Is SEO Still Necessary in 2015?
If you just read the headlines, you might think that most marketers are telling you that SEO is dead.
- “Is SEO Dead” by Forbes Magazine
- “SEO Marketing Is Dead, Is Dead! Long Live SSOM” MOZ Blog Post
- “If Content Is King, Is SEO Dead?”
But, many of the articles with these sensational headlines are really just telling you that SEO has changed, evolved, expanded—whatever term you prefer—to be so radically new that the industry insiders feel they need a new name for it. I sympathise with where they are coming from. SEO today is almost unrecognizable when compared to SEO just a few years ago.
However, a subset of these claims seem to be focused on the idea that marketers no longer need to worry about “SEO,” but should instead invest all of their effort in creating content that people care about. They usually recommend you just focus on blog posts that will get shared on social media or regularly post videos to a YouTube channel that will produce a passionate following. “Have something great that people want, and they will find you,” is usually the bow that they tie around their package of recommendations.
Sometimes Experts Are (slightly) Wrong
Not to dismiss the competitive advantage of having killer content, but I have a very important argument against this advice as they present it. In fact, I would argue that this attitude will actually stunt your progress.
I am going to agree with half of this popular argument: you do, indeed, need unique and compelling content that your target market actually cares about to be successful online. But, that does not excuse you from optimizing this content so that the right people can find it.
Instead of buying into their directive of, “Don’t worry about SEO, just focus on creating killer content that your customers want,” I recommend a slightly different, but critically important spin: “Focus on creating killer content, THEN worry about SEO.”
If your goal were to improve your body composition or drop some excess fat, most of us would agree that going to the gym is better than not going. And, regularly building up a sweat would be a useful habit to aid our efforts. I’m confident that just about anyone we ask would list improving your diet as a key factor in accomplishing this goal.
If we did all of these things in tandem we would no doubt find some success and shed a few pounds. But, if you have the right coach, who knows all of the optimal frequencies, durations and combinations of these activities, then we might achieve our goal in a fraction of the time, or accomplish a goal much larger than we thought possible. Who wouldn’t want that kind of edge?!
So yes, just as these experts say, regularly publishing new content to your blog is key to building search traffic. And, yes, posting new videos on YouTube is a phenomenally effective SEO tactic. But, how can you be sure that you are getting the most output and impact from all of this effort?
That’s exactly why I wrote The Bootstrapper’s Guide to SEO.
The strategic approach is to stack the deck so that you have the best chance of winning whenever you play. If you’re only focused on creating content, you’re playing the game like a rookie.