An interesting article appeared the other day over on Forbes.com regarding SEO.
The main point of the article was that search engine optimization techniques like backlink building that tried to game Google’s ranking algorithm were no longer effective and that anyone who wanted to rank well today should quickly adopt a content marketing strategy. To quote the article:
“The bottom line is that all external SEO efforts are counterfeit other than one: Writing, designing, recording, or videoing real and relevant content that benefits those who search.”
As website consultants and HubSpot partners, we wholeheartedly agree with this assessment. But another interesting quote caught my eye and judging from the passionate comments people left I’m not alone.
“Google is in the process of making the SEO industry obsolete, SEO will be dead in 2 years.”
This comment is interesting for a couple reasons. First, for most of it’s corporate history Google wanted nothing more than to make the SEO industry obsolete. From a PR standpoint, they identified nearly all search engine optimization practices (and the people who deployed them) as a violation of their perfectly ordered and indexed view of the web, weeds to be exterminated from a beautifully cultivated garden.
It’s only been recently that Google has relaxed and stopped assuming SEO automatically meant ‘black hat’ or ‘spam’. Only recently, that they’ve been better about partnering with professional webmasters and SEO consultants instead of punishing them. But that doesn’t mean everything is rainbows and unicorns.
A few months back Google stopped reporting keyword searches in Analytics when the user was logged in to a Google account (Gmail, G+, YouTube, etc…). For most websites, this means that 25% to 30% of the organic traffic cannot be attributed to a keyword phrase. Despite Google’s reasoning (privacy concerns), this is clearly intended to make SEO work more difficult. Don’t buy it? Than ask yourself why Google doesn’t have the same privacy concerns when reporting the keywords for a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign.
This brings me to the second reason the quote is interesting. True, the way SEO works today will be dead in 2 years. But as long as there are search engines there will always be search engine optimization. The techniques may be different, but there will always be a drive and need to put your content ahead of the competition.
Despite the increasing sophistication of Google’s algorithm, it is still designed by people. And if people built it, other people can find a way to bend and break the rules. When the police start using radar guns, drivers start using radar detectors. Escalation is inevitable.
SEO is dead. Long live SEO!