Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Enough with the “SEO is Dead” Crap


My pet peeves related to the SEO industry change on a regular basis but right now it is definitely the “SEO is Dead” headline… it is overused, totally unimaginative, and always wrong. Yet here I have to use it… at least it is to spurn it defiantly!! Sure, search engine optimization (SEO) changes, there is no doubt about that, but it is not dead and won’t be for a very very long time. If you think it is, I would love to hear an argument for why your website no longer needs to provide a clear picture of keyword relevance to search engines.

Anyone Saying “SEO is Dead” Doesn’t Understand What SEO Is

First, for the sake of choosing a neutral starting point let’s look at the parts of Wikipedia’s definition of SEO that relates to this discussion:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a web site or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. … Optimizing a website may involve editing its content and HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines.

Based on that definition, what has changed? No matter what happens, every website owner who values search engine traffic will yearn to be more visible. SEOs have continued to do that in the light of changes such as mandatory personalized rankings by simply continuing what we have always done; ensuring our client sites are optimized with clarity of relevance kept in mind and earning links for being a great resource. Perhaps our (fictional) client’s San Diego-based art store website will not be found in the top 10 anymore by a person on the other side of the country looking for a local art shop; that potential traffic would have been largely irrelevant anyway.

By the same token, it wouldn’t be a problem for our art store client if that same searcher has a browsing history which indicates a preference towards abstract art and our client’s site does not show up because it focuses on contemporary art. Why? Because the searcher would not have likely converted to a sale anyway. Yet in either case, the careful search engine optimization of StepForth’s client site has provided the clarity for search engines to determine the ideal traffic for our client. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like great news to me and my client!

As a result, I and my web marketing business can attest to one simple fact – the SEO business is better than ever! Why? Because the application of SEO on a website removes roadblocks to engines and helps provide a  crystal clear, keyword-targeted presence that is necessary for short and long tail organic search results.

Google Instant Helps Deliver a More Qualified Customer

There is no disadvantage to Google Instant for any SEO with perhaps the exception of those looking to manipulate results with low quality content; at which point good luck to them since that is why they often get paid the big bucks. After all, Google Instant just helps each user hone their search while they type so they find what they are looking for the first time around – awesome! In fact, I believe there are many great advantages to Google Instant that are only just being fleshed out and you can expect an article from me soon on this very subject. I am certainly going to be speaking about it on the next SEO 101 this coming Monday (Sept 13, 2010).

So Enough with the “SEO is Dead” Baloney!

Unless a website no longer needs to provide a clear picture of keyword relevance to search engines then SEO will always be necessary in one way or another. The fact that how we conduct SEO campaigns changes on a regular basis is undeniable but that is also what makes it enjoyable. After all, I would be bored silly if the game didn’t change regularly! Stay tuned for my take on how Google Instant can, and will, help business!

by Ross Dunn, CEO, StepForth Web Marketing Inc.
Ross Dunn is an SEO Specialist, follow Ross on Twitter

30 Responses to “Enough with the “SEO is Dead” Crap”

  1. Scott


    That is all I have to say. :)

  2. Sue

    Pardon me while I play devil’s advocate here… perhaps one of the reasons why people are saying SEO is Dead is that not all website owners are valuing search engine traffic anymore. With all of the other ways people can find my website (, am I concerned about whether people will find Directis Consulting when they search for “business consultant in Victoria BC”?

    Okay… yes I am. But maybe there are people out there who don’t rely on search engines to drive traffic to their site, and they’re willing to forgo page-1 rankings in favor of other initiatives. Everybody needs to prioritize how they use their limited resources, after all.

    That said, I hope you don’t have rel=”nofollow” on your comments. Heh heh heh.

  3. Ross Dunn

    LOL, yes we do have nofollow Sue but thanks for your feedback! :-)

    As for your argument. Of course there will be some people who choose not to focus on SEO; that has always been the case. It is the people that focus on SEO as their mainstay for success – there are a lot of them. They could, justifiably, be worried about the fear mongering going on about SEO being “dead”. That’s all pure rubbish which is why I wanted to put this ‘out there’.

