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.