While search engine optimization has been around for many years, its dominance in digital marketing is hardly waning. However, if you work in the digital sector or spend a lot of time online, you may have heard some false claims that SEO marketing is a strategy of the past, or that the very techniques that made SEO so popular are on their way out.
Of course, the topic of SEO becomes increasingly complex as search engines change and user expectations evolve. However, in the heyday of Internet marketing, search engine optimization is more vital than ever before.
The changing face of SEO Marketing
It’s important to note that SEO marketing, by nature, is not black and white. In fact, optimizing web pages is far more complex than ever these days. Thanks to changing algorithms, high-quality content and SEO must exist together for websites to stand a chance of rising up the ranks.
SEO is changing. Google has become smart to so-called “black hat” SEO efforts, and many of these underhand tactics can now get companies penalized or removed from Google’s indexes permanently. In contrast, proper SEO (also known as “white hat” SEO) will be an integral part of any successful marketing campaign for as long as people continue to use search engines.
While the nature of SEO is constantly adapting to meet user expectations, search engines remain the foundation of the Internet. Research indicates that searching and emailing are the top two tasks performed online. So, as long as people are looking for information on search engines on a daily basis, SEO will exist in some form or another, and here’s why.
Search engines are vital to the user experience.
Search engines were specifically designed with the user in mind. As such, they present a convenient way for searchers to find what they’re looking for without trawling through pages and pages of irrelevant information, leading them to find and absorb high-quality content. What is also known as “customer experience” for offline businesses and bricks and mortar companies, the user experience is of the utmost importance when it comes to selling a product, service, or piece of content.
A great user experience is one that provides searchers with the information they want in a short amount of time, and this is vital for companies wanting to rank well in search engines.
Search engines are the biggest drivers of website traffic
Despite what you may hear on the rumor mill, one of the main reasons SEO has stuck around is because it’s the single biggest driver of traffic to websites. Your company probably promotes itself in multiple ways through social media, email marketing, and other traditional forms of advertising, all of which are credible marketing tactics. However, search results on Google and other search sites bring in 300 percent more traffic than social media, so SEO is definitely worth the investment of your time and money.
SEO is an affordable and effective marketing method
Internet marketing has done wonders for startups and small brands. Those who couldn’t afford a full marketing team can now outsource web design and maintenance, content creation, and social media management for a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing methods. However, despite how influential online content can be, search engine optimization is what brings that content to people’s attention.
According to Search Engine Journal, inbound leads (including those that come from search engine optimization) typically cost 61 percent less than outbound leads, which is why most companies use SEO as a marketing tactic. As long as it is cheaper for a company to bring business in through search rankings than outbound marketing tactics, SEO will continue to thrive.
Of course, SEO strategies do require resources and time, but they can be very affordable if you find the right agency or freelancer. Find someone who will measure your success in actual ROI, with plenty of successful case studies and client endorsements.
SEO keywords aren’t going anywhere
Another rumor doing the rounds is that SEO keywords are being made redundant. However, keywords (or “search terms” as they’re often called) aren’t going anywhere, but the way that Google processes them continues to change. Following “white hat” SEO practices is more important than ever when Google is ranking you, and keyword stuffing is no longer deemed acceptable or effective. However, well-researched keywords (along with organically earning backlinks, click-throughs, and social media shares) are still influential in the way Google evaluates and ranks your site.
What about changing algorithms?
Companies like Google and Bing know that the majority of people use search engines when they have a query, and those same sites must have ways to rank websites and pages and a way to display those search results. As long as people continue to use search engines, SEO experts will always look for ways to make their websites come out on top because it puts them in direct view of the user.
Ranking algorithms become more complicated all the time, but as long as search engines exist, website owners will always try to make those changes work in their favor. SEO is a mutually beneficial situation for all parties: search engines can improve their user experiences, businesses can target the right customers, and searchers can find pages that best address their queries.
As you adjust to Google’s algorithm updates and the inevitable rise of mobile search, remember that creating high-quality, valuable content that follows white hat SEO practices is the way to go. Not obeying search engine guidelines by keyword stuffing, content duplication, or using private blog networks to get backlinks could get you penalized and even removed from Google’s search pages.
SEO isn’t going anywhere, so now’s the time to harness it
When correctly implemented, search engine optimization will increase your visibility, strengthen your brand image, and, most importantly, boost sales for your business. Plus, with many affordable plans available, SEO doesn’t have to cost the earth. SEO isn’t going anywhere, so if you’re not already optimizing your content for search engines, now’s the time to start.
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