SEO is Dead (Long Live SEO)

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. I get that question less and less, and am surprised now when I hear ‘what does that stand for?’ So, there you go.

I get this every so often. A content manager, digital director, production manager du jour – once they find out that I specialize in SEO they inevitably end up saying some version of: ‘I read that SEO no longer works anymore…’

Dead stare, thoughts rolling through my head on: where to start exactly? Should I start on how I just increased traffic by 900% in 4 months at my current consultancy? How I quadrupled traffic at a site that thought they had reached their peak at 3 million UV’s?

That SEO should just be called Digital Optimization – or something. That it now includes content curating, site architecture, technical SEO and SEO usability. That SEO makes Social Media it’s bitch.

That after doing good work at one consulting job and doing salary negotiations I spat out a what-to-me sounded like a ridiculous hourly, they responded: ‘What else do you want?’ Hmmm…daily desk massage? Endangered animal under glass? Etcetera ad infinitum, ad absurdem.

I’ve since branched out to Appstore Optimization (ASO), Local SEO, Reputation management, PPC and Adsense Optimization, but SEO has always been, and will almost certainly be, an long arrow in my quiver – at least as long as Google exists.

Let me give it to you: SEO still exists, it’s still relevant. It’s especially relevant to the company whose traffic dropped over 90% (and which I recovered in the aforementioned 4 months). It’s still relevant to companies that still want to dominate a segment that throws off 10′s of millions of visitors.

‘But we don’t want just ANY visitor, we want relevant visitors…’ they say, when they are just getting traffic in the hundreds per month.

Well, it’s not like I can optimize their site for just anything.

Let me reassure you: you can only rank for “blue widget” when your site is actually about ”blue widget”. And ‘too many visitors’ is what I call a high value problem. Most businesses call me in once they realize that they’ve exhausted all that they know, and what they have been able to Google with their mad Googling skillz. After they’ve applied title tags, keyword density and xml sitemaps…

I’ve talked to a Marketing Director talking about how they’ve applied schema, as if that were a silver bullet to ALL their website issues. As in: ‘Hey, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we’re applying schema throughout our entire site. It’s going to be huge!’

I just nod my head, and say, ‘sounds like you have everything well in hand,’ as I thought: ‘That’s it? What else you got?’

I know, sounds arrogant. It probably is. But it’s arrogance bred from expertise. From trying to convince the corporate officer du jour on why SEO is important, trying to figure out the best way to communicate to the spot where their knowledge ends and mine starts.

I have a particular set of SEO skillz

I have a particular set of SEO skillz

All I have to say really is: SEO is irrelevant until it becomes relevant. When the pain of philosophical questions such as: ‘If a website gets created and no one shows up, does it still exist?’ haunt their waking lives.

Word gets around. The best in many industries do not toot their own horn. But people find them. The person who needs the guy may not know the guy, but through social media they can meet the guy that knows the guy. And for SEO, that guy is sometimes me.

SEO is dead. Long live SEO.