There has been a lot of talk about the death of SEO in the last 12 months. The “Panda” and “Penguin” updates by Google have certainly stirred up the online marketing community, with many suggesting that “Penguin penalties” mean that search engine optimisation no longer works or is not a viable tactic. I disagree wholeheartedly.
SEO is still the most effective means of delivering high quality, qualified traffic to a website. In fact, after 8 years of studying and optimising websites, I believe good SEO is more effective than ever.
Notice how I said “good SEO”?!
The Google Panda and Penguin updates punish BAD SEO. You know, the spammy link building, keyword stuffing, really blatant reader-unfriendly stuff. And so it should. Its crappy.
All Google has been trying to do is eliminate the rubbish so that they can serve up higher quality content to their users. If you are doing the right thing you should have nothing to worry about. In fact, my experience has been that every major Google algorithm update has actually benefited my clients.
Last week my team and I met up with a major client for an annual review. We have spent the last year working hard with them on a great website full of excellent content. We did an enormous amount of SEO work for them during this time. Here are some of their year-on-year stats:
- Overall traffic grew 223%
- Traffic from organic search grew 652%
- Non-brand related search traffic grew 1112%
- Conversions grew 196%
Try telling this customer that SEO doesn’t work. Done properly, search engine optimisation works amazingly well and will continue to do so for quite some time.
Nonetheless, the rules have changed and this has caught a lot of bad operators out. This infographic from DCI neatly explains the changes to SEO since Penguin.
Did you know that 72% of B2C marketers have acquired a customer through Facebook? Or that B2B marketers have found LinkedIn 277% more effective than Facebook or Twitter for acquiring new customers?
Did you know that SEO is still almost 3 times more effective than Social Media or Pay Per Click for generating leads? It’s true.
This nice infographic from the team at Wishpond spells it all out.
Search engine optimisation is a big part of my business. Its an area we can help clients improve quickly for long lasting results. Unfortunately its also a practice that is rampant with cowboys and snake oil salesmen, most of whom are still employing outdated SEO techniques that either don’t work or could even punish their clients.
In the last 18 months Google has has rolled out a series of updates to its search engine that have changed search engine optimisation for the better. Google increasingly rewards genuine high quality content and punishes cynical gaming of search. I’m happy to say that all my clients have benefited.
This excellent infographic from Fuzz One explains how search engine optimsation has changed in the last few years and how you can ensure your are generating Google-friendly content. Of course, my team and I would also be happy to guide your organisation towards better web marketing results if you’d like some assistance.
Nielsen recently conducted some research on the organic and paid search click-through-rates in Great Britain and came up with some stunning results, which are presented below in this new infographic.
The most interesting and telling information is in the second half of the page. In 1.4 billion search queries 94% ended up clicking on the natural or organic search result. Only 6% clicked on the ads.
If you still decide to pursue PPC then the demographic is most likely to click on your ad is women 55+.
The main question you should be asking now is how much do you want to invest in Pay Per Click search advertising compared to a vastly more effective organic SEO strategy?
The web is a place for new and shiny things, for fads and sexy new start-ups. Like many of us, web “experts” have short attention spans and tend to jump from one fad to the next. Over the last few years I have heard a consistent refrain that Search is dead or dying and being replace by something new or better.
In 2012 the discussion around search have been even more vigorous following Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. Some have even claimed this will kill the SEO industry.
SEO is more important than ever, it just needs to be addressed differently.The only people suffering are the SEO’s who cling to old-fashioned strategies that are no longer effective.
Lets look at the facts:
- Eighty-two percent of consumers researched a product before buying it according to latest Forrester report
- Search engines are still used by around 92% of all internet users
- Here in Australia, Google continues to enjoy approximately 94% share of all search traffic according to Stat Counter.
- Crucially, being found on page 1 of Google is still the best way to drive qualified traffic to your website.
- The higher your Google search ranking , the more likely you will receive a click through to your site, as this graphic from Search Engine Watch displays.
A lot of the “search is dead” hysteria has been due to Google’s apparent punishment or discounting of unnatural link-building. This has long been the main tactic of many SEO’s and is how they measure and charge for their services. So while it might mean the death of SEO for for practitioners, the fact that Google is placing less emphasis on link-building is a good thing for consumers. It mean that results are steadily becoming more relevant. Smart SEO’s know this and are addressing it.
What is also becoming apparent is that social media is becoming a significant factor in search results. Most experts now agree that Google and Bing are paying attention to the amount of social activity around posts and pages on your website, even if Google is paying an unnatural amount of attention to its own network. The smart marketers are making sure they have a holistic approach to search and social to achieve the best results.
As Neil Perkin says in his recent analysis of the industry:
“….whilst SEO may not be dying, it is certainly changing and changing fast. As the link between so-called ‘earned media’ and search engine results gets stronger and as the data sources that form results become more numerous and more complex, the requirement is increasingly for SEO to be integrated into everything that the brand does. That means not only the quality of your content, but how you produce it and what you do with it. The skills of a good SEO person have always been about increasing visibility of content and getting it in front of people who are prospective buyers/customers/consumers. And that skill will surely be in more demand than ever.”
SEO isn’t going away anytime soon. Its changing rapidly but as long as so many consumers are logging on to research and purchase SEO will remain an important and necessary task. Honestly, we’re only at the beginning of the online shopping revolution. The numbers will grow exponentially in the next 5 years.
The question now is whether your SEO strategy reflects the current state of the search industry. If it doesn’t then its likely your results will be far from optimal.