Once again the past week has been littered with claims that SEO is dead. Much of this has been sparked by Google firmly noting that businesses should ‘forget about SEO.’ and that ‘to be visible in Google today, try Adwords’. Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?
Many people have noticed that, for example, a search on Google for a popular consumer product such as ‘HD televisions’ produces a page of results which, on most screen resolutions, shows virtually no organic results within the top half of the page – it’s almost completely dominated by sponsored adverts (http://goo.gl/RdLOs).
Not only that but even if you wanted to compete using Adwords the companies whose Adwords adverts are being displayed include Currys, Sainsburys, Amazon, Dixons, John Lewis, Tesco and Argos. It’s unlikely small businesses can compete. So when faced with such a stark statement as Google has posted recently, and when faced with results pages such as the example above it is perhaps no surprise that many people are heralding in the end of SEO.
Except that for those of us who have been involved with the industry for quite a few years, this doesn’t sound terribly new. In fact I can remember many years ago when I first became involved with SEO becoming rather disheartened to hear so many ‘experts’ declaring SEO dead even then. In fact it’s a pretty regular occurrence, and with each new development, new twist, new change or update many people leap out of the woodwork yet again and declare that this time it really is the end of SEO.
Hmm.. reminds me of a certain pastor recently who kept having to postpone his declaration that the world was ending. As far as I can tell, we’re still all here.
Frankly I don’t see SEO becoming obsolete any time soon. What’s important is to realise that there is precious little point in trying to compete with these mammoth high street stores. They have Adwords budgets most small business owners can only dream of, and it simply doesn’t make sense to even attempt to compete directly. So what’s the alternative? Well, two thoughts immediately spring to mind, and that’s longtail keywording and other search engines. I could cover more than this, but these two demonstrate clearly why it’s important not to jump to conclusions and give it all up just because a few ‘experts’ suggest you might as well.
Let me cover those two alternatives the other way around – first of all, let’s think about alternative search engines. It amuses sometimes just how obsessed even SEO experts can become with Google. Yet Bing and Yahoo account for over 30% of the search market. Doing a search on Bing for ‘HD televisions’ does still result in several sponsored listings, but the number is very much less, and the number of organic results much higher and more visible.
If you spend too long obsessing about Google you could be missing a trick with Bing and Yahoo. Yes, to some extent optimising for Google will help you gain a good ranking with Bing, but that’s not entirely accurate, and there are specific ways in which you can optimise specifically for these alterative search engines.
Then there’s longtail keywording. Using Google’s own keyword tool a search for ‘HD televisions’ results in plenty of longtail keyword ideas, including ‘best deals on HD televisions‘ and ‘cheap HD ready televisions‘. Searching for these on Google results in far fewer sponsored results, and many more less competitive organic results. So is SEO dead? Not by a long chalk – it’s just evolving, which is why it’s important to make sure your SEO approach evolves too.
Do you have any thoughts about this? Do you think SEO is dead, or dying? What do you think could kill SEO off for good, and is the alternative really likely to provide people with more appropriate results anyway?
Image Credit: craziestgadgets.com