There is quite a bit of chatter on the internet that SEO is dead. You have to wonder what these people understand as being SEO. By what definition do they interpret the term SEO?
If we remove the ‘SE’ bit and look at the definition of the verb ‘optimise’, this can mean several things from; ‘to take the full advantage of’ to ‘find the best compromise among several often conflicting requirements, as in engineering design.’
As we would like ‘to take full advantage of’ a search engine by many various means, then by definition, SEO is very much alive.
For the second definition ‘find the best compromise among several often conflicting requirements, as in website design’ or in other words… ‘find the best word among several words to describe your product that will most frequently be typed into a search engine’.
So why not use all possible descriptive words? Cover all the bases? And for good measure mention them 2 or 3 times. In this case, you might say then that, that area of optimising for a search engine is dead. Just as a visitor will be put off by badly written, disjointed content, or the overuse of the same word or a similar sentence and lack of real content, so will the search engine.
To use a well-worn phrase, ‘content is king’. Content has always been king, long before a search engine was invented. But to the case in point, if you consider and write your content carefully to make sure it is worthy of your potential customer, you are optimising that content, and if it is optimised for a customer then surely that is optimised for a Search Engine?
“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated!” – Mark Twain (and SEO)
Similarly, if you type ‘SEO’ into a search engine, is it pure chance that most, if not all (at the time of writing), the first page contenders have ‘SEO’ in either their domain name and path or as their Title line? No of course not. How else is a search engine supposed to know what your web page is about?! So if we remember to ensure our web page is set up with the correct titles, is that search engine optimisation? Of course it is.
Question for you… after typing your search term and looking at the search results list, do you automatically click on the first entry at the top? Or, like me, do you look quickly at the title lines of the top 5 positions before selecting, and even then scroll down to even the 9th or 10th if still not seeing what you expected?
Creating a great Title line for each web page is very important, and they can be changed easily. So try different wordings and phrases to see if it affects your click-through rate (CTR). If the CTR is better with your new title then keep it, or make it even better, if not then change it back. This is optimisation and it’s for a Search Engine… Do you see where I’m going with this?
OK, these are simple steps and maybe quite obvious, but it is amazing how many websites out there have no page titles and poor (if any) content.
I take the point that SEO is evolving and that some tips and tricks for improving ranking are less effective, although even here I wouldn’t say they were completely dead, but as long as 2 businesses strive to be top dog on a search engine for the same product, and you can present a better more understandable way for the potential customer to find and click on you, then SEO will remain alive.
The key to all this is that you need to see your website analytics to see what your click-through rates are. To quote my personal favourite business-speak cliché, ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it!’, which is a perfect segue into the next SEO post be released – ‘Why even small websites need Google Analytics’
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