SEO is dead. Social media is dead. Link building is dead. Everyone wants to tout long-time online marketing strategies as being dead to create link bait. The problem with this link bait is that it is often times either inaccurate or down right wrong. Creating such link bait delivers false information to those who don’t know any better, or just plain don’t get it. As a result they may agree with it, even though it’s wrong. Let’s discuss whether or not these strategies are dead, and determine the real facts and fallacies surrounding these misnomers.
SEO is Dead? Hogwash!
First of all, SEO is not dead. Spamming is dead. If you’re talking about keyword stuffing, it used to work back in 2003. That was not SEO. Keyword stuffing was also not allowed by Google’s terms and conditions at the time, though some SEOs want you to believe it was a valid tactic. SEO has evolved into a white hat process. This process creates a long-term relationship with the search engines. There are still black hat strategies that also work. Google is plugging those holes faster than you can take advantage of them.
Keyword targeting is the backbone of all SEO. Regardless of whether you are practicing white hat or black hat. Without keyword targeting, how are you expected to target people? Especially those who are typing in the search queries to find what they are looking for? Keyword targeting drives search, whether people are entering in one or two keyword phrases. Or, asking long tail questions to find what they want. If you do the research, and target mindsets of users you can find the keywords your audience looks for. It is through these keywords that content is developed. Then, the keywords get matched to the queries with the most search volume. The process is then repeated ad nauseum.
Some content goes viral, and some content does not. But all content can perform well to some extent. What matters is how much you put into the quality of the content. Before, back in the early 2000s, Google was a primitive search engine. But, the search engine is one of the most advanced pieces of technology ever created. Google wanted content, but its methods for evaluating content were not the best. Even so, Google worked on improving their algorithm. Today, the algorithm is so advanced it can detect the submitted articles’ syntax. Although,some trash always gets through.
SEO is definitely not dead. Over time, elements of SEO evolve to the next level. While some elements evolve, other elements get deprecated. One example of this is when Google, Yahoo, and Bing made Meta description tags obsolete. As SEO changes some SEO elements are no longer needed as the algorithm changes what achieves better rankings. SEO elements also evolve to meet the demands of those in charge of the algorithm. This is not necessarily always for the better of the search engine’s users. SEO tactics that have too much influence and are too easy to implement at scale can get toned down for another tactic that is harder.
When someone says SEO is dead, it is usually link bait. There is – usually – no basis in reality for the claim. It is also – usually – an aspect of SEO that is more like spamming, not actually SEO.
Link Building is Dead? No
Google may eventually remove link building. But, Google still counts links as a rankings metric. Quantity of links is not as important as quality. The latest Google algorithm changes measure link quality as a healthy site indicator. Links tell about a website’s authority, quality and trust among its industry.
There are good and bad uses of links, just as there are good and bad uses of all SEO tactics. One bad use of links is creating a spammy blog network. How do you find one of these networks? Having the same template is a classic SEO issue of most blog networks. All domains can have exactly the same WHOIS registration information. All links back to the same website can come from blogs hosted on the same C-class IP. A tool that crawls and downloads domain name registration information can get created. If you can create it yourself, you can bet that Google is five steps ahead of you and has methods in place for finding patterns in SEO implementations. The Google spam team’s job is making sure that all nefarious tactics are no longer usable to get high SEO rankings easily.
One way they are able to do this is through rolling algorithm updates like penguin and panda. The latest penguin updates have minimized the value that low quality links once had. As a result, low quality links that do not provide value are not compatible with these updates. Because of this, every site’s link profile should get audited for accuracy and potential penalties that may be levied.
The general rule of “a link is a link” no longer applies. If you have enough bad quality links you will have a penguin penalty to deal with. The caveat to this, however, is that too turn any site into a brand with authority, relevance, and trust, one must get links from super high quality sources. These include links like those from the Huffington Post, CNN.com, and Bloomberg. It also includes high authority news sites in general. Directories are bad links except for high quality resources that have long term authority. Links from chamber of commerce sites are good links. In general, if a site is of high quality, is an authority in a niche, and delivers value to users, it’s a good link.
Social Media Is Dead? Still Nope
Most digital marketers who know what they are doing take this claim with a grain of salt. During the past few years, social media has turned into a dominant media channel. Reaching actual people online through social media is generally easier than radio or television. TV is going by the wayside as people pay more attention to online communities and networks to interact with their friends and families. In the next five years, social media has the potential to grow by leaps and bounds. This is because people are using social more often for social interaction online. This social interaction breeds a phenomenon called “social proof.” This phenomenon is powerful for brands looking to spread their influence, getting people online to buy their products or sign up for their services.
You need only look at the stats to see how wrong the above statement is. When you look at the users who use Twitter, you have 316 million monthly users. Facebook has 1.39 billion active monthly users. LinkedIn is adding, on average, 2 members per second. On Instagram, 1,000 comments get posted per second. On Google+, you have 359 million monthly active users.
So where is the social media is dead part? It is likely only dead in someone’s imagination: someone who wants to use it as link bait.
SEO, Social Media, and Link Building Are Not Dead
When one creates a holistic, integrated digital marketing strategy, a solid foundation gets built. When you implement proper tactics, and strive to increase SEO metrics (rankings, leads, traffic, conversion), a 10x brand is possible. Through SEO you can create rankings & leads. By integrating social media you can get real eyeballs on your content. As your brand relevance and authority increases, you should see all metric areas increase.
As platforms get bigger, tactics will change. As audiences get larger, strategies must make a shift to compensate. As has always been the case with digital marketing, changes come fast, and changes come hard. It is those who adapt to change who will be successful. SEO is never dead. It’s always evolving.
When are you going to evolve?