Forbes.com has declared The Death of SEO.
Could it be true?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the practice of designing websites and web content around search engines’ – mostly Google’s – algorithms, with the goal of improving search ranking for relevant keywords.
According to Forbes.com, Google has changed its search algorithm to value “social media likes, shares, tweets, reddits, and 1+” more than backlinks, which are a core component of traditional SEO.
Backlinks hold value – or used to – in search results because they indicate that other websites are referencing your content in relevant context. They’re the reason we get comment spam (a disreputable SEO agent comments on a well read article and includes a link back to the website they’re trying to optimize) and content farms (sites that contain keyword-stuffed articles with links to a different website).
Less spammy ways of getting links include guest blogging and asking reputable sites to link to you when relevant. In a sense, it’s the same as promoting your content on social media, only you don’t get the power of the crowd to re-share it and make it viral.
So what’s a small business owner to do? Should we focus on social media and forget optimizing our websites? Or is it time to redouble our SEO efforts to avoid the inevitable popularity contest on Facebook and the rest?
The answer, of course, is to do a little of everything. Google is constantly working to prevent search engine optimizers’ tricks from throwing off their results, and this is good news for your business. Content farms and comment spam may soon become a thing of the past, making way for more quality content and real online discussions and giving small business owners more opportunity to stand out.
SEO revolves around keywords, and as links fade in importance, keywords will still be, well, key. They’re the way that search engine users translate their questions to find the answers they’re looking for.
In addition to keeping your social media accounts updated, check your analytics as part of your weekly routine. Know how people search for your site, because the keywords you’re optimizing for may not be the ones people are using to find businesses like yours. Once you’ve determined which keywords produce the most traffic, work to generate sales from those customers, instead of trying to attract more searchers with broader words.
Whether they get there through social media or Google, once customers find your site, it’s your site’s job to keep them there and generate a solid lead. For this, you’ll need quality content that serves double duty as a source of keywords. And that will never die.