Search engine optimization, aka SEO, is a term you’ve probably heard used over and over again from web designers, marketing strategists and other experts in the field – but after learning how all the algorithms and updates have changed the way things used to be on the Internet, you may be wondering if it’s something still worth investing in. This is the question more and more business owners are asking after recent claims have been made that the practice of SEO is actually dead. It’s understandably confusing for people who are trying to decide where to put their marketing dollars.
We’re here to tell you with confidence that SEO is alive and well and is still very much needed as an integral part of marketing plans designed to help businesses rank higher in search results and reach a higher volume of potential customers for greater success in conversions. Search engine optimization is not dead; it has simply evolved to include a more comprehensive list of strategies rather than just remaining focused on keyword stuffing and quantity link building.
For those who have been hesitant to invest in any kind of SEO campaign thus far because they think it’s a dying process, it’s best to look at it like this: the point of SEO is to show major search engines like Google that you have a quality website worth showcasing at the top of search results – and that will always be important.
Here are some of the ways SEO is used to positively impact marketing efforts:
To Achieve Mobile-Friendliness
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you saw just how serious Google was about their “mobilegeddon” changes that were put into effect earlier this year. With most of the world connected to some sort of mobile device for a good part of their day, conducting their internet searches while on the go, it only makes sense that Google would want to see more websites accommodate this and become mobile-friendly. SEO plays a big part in achieving this by optimizing a site to transition from one device to another without losing its features or functions.
To Enhance User Experience
Regardless of all the focus placed on mobile responsiveness lately, that doesn’t make the overall user experience any less significant. It requires the use of SEO techniques to enhance a website across all devices for usability and ensure fast loading times for pages and images, easy navigation, etc. Poor user experience leads to higher bounce rates, which doesn’t look good to Google.
To Create Helpful, Relevant and Fresh Content
Another SEO method that makes a considerable influence on a business’s success within the search engines is content creation. Sites are consistently being crawled to assess just how helpful, relevant and fresh the content provided on their site is. Publishing new content that is useful and interesting to people will keep them coming back for more, showing Google that your site is getting traffic and offering something of value.
To Coincide With Social Signals
Social media is another avenue that is becoming increasingly important to marketing campaigns, but instead of replacing SEO, these two strategies should be working hand in hand. The more your site’s content is shared on social media platforms, the more these social signals will give weight to your positioning in search rankings. Search engines take special note when people are regularly engaging with a brand through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. and views it as a sign of credibility.
To Produce Quality Internal and External Links
As mentioned above, the most well-known use for SEO is to boost rankings in the search engines. There are numerous ways to do this, both through technical and creative direction, but one of the most popular is through internal and external link building. In the past, SEO experts concentrated on the quantity of links they were building instead of the quality, but this has changed since Google can now determine when backlinks are spammy or irrelevant and won’t think twice about penalizing a website for having either. However, it’s still necessary to gain good links back to your site, and SEO is still the way to do that, if it’s done in the right manner.
Though SEO is by no means dead as a marketing strategy, what has been laid to rest are “black hat” SEO practices that used to be commonly used and are now heavily frowned upon by Google and the other search engines. The key as a business owner is to work with someone who truly understands SEO and can implement its effective tactics so you can see impressive results in your rankings, and ultimately, in your profits. So, not only is SEO still full of life, it’s also just as important as it ever has been.
About the Author
Matt Morgan is the CEO & Founder of Optimize Worldwide, a web design and online marketing company based in Northern California that helps local and national businesses create more powerful online results. Matt enjoys sharing successful web development tips and SEO strategies, as well as riding enduro motocross and hanging out with his wife and baby girl, Haley.