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SEO Isn’t Dead, It’s Just Changing

Remember when marketers said email was dead? (Spoiler alert, it’s not.) You’ll see plenty of articles and blog posts suggesting the same impending outcome for search engine optimization (SEO). Between algorithm updates and an emphasis on digital ads, SEO has been questioned for years. In reality, SEO is not dead, nor is it dying – it’s simply changing.

SEO can be a powerful and cost-effective way to build brand awareness, drive more traffic to a website, and increase conversions. Consider these recent statistics:

  • 70 percent of the links search users click on are organic. (Source)
  • 57 percent of marketers said that SEO generates more leads than any other marketing initiative. (Source)
  • 40 percent of revenue is captured by organic traffic. (Source)

For those who still need more convincing, here are two main reasons why SEO is still a relevant and useful digital marketing tactic today.

Even though PPC advertising is effective, organic SEO is still important.

There is no doubt that pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is, indeed, a powerful tactic to target search users and quickly drive traffic. However, just because brands are increasing their digital ad budgets, doesn’t mean SEO has become any less significant.

An effective digital marketing strategy typically involves a combination of both PPC and SEO tactics working together. So even though brands are upping their ad spend, SEO is still a crucial, albeit long-term, strategy to include in any digital marketing plan.

SEO is not dead, but some tactics are.

Since Google was first introduced in 1998, facets of SEO have become outdated as search engines have grown smarter and algorithms have been updated. As such, certain tactics that were once effective in boosting ranks have now become detrimental to a website’s search exposure. Here are some examples of outdated SEO tactics to leave behind:

Buying backlinks

Acquiring backlinks (when another website, particularly one with a high domain authority, links to your website) can be a great tactic to boost your site’s authority and search exposure. Essentially, when another website links to yours, it’s like their way of signaling to Google that they give your content their stamp of approval.

However, acquiring certain backlinks can backfire if you’re not careful. Specifically, paying for backlinks from link sellers is a clear violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines. It’s not too hard for Google to identify a link buyer when looking at a site’s inbound links or a link seller when looking at their outbound links. Should you get caught, not only can you face a penalty like a reduction in page rank, but Google may even choose not to index your site altogether. If you want to acquire backlinks, the best way to do so is to create quality content that’s worth promoting.

Keyword stuffing

Back when search engines were only capable of interpreting simple signals like keyword density, many marketers would jam as many keywords as possible onto a page to make it seem more relevant to that particular topic. However, constantly repeating the same keyword over and over again doesn’t work anymore.

As search engines continue to get smarter, it’s become increasingly important for copywriters to write for humans, not search engines. This may sound like common sense, but a high keyword density or trying to fit a particular keyword into every single sentence comes across as unnatural and unfriendly to the user experience.

Keywords should read naturally in your copy and only be used sparingly. Through Google’s latent semantic indexing (LSI) feature, the search engine can detect synonyms and related keywords to your primary keyword. So, while you might use your primary keyword in the title tag or H1 tag, you should aim to incorporate other relevant keywords organically within the context of your content to help boost your exposure.

Prioritizing content quantity over quality

You’ve surely heard the saying, “content is king,” and while that is true, it’s important to remember that you can have too much of a good thing. Search engines favor websites that continually produce fresh content, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. Just because you are constantly churning out content doesn’t mean that it’s going to boost your rankings.

Similar to keyword stuffing, redundant and overlapping content that focuses on the same topic or keyword is one way to cannibalize your rankings. Meanwhile, shallow content that doesn’t provide useful information or a unique and creative perspective may not even rank at all.

Writing quality content takes time. Often this means writing long-form content that thoroughly answers a user’s questions or provides all the relevant information related to a topic. Studies show that the more in-depth your content is, the more likely it is to incorporate and rank for relevant keywords, acquire backlinks from reputable sites, be shared on social media, build brand awareness, the list goes on. So, while you may only have the bandwidth to write one, long-form piece of content a week, as opposed to one low-value piece of content a day, the return on investment will be greater by ensuring quality over quantity.

SEO best practices that are alive and well today

Search engine algorithms will continue to change every day, so it’s important to always be monitoring your website performance and tweaking your strategies accordingly. In the meantime, you’ll want to focus on several key SEO tactics that are still relevant and useful today:

  • Ensure your website is able to be indexed and crawled by search engines.
  • Ensure all pages have proper title tags and meta descriptions.
  • Focus on writing high-quality content that is highly relevant to specific search queries.
  • Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly and easy to navigate.
  • Build high-quality external links back to your site.

Need some help implementing these best practices? When you work with Aztek, our SEO services include developing a tailored strategy to help you gain search engine exposure and generate business results. Our goal is to keep our clients up-to-date on all of the tactics we’re using to improve search engine results. We’ll educate you on the best ways to improve SEO and how we’re using these techniques to improve traffic and convert more visitors on your website. Contact us today to start a conversation.