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Expert Says SEO is Dead

Lately there has been more and more insight into the death of SEO Rankings. While the SEO has been reeling from the Panda and Penguin updates from Google, it seems that even without that, what are “real” search rankings are changing daily. The idea that you can “rank” higher than your competitor by link building and other tricks is not at all true, and the entire SEO game has changes.

The real issue here is personalization. As the fine folk at MarkingProfs put it:

 Personalization is now forced on users of Google and Bing if they are not logged in. When logged in, you have the option to turn personalization off—if you are aware of the possibility, and have an idea where to turn it off. (See the two paired gray buttons in the upper-right-hand corner of the screenshot? The globe icon means “un-personalized” and the person icon means “personalized”).

Therefore, a ranking report is now an indicator of relevance, not a metric for judging the average click-through rate of a listing in position X or to determine what your traffic should be.

How do you reach searchers in your market if Google is changing the way the online search game is played? The answer is… engagement—via social and website content, and via advertising.

Basically, what they are saying is that engagement is more and more important when it comes to search rankings. The more times someone clicks on your site, the more time they engage your site both through social media and other functions, the more times it will show up in their personalized search rankings.

How does Search now work? Well, Tom Shmitz wrote  a few months ago in Search Engine Land the following analysis:

What you see in the Google search results and what I see, for the exact same query, are likely to be two different sets of results, thanks to:

  • Personalized search results based on our own search history
  • Influenced search results based on our friends’ search histories
  • Local search results
  • Brand mentions in social media and on web pages
  • Query deserves images, video, products, news or other types of search results
  • Query deserves freshness
  • Query deserves diversity
  • Brand mentions on social media and the web
  • Over 500 algorithm changes a year

Driving traffic initially to your site through other means is the BEST way to rank now? Yes. Basically if you can acquire more people going to your site over and over again, via Facebook, Twitter, Emailing and other means, you’ll find more and more organic traffic. This means that traditional marketing, such as banner advertising, email marketing and general great engagement techniques are more and more important.

About Pace Lattin

Pace Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pace Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

16 comments

  1. I’ve heard this ‘SEO is dead’ line every year for the last decade. It wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true now. Search and therefore SEO has changed – but it is always changing and will continue to keep changing.

    More specifically, to say that personalised search rankings mean SEO is dead is hugely flawed logic. If personalised search results are making a huge impact then it means that SEOs must ensure that they are optimising a brands ability to be seen and ‘voted for’ within search results, in social media and wherever else that content appears – It becomes part of their job therefore to help optimise that new part of the search engines algorithms.

    Furthermore, this is only one part of the SEO ranking algorithm – you have to also ensure that the website in question is technologically accessible and contains pages and content that reflect consumer search behaviour. That is still the case and will be the case for the forseeable.

    Essentially, as long as the process of making a ‘Search’ still exists, there will be the need for experts to optimise that process for people and brands, and it’s called SEO.

  2. SEO to me souds like deceiving the search engines. The most relevant should be the content and not the keywords or other tricks.

    • If you are doing your SEO correctly then you are only setting your site up for the keywords that you want to rank for. This is in no way a form of deception. It is a matter of showing that you are relevant for those that are searching for that product.

  3. In my opinion SEO is not dead at all, and is still developing and maybe its new aspects will be found in the nearest future

  4. I disagree with statement that SEO is dead, just because it’s still very important for getting traffic and for every site or blog development

  5. I think that if the content will be really the king, then probably SEO won’t be dead

  6. Paid traffic and email marketing wins again..

  7. SEO is not dead if your site is full of QUALITY and engaging informative news.

    That’s my two cents.

  8. SEO isn’t dead, but it’s certainly down for the count. I saw a few screenshots on another board, and the top results for some really common keywords were down-right abysmal. Affiliate marketers and irrelevant sites were ruling the rankings! SEO is getting more difficult and unpredictable, and I think a lot of people are going to start focusing on PPC instead.

  9. I completely disagree with this opinion, and I’m sure hat SEO won’t be dead for a long time

  10. Yeah, SEO is definitely dead. I can’t believe there are still idiots out there who believe that properly anchored backlinks will drive their website up the SERPS. It’s preposterous.

  11. Kelly Keating

    I tend to agree with @jeffrey – if your site is full of valuable resources, surely it can garner more traffic. Naturally, other sites and users will link back to you to provide resources fro their readers. SEO may be down for the count due to penalties from penguin/panda/etc. but it leaves room for opportunity and growth – think social, content, community. I think the limits are endless and depend upon your perspective

  12. I do not think so. They way SEO works has changed and will change more in coming days. Many people says seo is dead after penguin update but it is not that. But now seo is easy as google have removed many rubbish competitors using penguin update. So for seo experts who believe in natural link building SEO is now boon.

  13. It’s impossible to dead an SEO. Because today SEO is the familiar tools for optimizing our client sites in Google page. If it will dead every thing will be finished . It’s our duty to keep alive our SEO for improving our future content.

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