SEO: is it dying or evolving?

The discussion of whether or not SEO is dying has been around ever since the practice itself. But nowadays, one could argue that there’s even more of a case for this being true. After all, you’ve got voice, video and everything else to match. 

Are these a threat to SEO as we know it, or is the practice simply evolving? Let’s look at both sides of the story. 

The case for SEO’s death 

If you’re talking about SEO from a traditional perspective, then yes – you’d be right in saying that it’s on its last legs. John Lincoln, CEO of Ignite Visibility, summarised this in SEO: The Movie. He said:

“Back in the day, SEO was basically just spamming Google”.

Here, he was referring to keyword stuffing and link buying – a practice known as ‘spamming and jamming’. Affiliates were one of the first to carry this out, which is why so many became successful. It’s also worth noting that far more people know about SEO now than before, resulting in a more competitive space. 

Google is also much smarter now. Last year, it released over 3,000 updates. In the early days of SEO, they did so every 5-8 weeks and your rank lasted for that period too. 

Is SEO really dying, or is it just evolving? 

Here’s the other side of the coin. You’ve got to remember that SEO itself is decades old. Think about how much has changed technologically since. We’re almost certain that you don’t still walk around with a brick Motorola phone in your hand. 

In general, Google’s present-day updates focus more on the human aspect. Its BERT update, for example, utilised natural language features. Not only could this be seen as adapting to the rise in voice queries, but it also ensures that more specific search results are delivered. 

We should talk about link building, too. It’s still important for ranking well, but the difference is that quality trumps quantity these days. Search engines have become more astute in picking up on spam and algorithms are more interested in links that provide value.  

What can affiliates do to adapt? 

Focus on providing value. Since Google and the like are focusing more on improving the results that users see, it only makes sense to think about what your target audience wants. The content you produce, of course, is important for this. Find out what their biggest problems are by doing your own research, whether that be through asking them on social media or elsewhere. Through sharing informative pieces that are solution-oriented, you’ll make yourself more searchable. 

Think about the links you use. We talked in the previous section about the emphasis on quality these days, and not quantity. This means that you need to take the links you use into better consideration. Try to backlink to high-quality internal and external pieces only, and use no more than two per article. 

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Consider SEO to be one part of the jigsaw, rather than the entire puzzle. You can improve visibility through so many ways today – social media and email to name two. In fact, Gmail recently improved its mobile capabilities. So, why not think about utilising said platform? 

Rounding back to SEO, you should get out of the mindset that traditional practices are the be-all-and-end-all too. For example, you should think about how you can integrate *both* short and long-tail search terms. Working on more than one area will help you to put yourself in front of a larger audience. 

Final thoughts 

Traditional SEO as we know it is dying – that’s true. But the practice itself isn’t on its way to the grave. Instead, it’s just adapting to the current digital world we live in. And you need to adapt by considering both written and vocal search methods, along with predicting future trends. It’s also vital that content is created for the sake of value, rather than just ranking. By taking these into account, along with diversifying their channels for visibility, you’ll have a better chance of long-term stability. 

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