type in the keyword associated with your product or service, you’ll find most of the top results are actually blog posts, not direct links to selling platforms. That’s because Google now understands that consumers want to see product recommendations, reviews and information, as opposed to individual products themselves. Ranking priority (and therefore strategy) has changed as a result.

Improving your ranking for a specific product or service isn’t necessarily more difficult – it just involves a different approach and more skill. Investing in blog content and category page content are amongst the most effective ways to rank for your target products – linking back to listings of course to drive traffic and sales.

2. Competition is fiercer
A lot of businesses are unfairly comparing their current results to how things were 5-10 years ago, when the online space was significantly less crowded. Now, most keywords are much harder to rank for than they were previously. This is especially an issue for eCommerce companies, who are competing against an increasing number of products and stores selling identical products.

Again, this simply requires a smarter and more dedicated strategic approach. You can’t control the number of competitors occupying the same space as you – but you can pay attention to your proposition, USPs and conversion rates. Keeping on top of current SEO trends and guidelines will help you to stay relevant and remain visible.

3. Existing strategies and best-practice techniques aren’t as effective
It’s true that SEO is more difficult now – and techniques that once produced excellent results simply don’t work as well anymore. This is frustrating – but it isn’t insurmountable

One of the main reasons for the downturn in results from traditional best-practice techniques is that Google is getting smarter. The algorithm has advanced significantly and now goes way beyond keywords and link building – yet many businesses are still relying on these techniques and expect to see results.

As Google’s John Mueller recently Tweeted: ‘It’s not enough to throw some keywords on a page to make it useful to users.’

Beyond keywords and links, Google now assesses:

*Unique value and relevance of content – is it good quality? Is it engaging and well-written? Does it inform and benefit readers? Is it truly unique?

*User experience – including site navigation, load times, time spent on-page or on-site in general.

*How sites measure up to EEAT guidelines (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness). This is a high priority for Google and includes authority and inclusion of content and links on higher ranking sites as well as tangible demonstration of expertise and credibility.

*Following on from the above point, Google is also looking for (and able to identify) where links have been purchased rather than selected and included organically.

Google’s priorities have changed because they constantly want to align with consumer wants and needs to improve experience and stay relevant. You should, too.

Not sure where to go with your SEO? You’re not alone.

SEO is a hot topic right now – not just because of the massive changes affecting how sites are indexed and ranked, but also due to the emergence and implementation of AI technologies. This can make the SEO space confusing and concerning for many businesses – but with the right support by your side you can still secure steady organic growth.

Need expert SEO strategy and support to increase online visibility?
Get in touch today for a discovery call: hello@candymarketing.co.uk