The Importance and Impact of SEO
(author: Frank Loopmans, 2014)
IS SEO DEAD? WHY IS SEO IMPORTANT?
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is nothing but making your website look sexy to search engines so that your site ranks high on the SERP (Search Engine Results Pages).
Bots or crawlers index a site and store this info into a database. A search query – “where do I find handmade wooden toys in Dublin?” trawls through its stored info to provide the best answer. To serve the searcher with the best possible answer results are based on relevancy and importance. Relevancy is not just finding web pages, PDFs or pictures with the right words or description. It is a more complex enterprise than that. Importance is greatly equivalent with popularity. Recent updates – Hummingbird – mean that Google’s SEO ranking embraces a set number of factors that determine which site or page will appear on top. Their carefully crafted algorithms comprise hundreds of components (more than 200 as of today!) called ‘ranking factors’. How those ranking factors determine one’s website or landing page’s ranking on SERP (visibility) is what SEO is all about. A lot of SEO marketers, consultants or companies seemingly disagree about what SEO actually is.
My definition is simple. SEO is a strategy to enhance the distribution or selling of products or services on-line to a specific target audience, using an array of tactics such as: paid search, banner ads, quality content, engaging information, keyword usage and increasingly employing the tools of social media to create equity and community credo.
SEO: TO DO LIST
- Building brand awareness in ‘Search Engine Universe as of 2014’ is crucial. However, spending lavishly on well-crafted logos, graphics, keywords or linking structures alone is not enough. Brand awareness now is nothing but ‘creating a community of engagement with your customers’.
- Putting in place a strong social media strategy is highly beneficial to get engagement.
- Popularity and relevance are dependent on the search term/query a user puts in. Hence, keywords – especially the long tail keyword – is still determinant. Hummingbird’s update ensures that UX is primordial, thus relevancy of content and compatibility of keywords with a search term becomes even more important.
- Keywords remain high on the do-list except the focus is now on concepts or themes its purpose to augment the UX.
- Quality content, authority and trust are important. An expert in its field creates trust and becomes an authority. Authoritative quality publications benefit a company. Rather than encouraging your staff to post content, let one person become the authoritative voice or ‘influencer’ who will create a community of followers. Encourage loyalty. Don’t forget to use author tags.
- Educative, factual, and resourceful expert information is a proper and organic way of creating inbound links. This ranking factor still features highly on the SEO do-list. (see footnote).
- Well-written content (use of correct grammar and spelling) as well as articles that provide ‘deep content’ (not just fluffy little chunks of compressed verbiage). Deep content = 1200/1500 words.
- Visual information: video, graphics, animation, pictures or infographics are given a good ranking coefficient if proven to be relevant and factual.
WHY DO SOME DECLARE THAT SEO IS DEAD?
The simple answer is that no one really knows but those who declare this to be. With the past updates starting from Panda to Penguin and late last year Hummingbird, Google incrementally punished bad content, long infographics, poor internal structure and amongst others irrelevant links, including all the magic tricks SEO Black Hatters were performing.
It is perhaps a case that those guilty of Black Hat tricks are the ones who do the rooftop shouting. Perhaps Google wants ‘us’ to engage a bit more with some form of paid search.
They definitely want to increase the UX and this implicates a change of strategy and tactics for the SEO technicians. Finished are the days that a company merely won the keyword bidding war and rank high, even with poor irrelevant content!!! The various social media channels out there are not helping those poor site owners, on the contrary they will tell their friends to stay away from your site. In the future, we can be sure of this: links praising a site and coming from one of the social media channels will even become a more important ranking factor. The signs are there already. Google has given Google + more kudos, links to YouTube score well as FB or LinkedIn or Twitter does.
Creative marketers or the lack of it is perhaps another contributing factor to pertain that SEO is dead. In sum, the statement that SEO is part art part science is true. SEO is not dead it just has changed with a focus on satisfying its customers – the searcher for an answer. Be relevant, be informative, be creative, be resourceful, be engaging and you become popular on Google’s search engine. Creative people and good content writers are needed and if they have a good analytical understanding well…
 Ken Krogue, (2012) ‘My Final Comment on my “Death of SEO” comments on Forbes’. http://www.kenkrogue.com/seo/my-final-comment-on-my-death-of-seo-column-on-forbes/
 There are more tactics of course. Video, graphics, infographics, link building, affiliate partnering, etc.
 The mentioned list is by no means exhaustive and is just an indication of crucial updates to take into account.
 see blog on infographics