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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