Recent major developments on the SEO scene have, once more, prompted an onslaught of posts, analyses, and comments regarding the so-called ‘death of SEO’. Now, as with any cultural trend, which comes to affect both a specific industry, as well as general human communication, it makes sense that some reactionary sentiment should be peddled back and forth. However, even though 2013 looks like the year SEO has been proclaimed dead trillions of times (only to be subsequently resuscitated immediately afterward by a new tool or strategy), the truth is SEO isn’t going anywhere. Not for the foreseeable future, at least. Here are three major – and largely self-evident – reasons for which search engine optimization is here to stay.
- The Internet is expanding
… yes, much like the universe. The reality is that there were 26 million URLs indexed by Google in 1998, one billion in 2000, and no fewer than a trillion in 2008. Five years have passed since crossing that last psychological threshold and it seems that was also the cut-off point, when Google decided it would stop counting. Yet variations in URLs, as well as the natural emergence of more and more websites indicate that the Internet is still growing exponentially. Since it best illustrates the concept of the repository of human knowledge, it goes without saying that all this information needs to be filtered out somehow, in order to actually reach users. This is why search algorithms will continue to dictate trends, influence brand evolution, and, on a more philosophical level if you will, change the way we access and process knowledge.
- Find and be found
This, of course, brings up the second point: for as long as systems for organizing information have existed, so have those who are looking to find something and those who need to be found. Or, in SEO terms, the users and the brands – be they media outlets, commercial brands, celebrities, opinion leaders, etc.. What’s more, the two instances of search algorithm user profile are not mutually exclusive. In certain respects, we all want to access information we need as much as we want to be linked with specific information, be it for preference, branding, or pragmatic purposes such as finding employment.
Library indexation systems and ingenious naming strategies in commercial listing directories have set the stage for today’s search algorithms. The key difference is that the Google algorithm is far more complex than any other system for organizing data. And, given its complexities, there is an obvious need for professionals who are able to optimize it, both for the searchers, as well as for those who want to be found. Think actual white-hat SEO here: an average user is unlikely to take the time to understand the depth of the rules that govern the algorithm. This is a job for optimization experts, who can also mediate amendments to the search system, so that it stays transparent and beneficial for the end-user.
- SEO is not just strategy
When someone decries the death of search engine optimization, it usually has something to do with the latest announcement for Google. And, yes, the search engine giant isn’t exactly the most transparent company in the world, which explains the anxiety-ridden sentiments its communication generates. When you throw together the freedom of access to information and less than perfect communication methods, you are bound to get some backlash. This has been particularly influenced by recent cases of penalization, such as Interflora, or back link networks. The definition of black hat is constantly being updated and that’s only normal to a certain extent, especially in an industry that has been built on the cornerstone of information. Information is volatile, multifaceted, and its relevance is constantly subject to change.
That being said, SEO is here to stay – in one shape or form or another. First it was all about link building, nowadays the focus has shifted away, toward content, citation, and co-referencing. But, after all is said and done, as long as the Internet survives, people are going to want to use it for reference. And the best way to put yourself out there is to create content that others want to find, because the assumption is that Google strives to make it easier for users to find you.