For years people have been using the words “SEO” and “dead” in their article titles attempting to link bait and get people fired up about their articles. More and more of these articles are starting to appear so I figured I’d throw my hat into the ring and give my opinion.
Usually when someone tells you that something is “dead”, they are trying to sell you something else. In the case of those proclaiming SEO is dead; they are trying to sell social media services.
Social media is huge, social media is growing, but right now Google is still king of the mountain for people looking for information and it will probably remain in that spot for the foreseeable future. That said any SEO “expert” who doesn’t pay attention to social media should be avoided like the plague.
It can be difficult to know how to weigh the importance of all of the different tasks a website owner has but this is my current opinion of the relative value of different items for building your online presence and increasing visibility.
I’ve listed content (and onsite optimization) at 50%, offsite SEO (aka, links) as 30% and social media as 20%. There will always be exceptions to any rule but I believe that this is a good general guide to these items importance. I can’t really start throwing out numbers like this without providing some sort of explanation so here’s a short one.
Content and onsite optimization 50%
This is pretty obvious. Creating quality content for users to find is half the battle. I’ve said multiple times if you have poor content but draw 10,000 people to your site threw some scheme all you’ll end up with is 10,000 disappointed people. By onsite optimization I’m referring to your keyword usage, metadata, website structure etc.
Offsite Search Engine Optimization (links) 30%
Links are still the primary way that Google determines which pages to serve up to users. It may seem like a scary time to perform link building due to all of the recent Google updates cracking down but those changes are what makes it a fantastic time to perform natural link building. Every link spammer that Google punishes is one spot that everyone else moves up in the rankings.
If you’ve read other articles and don’t think that SEO matters anymore then you should check out the raw numbers of Google searches that users perform. If a homeowner in El Paso, Texas has a pipe break right now how are they going to locate a plumber? I haven’t seen a phonebook in years so unless they know someone who they think they can call for an answer, they’re using the internet.
Once they fire up their laptop they could go to a site like craigslist to look for a plumber (that’s honestly what I would do) but most people aren’t going to go that route. Social Media apologists would have you believe that people at this point will jump on Facebook and twitter and start asking their friends which plumber they should call. Does this happen? I’m sure it does. Could this “crowdsourcing” trend grow, it absolutely could and probably will. At this point is the amount of people doing this anywhere close to the amount of people that would simply type “El Paso plumbers” into Google? It isn’t even close.
This article will be continued in my next post.