There was a recent article in Forbes magazine — “The Death of SEO: The Rise of Social, PR, and Real Content” — that sparked a lot of controversy in the industry. In the article, a top search engine optimization consultant (SEO) is quoted as saying, “Google is in the process of making the SEO industry obsolete; SEO will be dead in 2 years.” Will there be a change in the way SEO is done over the next 2 years? Absolutely. But I strongly believe that the buying and selling of strategies to determine what marketers need to do to rank high in the search engines rankings will not go away.
In a sense, SEO as we know it — with respect to the typical SEO approach that many marketers use today — is indeed dying. In other words, no longer will SEO be about how many backlinks a site has or how many times a keyword is spattered on a page to convince the search bots what a web page is all about. SEO is now evolving into something simpler: The creation of a web page that is the best resource on the Internet for a keyword.
High-quality, well-written, relevant content brings visitors to websites and the SEO algorithms of Google and other leading search engines are evolving in a way that they are recognizing this. Shifting the emphasis from backlinks to social media content is one important way. By creating backlinks, marketers have been able to “trick” people to visit their websites. To help improve the search for their audiences, search engines are now focusing on such social media measures as Facebook likes, Twitter tweets, and Google +1s. This makes sense, as the buzz created by people commenting on social media is a better endorsement for a brand, product, or service compared to a backlink. And although some tricks are possible with social media, it is a bit more challenging to trick the search engines with social.
Another aspect of the changing SEO landscape is that some industry professionals are questioning whether the new Google algorithms are specifically targeting WordPress websites. There are well over 56 million WordPress sites in the world, putting WordPress far ahead of the pack of other major publishing platforms. So, mathematically speaking, that means that a lot of WordPress sites can get hurt relative to other sites that use other publishing platforms simply because there are a lot of them out there. So if you build a low-quality site, you will lose — regardless of the publishing platform used.
In response to the Forbes article, a blog on WPMU.org highlights some of the major issues with updated and new Google algorithms, including Google’s Penguin and Panda. These algorithms are targeting low-quality content blogs and websites that use such “black-hat” SEO practices as keyword stuffing, creating duplicate content, and link farms — web pages that provide only links to other sites. It just so happens that many of these blogs and websites are on WordPress. So, what is really being attacked? I’m pretty sure Google is lowering ranking of low-quality content, not WordPress.
What does all this mean for marketers? You have to work hard to create websites that provide useful, high-quality content for your target audience. Also, you need to implement marketing strategies that take into account the importance of social media content and its growing role in search engine rankings. At FulcrumTech, our SEO testing shows that a well-thought-out website — one that has optimized code and quality content with a clear focus — can outrank most SEO techniques. We’ve found this holds true regardless of the number of associated backlinks or press releases.
If you need some advice about how to optimize your website, contact us or give us a call today at 215-489-9336 and our certified professionals can help you successfully use SEO to grow your business.