SEO is Dead!

I would like to share with you my insight on a paper that I read about a week ago. As an Internet Marketer, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of the gospels I preach most to my clients. Ranking high on Search Engines has for many years been the “be-all and end-all to anything on the web”. So much that many service providers and their clients alike believe that “without it, you are nothing and with it, you are everything on the web.”

So when I went through an paper that started off with this statement, “Today we’re going to look at …how you can create a truly great website which performs well in search engines, without any seedy SEO tactics.”, my SEO antlers were already erect.

You have heard them all; From White Hat tactics like Meta Keywords, Meta Descriptions, Page Titles, URL Optimization, Link baiting, Sitemap Optimization, Keyword based Content, to Black hat tactics (Disclaimer: Use them at the risk of being black listed by Search Engines) like Link Building Networks and Duplicate Content.

Consider this statement, “Search engines are designed to rank the best and most relevant sites highly. Again: The best, and most relevant sites. Not the “most optimized sites”.” If you have been visiting my blog, you should have already read Search Engines Going Personal.

My first point of objection was of course this, “Mr. Speaker Sir, kindly allow me to correct my worthy Paper and state that SEO is not Dead, but rather, SEO is no longer the beginning and the end of a good online presence.”

At this point, the Paper went on the defense, “Mr. Alex, If you want to have a site which performs well in search engines, then you need to stop worrying about search engines and start worrying about creating a really great website. Code your site properly, make it accessible, make it usable, make sure it has fantastic content, make sure you have great marketing that has other people talking about it. All of these things contribute to the factors which search engines use to rank your site.”

I couldn’t agree more. Finally we were on the same page.

But the Paper wasn’t done with the bashing, “In a nutshell, you can try and win a race with a 1992 Honda Civic that you’ve tuned up and fuel injected and loaded full of Nitrous Oxide… or you can spend the same amount of money on buying a Mercedes.” Bam!! I could here the Feet stamping.

“If you spend time doing the right things when building a site and focusing on your users as you grow that site, then search engine rankings will follow. I guarantee it – something which no SEO company can ever do.”

I sought to know if Search Engines agreed with this last sentence.

Google says, “The web isn’t merely words—it’s information about things in the real world, and understanding the relationships between real-world entities can help us deliver relevant information more quickly.”

Yahoo says,”Today we are used to consuming more information in real time, and we welcome tools that help make life online more efficient and personally relevant. Providing those technologies and tools was our goal in 2005. It remains our goal today.”

Bing says,”As the internet continues to evolve, we find there are more new “signals” coming in to search that enable us to provide customers with more relevant, real time and connected results.”

It’s clearer than ever that as the world of search continues to evolve, with new tools and innovations coming in by the hour, Great websites will always rank highly because that’s what search engines are now being designed to do.

“People often use the metaphor of positioning yourself on a high-street in the center of a city when comparing SEO to a retail premises location. The most important thing to remember is that it really doesn’t matter if your store is on a gorgeous marble shopping street nestled in between Gucci and Prada… If it’s a shack with rusty metal racks and a rude shop assistant, nobody is going to go in, and if they do go in then they’ll leave again immediately.”

So there you go, you can do all the Search Engine Optimization you want on your website, but if your Website Sucks (no apologies for that word), forget ranking high on Search Engines, no matter what your ‘SEO guy’ says.

Before I forget, also check out my Web 2.0 list for a few examples of what Search Engines now consider to be a quality website.

10 Responses to “SEO is Dead!”

  1. 1 Martin Gicheru October 8, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Nice article, straight to the point. The interactivity the user gets on the site plays a big role in good site results, if a user is able to comprehend what you are saying and is prompted to go to the sales page, you dont need any other teacher, you are in it for money.

    • 2 Intervangelist EA October 9, 2010 at 6:42 am

      Thanks Martin. I think it’s imperative for online marketers to change their perspective on SEO and focus more on value addition for the websites they market. Good stuff at man!

  2. 3 ujo October 13, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Makes sense, but I think eventually both SEO and a great website are important, if you are to stay ahead of the competition

    • 4 Intervangelist EA October 14, 2010 at 3:06 pm

      Ujo, we need to define what a great website is. I’ll bet you half my fortune that does not spend time fixing keywords across the website. Nope. They simply provide relevant and useful information to their users on a very user friendly platform, which makes it a great website. Results? Anything you search for will have a Wikipedia entry connected to it. I tell you my friend, SEO as a tactic to rank high in SERPs is Dead!

  3. 5 Alex Maina October 20, 2010 at 4:51 am

    For the first time I will disagree with you.

    I call these type of posts, linkbait. It’s actually SEO. I’m sorry but SEO is not about meta tags and titles. Just having a good website is not enough.

    It is very easy to rank any website ahead of wikipedia on a topic with basic seo. It is easy to rank any ugly website just by simple tweeks on meta.

    i digress.

    Search for “seo is dead” articles and you will find them as far back as 2000. Matt Cutts has a habit of holding seminars every 6 months with the same claim. you should attend one. The results are always the same.

    A beautiful site without seo, is as good as setting up a 5 star hotel right in the middle of Githurai. I would have to have a discussion on this over tea.

    I personally believe that the Kenyan market has no clue on what SEO really means and this post really scared me.

    • 6 Intervangelist EA October 20, 2010 at 6:15 am

      Hello Maina,
      This is turning into a very healthy discussion and I appreciate the differing opinions. You and I need to do a simple experiment on building a great website. We also need to agree on the definition of a great website. I guess over that tea.

      For now I will respond to the 5 star analogy. Build a great 5 star hotel in the middle of Githurai and chances are very high you won’t even have to market it. Everyone will be curious, why Githurai? Newspapers and bloggers will write about it. People will visit just to see why such a great hotel is in Githurai of all places (no pun intended). And if your Hotel is truly a great place to be, patrons will come in drones…and for all you know, Githurai might start getting itself cleaned up to fit the new profile 🙂

      I look forward to that tea.

  4. 7 mmnjug October 20, 2010 at 9:45 am

    I think one of the best sites I have ever visited in Very simple site and no much colours that singe the eyes. Thats my opinion. In Kenya, we have sites like ke and a blog called Like Chapaa….. simplicity is their epitome, and also and

    In other words, simplicity and informative. All else will flow.

    • 8 Intervangelist EA October 20, 2010 at 7:40 pm

      I would like to believe that you agree with my blog article’s case. The current trends in internet usage, search and social media have rendered SEO almost redundant. It’s time for internet marketers and businesses to change their mindsets.

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  1. 1 Monday Moments Ep 3 – We are Robots! « Intervangelist East Africa Trackback on October 11, 2010 at 5:32 pm

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