Every time Google updates its search engine or institutes new policies, doomsayers come out of the woodwork to sound the death knell for SEO. Even though SEO has been the engine of online commerce for well over a decade, there are still many who don’t truly understand it, holding on to an old image of SEOs as snake-oil salesmen. Every year you’ll read about how SEO is dead or dying, but the methodology of Search Engine Optimization will continue to thrive. Here’s why:
1. Quality content will always rise to the top
Google (and every other search engine) is built around elevating quality content—so no matter how crafty they get with their indexing algorithm, they have to assign value to well-written, widely-read, and authoritative content. Over the years, Google has refined their ability to detect spammy manipulation and meaningless content, but skilled link-builders will always be able to promote their clients by writing content that people want to read.
2. SEOs benefit from a specialized skill set
There’s been a debate in recent months over “in-sourcing” online marketing—hiring your own team to generate and promote content to build your brand. While it can be done successfully by large companies, this is no different from conventional marketing practice: some corporations do their marketing in-house, while others find it more cost-effective to contract out. And there will always be a place for SEO firms in the small business world, where owners lack the resources, manpower, and managerial bandwidth to efficiently manage their own online marketing team.
3. The tools are growing more refined every day
For every well-paid, talented Google developer working to shut out non-sponsored SEO, there are hundreds of hungry, equally-talented people in the industry looking for better ways to promote their clients; and in many cases (Google Trends, Google Analytics, and mobile SEO, for example), search engines and SEOs find common cause in developing tools to measure success and locate profitable niches. SEO experts now have ways to track their clients’ progress from tablets, laptops, and LG phones, and the metrics that define success get tighter and more direct every day. It isn’t as simple as an “arms race” between search engines and SEOs—in many aspects, the two industries have a complimentary and symbiotic relationship.
4. SEO creates real value
Everyone wins when websites and company information is optimized for search engines. Quality SEO is not a method of misdirecting users to something they don’t want—rather, it’s a way to make sure users get what they do want, and to make sure they get it from your client. Web developers can create an excellent, appealing site, but skilled SEO can focus that design on exactly what users want, and helping them find it.
5. The industry is an ecosystem
No matter how colossal Google might get, there will always be more SEOs than Google developers, finding new ways to promote content; and people who say that “SEO is dying”, or think the next big announcement from Google will destroy SEO, don’t really understand what it is. SEO isn’t about one search engine; it’s about companies, and their image online. It’s about helping customers find the right content for them, and helping businesses have better organized websites, and social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Urban Spoon and a million other review and ranking websites. As long as there are products being sold online, and people who want to buy them, SEO isn’t going anywhere.
Patricia Shuler is a TechBreach staff writer from Oakland, California. She’s an admitted tech-junkie who’s quick to share her honest opinion on all things consumer electronic—including up-to-date news, user reviews, and “no holds barred” opinions on a variety of social media, tech, computer, and mobile accessories topics.