    Note that is not to say they won’t see changes in their analytics and ad impressions… they most certainly will and I will expand on this later.

  4. Alan Bleiweiss

    As long as Google and Bing continue to serve up relevant content to billions of people conducting searches for information, SEO will need to be implemented. It’s really a simple concept. It only requires 6th grade intelligence when people take their heads out their sun-dont-shine region to look at statistics.

  5. Ross Dunn

    Well said Alan, thanks for your comment!

  6. Zarko Z

    Ross, I couldn’t agree more, SEO changes and we adapt to each change every time, that is how things work. But as long as we have “professional journalism” running the headlines SEO will be Dead at least 5 more times in the next two years :)

  7. George

    I really agree on what you said that, people who says SEO is dead are those who doesn’t understand it. I’ve read some blogs that says that all the time and I got sick of it. And this is a really nice post. Thanks for sharing your thought about it. More power on your blog.

  8. Ross Dunn

    ROFL! Nice one Zarko, you are dead right. The nice thing is I now have a single article to refer them to in every case. 😀
    Thanks for your input!

  9. Sonny Lambert

    SEO will never die! How could it? Google has to base their search results off of what a websites content is about and the popularity off that website overall. At some level SEO will always remain a very important aspect of how your websites rank on Google.

    The only way I see SEO not being a concern is if Google and the others convert the first 3 pages of reslts to all PAID results, which will not happen as it will go against exactly what search engines are for and against Google’s pledge to show the most relevant pages to searchers (Not the biggest bank roll).

  10. steveplunkett

    google @steverubel is dead… if he doesn’t get it then it’s dead…

  11. Christina

    Those people who says SEO is dead are those that don’t fully understand the logic behind. Or maybe they do but can’t afford to keep up to date with everything that’s going on and prefers to just do the same old thing.

  12. JosebaU

    Most people that comes with the “SEO is Dead” thing is perfectly aware of everything you say in this article. They do it just as link bait and self-hype inside the SEO comunity, nothing new..

    And writing about “SEO is not dead” could be the same in a lesser way, I think we all know what SEO is already.. but well, maybe some people need to be reminded.

  13. Shannon Lowe

    Ross – Thanks for painting a clear picture for all concerned as to why the fundamentals of SEO will never change. As a matter of fact, I think the relevancy produced during concentrated SEO efforts makes websites better for visitors overall, as well as search engines. Keep up the good work. Thank you. Shannon

  14. Ross Dunn

    I hope you are right! I would like to think the necessity of SEO is obvious but then again I though Bush wouldn’t get re-elected either 😉

    As for my title. I totally agree it is a form of link-bait but hopefully one that is more final. I look forward to pointing any “SEO is Dead” BS articles to this one everytime… after all, I wrote this to stand the test of time 😀

  15. Ross Dunn

    Thank you kindly Shannon. It was a LOT of fun to write!

  16. Ketan Verma

    One more thing I observed, it also looks more like a keyword suggestion tool. We can also target the keywords that google suggest us while typing the

  17. Sebrina Karn

    Fears are nothing more than a state of mind

  18. K D Mains


    SEO is only dead if you are sleep walking and not trying to help provide the best most relevant SERPS that are most likely in the minds of those surfers doing the searching.

    Probably a bit late in the day to be piping in to this convo, my apologies for that but I wanted to add my two cents to this threads convo!

  19. James Malaysia

    Those people who said “SEO is dead” mainly are:

    1. Bias online marketing company who prefer PPC rather than SEO.

    2. SEO guys who don’t do the job well and could not cope with the changes of search engines’ algo.

    3. People who don’t understand SEO at ALL.

  20. @thekencook

    Found your article in the top of generic search results for “SEO is dead”. How’s that for an “in your face Gary Vaynerchuk”? The real problem is we have people who have so many who trust them, Gary Vee just one of them, who have absoluckingfutely no idea what they are blabbering about when it comes to search engine technology and indeed online, social media or mobile marketing.

    Then you have the people who claim to be tech savvy and are nominated by irrelevant industry as “highly influential” praised, lauded and followed by the most vulnerable of all: independent business people who need every penny and every minute to bring a return.

    Thanks for writing Ross.

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