Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of ensuring and maximizing a site’s visibility in search engine results. SEO has been of great speculation in the last year with many technology experts reporting this practice as being dead or on its way out.

Neither of these are true.

SEO is still very much alive, but changing with the ever changing technology industry and with the way search users use the internet.

What is SEO?

What is SEO

SEO are practices designed to promote a website’s ranking on search engines. There are many elements to promote SEO including the use of key words, on-page optimization, content creation, link building, social bookmarking and much more. Search Engine Optimization represents a huge industry with entire businesses devoted to helping website owners improve their search engine rankings and increase relevant traffic to their websites. All website managers are aware of SEO and the better ones follow tips and guidelines and work diligently to improve their website’s exposure on the web. Let’s face it. The web is a vast expanse. If website’s want to be found they’ve had to employ some pretty savvy techniques to remain competitive.

SEO Dead?

If you’re in this industry, you are so sick of seeing this headline.

SEO tombstone

The death of SEO has been debated for the last decade, with some even claiming SEO to be a scam (just like global warming right?). In the last year or so many industry experts have really jumped on the “SEO is Dead” band wagon, in part for the media attention the topic brings. The speculation stemmed from the changes initiated by Google in 2013. Google raised concerns that the quality of the sites showing up in the search results was being compromised and mostly limited to sites with great SEO tactics, regardless of the content. These sites may be terrible, but their designers figured out ways to ensure they made it to the top of search results.

If you look at this from Google’s perspective, they care about their users, their business depends on it. And even if you speculate that they are simply pushing website owners to pay for placement through AdWords, the premise still stands. Google wants their users to find quality information when searching and for the most relevant information to be at the very top of the search results. This obviously ensures the user will come back. Because Google has been so end-user-focused, they continue to be the most widely used search engine worldwide.

Since identifying these major search engine “manipulations” being made by website owners to improve ranking, Google made drastic changes to their search algorithm to improve search results. And thus, experts began to panic stating SEO is dead and not worth worrying about anymore.

Not. Even. Close.

Why SEO Will Never Die…

Why SEO will never die and is infinitely immortal

SEO will be around as long as search engines are. This could very well be forever, so long as people use the internet to find the things they need most. Consider the enormity of the web. Search engines are essential to navigate it. Google is not going anywhere and neither are its counterparts. So, Google can change its parameters to down play the importance of SEO, but it will remain a valid practice as long as Google search is alive. Searches will change as users adapt and become better at narrowing down key words. And, search engines will change to encourage better quality sites. It’s kind of like Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection concept, i.e. Survival of the Fittest and today we have our very own virtual game of Survival of the Fittest we like to call the Internet’s Darwinism. The sites that adapt to the changing search environment, follow best practices advice, as well as use great content and resources; will flourish and succeed. And, the sites who whine about the “death of SEO”, doing nothing to adapt, will die. Google is just speeding up the process by changing SEO parameters. And really, think about it, if Google is focused on providing the most relevant, quality results possible, don’t you want to follow suit and provide the best relevant content and experience possible for your visitors too?

Your goals, and Google’s are one in the same.

The Changing Search Environment?

SEO Research & Planning

We have established that SEO is not dead, and not dying. Just changing. These changes are not bad for users. They will improve the quality of the sites produced by search engine inquiries. This is certainly a benefit for users as they will now have better results and more quality sites to choose from. As for site managers and SEO experts – get ready to start learning. These changes are going to require creativity and a vast array of knowledge about SEO to get consistent results. Google employs some pretty savvy technicians. Given this, SEO experts are going to have to dive in a head first. And, if they want their sites to remain competitive in the search engine world, they’re going to have to stay ahead or in step with Google and other search engines, identifying the algorithm changes early and applying them quickly.

SEO: Not Dead, Not Dying, Just Changing

SEO Metamorphosis

Search engine optimization has been evolving since its birth! To expect SEO to remain stagnate is almost as absurd as thinking the practice is dead. Really? Come on!

SEO is not dead. It is not dying. It is changing.

These are changes that are going to require websites to be at the top of their game, produce great content and be user oriented. We’ve been saying for at least 10 years that a “build it and they will come” mindset was going to lead to poor results. That is truer today than ever. The top search engines have gained popularity because of their dedication to the user experience. Users are demanding more quality search results. And Google, of course, is going to deliver by weeding out all of the substandard sites and “tricky” tactics used by website owners by continuing to change SEO algorithms.

Only the strongest sites will survive, while the rest disappear from the top results. Survival of the fittest is the name of the SEO game today! If you’re not strong, you’re going to get eaten. So, stop wasting your time reading articles claiming the demise of SEO. Get to work, formulate a plan, follow best practices, and stay current with the latest changes and revisions to your SEO methodology and make sure the end-user’s experience is always at the forefront of your website goals. Figure out how to create a great site and keep people coming back.

And remember… SEO is changing, but certainly not dead.

Gerald D. Vinci

Gerald D. Vinci

Gerald D. Vinci is the CEO of Vinci Digital with over 20 years of experience in marketing and advertising. He partners with mid-size, established businesses as a growth and scalability consultant and strategic branding advisor as well as offering a full-suite of agency services. Gerald calls Carmel, CA home with his wife Safira and two children. He has co-authored two books, and is working on his own upcoming book titled, “Small Business Pricing Mastery – Creating effective pricing and defining value for today’s products and services.”

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