The “SEO is Dead” Debate Demystified

SEO has been one of the most effective means to improve the online presence of a business or brand. The progression of SEO constantly evolves with new and innovative ways to boost visibility and traffic, helping all types of businesses amass a greater audience and exploit untapped markets.

SEO

In the greater search marketing community, there seems to be a divide among the experts regarding the viability of SEO in today’s ever-expanding world of digital platforms. While some contend that SEO is still well alive and thriving, others support the notion of SEO being long dead and a thing of past.

The arguments behind the latter group are vast, ranging from points made about traditional SEO techniques losing their efficacy to social media platforms now paving the way. While these points do hold some validity, they don’t tell the complete story behind the “SEO is Dead” debate.

Redefining the Role of SEO

The acronym SEO seems to have played a major rule in obfuscating the true meaning and purpose of the term SEO and associated SEO activities. SEO, at its honest, core is comprised of “white hat” techniques employed to make a website more visible and accessible to specific individuals seeking relevant information (data, reviews, products, services, etc.) associated with the website.

Over time, people have started thinking of SE0 as manipulative, using black hat techniques to remain atop search results for specific keywords. Unfortunately not uncommon, some SEOs narrow-mindedly reach of higher rankings at the expense of quality content. And many of them are successful to seeing top rankings, whether or not they site itself actually serves any value.

Tyler Tafelsky, Senior SEO Specialist of Captivate Search Marketing in Atlanta, states that:

“SEO has dramatically changed over the years from achieving easy yet sketchy wins with simple keyword optimization to now more user-centric strategies that put quality content and superior usability on the forefront. Many still consider SEO the former techniques that have gone by the wayside, yet our definition remains consistent and our best practices continue to evolve.”

As an advocate of content marketing-driven SEO strategies, Tafelsky and the team at Captivate continue to evolve the industry standard in search marketing.

SEO Degrading Reputation

As Sam Mc Roberts, CEO at VUDU Marketing puts it in his interview with Jayson Demers of Forbes:

“Google relies upon having excellent search results to ensure that people will continue using them when they make searches. SEOs were muddying the search results with crappy sites resulting in a degradation of the overall search result quality And this is where all the “SEO is dead” talk stems from Google has made so many changes that directly impact SEO tactics that the message is crystal clear: ‘SE0s: Stop messing with our search results.'”

It is evident from Sam’s insight on this subject that Google is actively combating the black hat SEO techniques and has made no secret of that fact. Google is meting out harsh punishments to the exploiters and manipulators of its algorithm.

The War Between Good & Bad SEO

So, the notion that SEO is Dead is true to the extent that it is dead or a dying art for the con-artists of the SEO world but for the experts who are relentlessly working hard to make their websites more authentic and relevant, SEO is alive and thriving. In fact, they have google standing by them and rewarding them for their efforts and when a tech giant such as the Google itself stands by you in something, you know it isn’t going to fade away so quick.

Andrew Girdwood, Head of Media Technologies at Signal and a guest blogger for Econsultancy puts it, SEO is D.E.A.D. It is all about: D: Data E: Engaging the A: Audience D: Matching intent with discovery.

Conversely, Andrew makes the point that actually supports the all alive and well idea behind a more modern SEO approach.

“That’s why D.E.A.D. is a pretty good way to remember modern SEO. If you’re always thinking about data, engagement, audiences and discovery as you plan your campaigns you’ll have a far greater success.

So all in all, SEO isn’t dead but it is evolving by every passing second and it is evolving for the betterment of the SEO community by rewarding the smart and hard workers while penalizing the manipulators.

A Short Guide on Optimizing Your Site for Local Search

local SEOLocal search rankings can be a goldmine for business owners looking to grow to acquire new business on the local level. Dominating local search results isn’t a daunting task if you know each of the underlying factors and how to optimize your websites and business listings to rank higher in the Google local search results.

What factors impact local search ranking?

If you ask Google, they will tell you about three primary factors they consider important for ranking local listings.Google Local SEO

  • Relevance: whether your local listing closely matches to what someone is searching for. This means you need to provide Google complete business information to help them better understand your business.
  • Distance: proximity of your local listing to the user-specified location in their search query.
  • Prominence: refers to how popular your business listing is i.e. how frequently people visit your business offline as well as online.

What are the underlying factors?

But if you in depth there are many factors which play a very important role in helping Google decide the rank of a listing in the search results. Read on to understand these and what you need to know for optimizing your business listing to appear more frequently towards the top of the local search results.

Domain Authority SEO Authority

One of the most pivotal factors that can influence a business’ ranking in the Google local listings is the site’s domain authority. This will also translate to the site’s ranking potential in Google organic search.

Organic Search Ranking

It may be not obvious, but Organic Rank has good amount of impact to ranking. You are quite likely to appear in top 10 of the local listings if your website ranks 1-10 in organic search results too.

