Doug Karr of DKNewMedia has posted a thought provoking video that uncovers what has been an open secret in the SEO community for some time- SEO is Dead.
The video is about an hour long and well worth a watch, but the gist of his argument is that the continual changes Google has made over the past two years make many SEO techniques obsolete, and that content marketing is a much better option.
Nor is Karr the only SEO expert to express this view, but more on that later.
There is No Such Thing as Page 1 Ranking Anymore
Google’s localisation and personalisation efforts over the past two years mean no two people see the same search result.
The results you see are dependent on many factors including where you are, your previous online behaviour and your social connections.
The inevitable conclusion is that SEO companies promising you Page 1, Position 1 rankings either don’t know what they are doing or are lying to you.
The whole concept of the Number 1 position is now obsolete. If you’re thinking that way, you are already behind in the online marketing game.
As Karr points out 75% of search engine traffic to a site is now coming from results that are not on page one.
More of Everything is the New Target
Because more search engine traffic is now coming from results that are not at the top, it is now far more effective to get as much of your content just ranked and indexed on the search engines.
IE: It doesn’t matter about position anymore, what matters is that you have content indexed, and that you get traffic from it.
Note: Properly set up sites and pages are still important, just nowhere near as important as they used to be
Content Marketing has Replaced SEO
Of course to get content indexed you need to produce it, and this is where content strategy and content marketing come in.
As Karr points out in the video Google has very clearly said that what it wants is content that people want to read and find valuable, and will penalise overly optimised pages.
Good writing is a very different task to traditional technical tweaking of search engine optimisation.
Social Signals Matter
In line with the above, Google will also be monitoring how much if any of your content gets shared socially to determine its value. IE: The more it’s shared the more valuable or interesting it must be.
That’s not the only metric they will use, they will probably be looking at your site bounce rates, time on page and pages per visit to gauge the quality of your content, but you get the idea.
In fact paying attention to your bounce rates, visit depth and time are now probably a more critical SEO tactic.
What Other SEO Leaders Have Said
Chad Pollitt from Kuno Creative said something similar in a recent video post. http://www.kunocreative.com/blog/bid/73134/Rethinking-SEO-Tuesday-s-Inbound-Marketing-Tips-Tactics-Video
In the video his blog manager said he no longer worries too much about tweaking headings, links, alt tags and all the other stuff. Instead he just concentrates on writing great content.
And none other than Rand Fishkin from SEOMoz http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-brand-of-seo-and-the-trend-of-inbound-marketing weighed into the debate about the brand of SEO and the evolving place of SEO in online marketing.
But many of them seem to be talking around the issue instead of putting it as bluntly as Karr.
Content and Social Media Marketing is Not SEO
In response to these changes, what many SEO agencies have been trying to do is bring the new fields of content creation and social media marketing under the SEO umbrella.
While there is absolutely no doubt that great content and social media improve your search engine performance, there’s no way they can fit under the SEO umbrella.
The main problem is that they require two completely different mindsets and skill sets.
Search engine optimisation has traditionally always been very a very technical, left brain logical activity with its practitioners locked in a room hunched over their computers tweaking code and trying to figure out and manipulate search engine algorithms.
Content production and socialising however are creative right brain activities. For the most part they are organic and seemingly illogical processes.
The two groups of personnel simply won’t fit together.
And as a manager or business owner you simply wouldn’t give a creative or social task task to a technician.
Content Creators and Socialisers are Already in the Lead
The other problem with trying to bring content creation and social media under the SEO umbrella is that all the best content creators, strategists, social media experts and marketers have already staked out their own territory and built their businesses.
They are not going to give it back to the trailing SEO agencies.
And this is where it gets problematic for SEO agencies. They are now in third place in the online marketing game and falling further behind in an industry where they once dominated.
In some ways it’s ironic as this is exactly what the web does: It continually disrupts and disintermediated industries. Only now it seems to be doing it to one of its own.
The Evidence Continues to Mount.
Google is now actively warning webmasters not to do excessive SEO and backlinking, otherwise they will penalize you.
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