The question of “Is SEO dead?” has been around since SEO started. The reason the question arises so often is because of the constant changes Google implements. These changes have made some websites lose all of the traffic they once received; to the people running those sites, SEO is dead. Those same changes have completely transformed other websites and their rankings and traffic have skyrocketed; to the people running these sites, SEO is thriving!
You may be wondering–how can those same changes affect sites differently? The answer is quite simple. In the second scenario (the website that is thriving), they were doing things the right way. In the SEO world, the “right way” is often referred to as “white hat SEO.” On the contrary, “black hat SEO” is when people try to take a lot of shortcuts and attempt to “hack” their way to the #1 position on Google.
The only constant with Google is change. Although Google is known to change its algorithm frequently, it is doing so to create a better product for the user. Creating a positive user experience combined with extreme speed and ease is the reason Google has to continue changing. With smartphones being essentially cemented in our palms, our tendencies have changed over time when using Google, so they had to adapt as well.
With the transformations Google has made, you may have noticed that many of their “featured snippets” are answers to the questions we ask. In a nutshell, that is how we must adapt with SEO as well. Google is no longer doing an equation of “keywords = rankings” where you can just blast as many keywords as humanly possible onto one page and earn a higher ranking. Instead, they are focused on an equation of “question = best answer” so they can give the best user experience as mentioned before.
The only way to ensure you’re doing SEO the right way in 2020 is to adapt and stay the course. Understand how users use Google (and the internet in general) and then tailor your website to them. If your website can answer the users questions better than your competitors, through all the factors calculated in Google’s algorithm, you will win higher rankings (higher rankings = more clicks = more conversions).
Just like creating a better user experience, Google, and humans, hate spam. If you are still using outdated SEO tactics like using white font on a white background to have “hidden keywords” you may want to start from scratch. If you are buying hundreds or thousands of backlinks from cheap sources like Fiverr, you’ll want to start de-indexing those that are hit with a high spam rating. (And, don’t buy cheap backlinks anyway. They’re cheap for a reason and can cause permanent penalties on your website).
In addition to these tactics, you should also avoid relying solely on one marketing factor. If you are relying solely on word of mouth marketing, PPC, SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, or you name it, then you are not capturing the amount of business you should be capturing. In today’s world, people do not rely on 1 source for their decision. That means you have to optimize every aspect of where you and your reputation are online. The good news, you don’t have to do it all by yourself!
Since 2009, Stonefish LLC has been helping businesses strengthen their online presence. We pride ourselves on doing things the right way and helping businesses get in front of the right customers at the right time of their buying process. If you would like a free consultation on how SEO can help your business in 2020, please contact us today!