Keywords & Business Name

Having a keyword in the business name is the second most popular factor. Analysis tells that if the business name has the keyword in it, the business listing will show up higher in the search results by about 1.5 spots.

How to optimize a Google listing for higher ranking?

Below are the techniques that have been found to have positive correlation with the Google Local Search rankings. If you outsource these solutions, it’s best to find a very niche and specialized SEO company, such as OptimizedSurgeons.com, who has experience providing SEO services to specific businesses (i.e. plastic surgeons.)

Links Local SEO Listings

Links have always been the key differentiator even in case of Google My Business Rankings. When more people are talking about your business on social media or blogs – link generation is a direct signal that your business is more popular and should be ranked higher in a related search result.

Local Signals & Citations

Consistency of citation can be an important factor to getting you into the top of local search results, so it’s advisable not to ignore them. This means you need get the citations cleaned up and improved consistently over time. Having said this, the volume of citations doesn’t seem to have any relation with the rankings.

Better Profiles Win

Things like having more positive reviews and photos can help tremendously, not to stress on the fact that Owner Verified (OV) profile is a must for performing better in the search results.

Local SEO Myths

There are some myths in the world of local SEO that are better to be ignored right away.

But even though, good number of profile views might seem like the main factor, it is possibly not and data shows this. Eventually, if you are ranking well due to primary factors shared above, it’s highly likely that your listing will rank higher and receive more profile views.

Geo text variables are also a local SEO myth. City and state in title don’t seem to be correlated with local search performance. It’s an old assumption that using of these in <title> tags, on-page copy and in URLs influences how you get ranked in those cities. But looking at the data, there’s no significant correlation with this with better performance in local search results.

Advanced Eommerce SEO Tips for 2015

As 2015 approaches, a lot of things in the Internet marketing world are going to change and that includes traditional ecommerce SEO strategies for online stores. SEO 2015 Ecommerce

As ecommerce SEO grows to become more complex and search engines continue to raise their standards, you will need to do more than the common SEO techniques that used generate decent returns (i.e. meta data optimization and keyword inclusion).

This article is help you step outside the box of tradition thinking. Here are a few more advanced ecommerce SEO tips and strategies that will keep your online business afloat and thriving as we enter a new era of e-marketing.

1) Schema Markup

Schema markup are one of the most overlooked yet highly powerful ecommerce SEO strategies that emerged recently in just the past couple years. Schema markup is semantic vocabulary you attach to your website content (in basic HTML format) for search engines to better understand the content. As a result, search engines like Google provide more informative results to online users when searching keywords that relate to your business.

For example, the perfect Schema for a theatrical company could use their monthly calendar for shows as the meta-description that appears on search pages. This information becomes the schema markup, which any user would find useful when they are looking for particular shows to attend.

Other forms of Schema markup that will benefit ecommerce business include using names for new product as keywords, in-stock info or product availability, pricing, social sharing features (like Facebook or Twitter) or allowing users to pin items to their Pinterest boards.

2) High Resolution Images

Using optimized images isn’t enough anymore, search engines are now favoring quality images used on websites or advertising. It will be wise to invest in a good camera for capturing your new products or hire professional photography services for your product shoot.

An image with a size starting somewhere around 400kb-800kb has some quality resolution to be used on online ads. Clear and attractive images also encourage online users to click on the link; especially when posting ads on social media. Just be sure to optimize your images for faster rendering, as well as keyword inclusion for ecommerce SEO. For a good SEO guide on image optimization, click here.

3) Microdata Information SEO Ecommerce

Microdata is another form of semantic vocabulary used to attach clear meaning to online content for search engines. The best part about microdata is they are customizable to a more specific form to improve on leads. Microdata add more meaning to your HTML setup giving search engines more accuracy when leading internet users to specific information on your ecommerce website.

4) Track Your Heat Map

Your ‘Heat Map’ is the pattern of movement online users make with their cursor when browsing your website. A Heat Map will help you know on what part of your website clients are hovering to or lingering on more. With this information you can plant ecommerce SEO links strategically to encourage the users to click on them. Heat maps can also help you change website layout to a more SEO friendly version.

5) Social Signals

According to most professional ecommerce SEO analysts, social signals may not have a direct correlation to search engine ranking but they have been seen to have a causal effect in improving rankings. Social signals have a direct and indirect effect on organic rankings.

Directly, the signals help improve likes, page shares, user following, number of mentions on business products or links on social media pages. Indirectly, social signals increase inbound links and improve citations, increase positive user reviews and improve how long a user stays on your ecommerce website or visits again.

As we move towards a more complex channel in promoting online businesses, it is crucial to conform to the changes early in advance to keep your business on the same page with search engines. The above ecommerce SEO strategies are the advanced formula you will need to be successful in ecommerce SEO in 2015.