Let's Be Done with the SEO is Dead Posts Already
by Geoff Hineman
I've seen them. You've seen them. Every six months or so, the "SEO is Dead" linkbait articles resurface with the predictability of cicadas. It's usually in reference to some change at Google, Amazon, or Facebook. At best, it's ignorance. At worst, it's fear mongering. I'm not one for burying the lede, so I'll just get to it: SEO, at its core, is marketing. The principles of SEO are marketing principles. It's about understanding people. It's about understanding client motivation; are they in it because they love the product or are they in it because they seek to make money—most fall somewhere in between. It's about understanding the product, the business, and the customers. Good SEOs seek to understand the dynamics of all these relationships.
Still, it's a moving target. Tastes change...sometimes on a dime—anyone been out playing Pokemon Go, today? In short, selling prayer mats is different than selling bullets and if all you care about are vanity metrics, like keyword rankings, you should not be trying to sell anything. Period. What makes SEO different from traditional marketing, however, is the medium. Because SEO deals with technology, there has to be a certainly amount of technical acumen involved for the execution of the marketing goals. Therein lies the disconnect for many people. Balance is key. If SEO was as simple as tossing in some keywords, building some links, and tracking keywords, anyone could do it. And, unfortunately, too many people think they can. They get caught up in the mechanics of SEO and too often measure the metrics related only to the mechanics. When changes occur that negatively affect those metrics, they bemoan the end of SEO.
The goal of SEO is to drive revenue and/or attention for clients, ideally among a segment of the public that will stick around for a little while and/or come back regularly. That's why things like Google rankings for certain keyword terms is pure folly. It's a malleable measurement when algorithms are changing, competitors are changing, and the public is changing. In fact, if a Google algorithm change renders your "SEO efforts" null, you weren't really doing SEO in the first place. You were likely just spending your time trying to find holes in algorithms instead of focusing on your clients' success... and there is a big difference. SEO has a foot in two worlds. Both of those worlds are dynamic and promise to be for a very long time.
Sure, it can be a lot of plates to keep spinning sometimes and that varies by client. So, be wary of those proclaiming SEO is dead. It's likely that they are just not able to keep the plates spinning anymore; it happens. As long as there is marketing and the Internet, though, SEO will be just fine.