Is Search Engine Optimization Really Dead?

By: Daniel Imbellino
Updated: Feb 28, 2013

Anyone who believes that search engine optimization is dead, is truly lost. search engine optimization sign In fact, SEO is better than ever, just not for those who don’t understand it. With millions of sites across the globe getting hammered by Google’s Panda and Penguin updates throughout 2012, the myth that SEO was now only a historical figure was fast approached by the internet community, including webmasters and SEO specialists alike. This is however entirely untrue. The real issue is ignorance, and the fact that too many people focus on the monetary aspects of the internet, and not the content they are creating.

It’s true, millions of websites got hammered by Google’s updates, but not without cause. Also, for every single one website that got de-ranked or de-indexed by Google, many others excelled to the top of SERP’s (search engine result pages). One of my sites gained traction by over 1000% as a result of the updates. Why? I never cheated, nor did I ever attempt to game the system in anyway, and my site returned to user’s information pertaining to exactly what they were searching for. Many are claiming they were unfairly de-ranked by Google for no reason and they did nothing wrong. It’s too bad they are simply in denial, and either they themselves, or a firm they hired was directly responsible for their sites getting the “F” grade by Google and simply disappearing in search.

The Updates caused many so called “SEO” specialists to scramble and attempt to recover hundreds of thousands of websites that were put under their watchful eye by clients across the “world wide web.” They had reason to be nervous too! JCPENNY has recently filed a lawsuit against the SEO company they hired, “Searchdex”, who apparently creating millions of spammy links that spanned the globe, effectively causing JCPENNY’s organic search results to soar for a period of time. Fortunately with Google’s new updates, these issues are soon to be a thing of the past. Google implemented a plethora of updates that attacked websites for a whole slew of deceptive practices including but not limited to, creating unnatural (spammy) links, paid links, duplicate content (many times this content is flat out stolen from one domain and posted to another, AKA "Scraped Content"), low quality web pages and content, websites who engage in returning a million ads to users with very little or dry content, and others for simply not following industry standards (HTML and CSS), and the rest for not abiding by Google’s webmaster guidelines.

So why do people implement these strategies anyway? The answer is quite simple really, They don’t understand how search engines, the internet, or webpage’s work. The real issue is ignorance and stupidity, and not what many so called “SEO specialists” claim to be the real problems. SEO specialists implement these “snake oil” tactics because otherwise they could not rank at all with any sites they work with. SEO’s have failed completely to recognize the obvious, which is that HTML, and CSS make up a large component of the powerful forces that drive the internet as a whole. Every webpage requires HTML and CSS, or the use of an alternate markup language produced from XML. Without HTML and CSS there would be no internet at all, since every webpage on earth requires it.

SEO’s have undoubtedly failed to recognize the reason for their failures is that they don’t really understand what they are optimizing. Many of them think that SEO means to perform research on keywords all day, play with traffic statistics, and rave on and on about how search engine marketing is the way to go. The fact is, the search engines themselves are the best marketing tool you can find, and they’re completely free. The majority of internet traffic comes from the search engines themselves. People type billions of search queries a day into Bing and Google, searching online for valuable information to their problems. The fact is, search engines index webpage’s and the content held inside those pages, not statistics and keyword research algorithms. A website could spend millions in online marketing to attempt to excel their rankings, while another site could implement no paid marketing efforts at all and rank much higher. Simply doling out money for ads doesn’t give your site any value or help you to acquire rank.

You can do all the keyword research you want, knock yourself out! But, the fact is, it’s the search engines that will decide in the end which keywords your pages and content will score for, not you! Sure, you could research keywords within your Bing webmaster account, with Google’s Adwords and Analytics programs; however, if you are trying to score for keywords that are used the most, you will quickly find that you most likely score for none of them. This is because these keywords are already in tough competition, and you are unlikely to rank for them at all. When it comes to keywords, it’s best to spend your time thinking about what users will type into search engines when digging for info online, and not focusing on worthless keywords that no one would ever think of using. Instead try focusing on your overall content, since high quality content is more valued by both search engines and online users. Unique content, not simple keywords, is what's most likely to gain traction on the net!

All being said, SEO is long from dead. If you don’t know HTML and CSS then you have problems, cause like I stated, it’s these standards that drive the web. If your pages are “dynamic”, meaning they have tons of scripts such as javascript, PHP, redirects, unreadable URL’s, etc, then Google isn’t going to give your site any value, since your pages will take forever to load and your links, pages code, and your overall content will be difficult at best for search engines to index and make sense of. We have standards for a reason, and HTML and CSS are just that, standards! PHP, javascript, JSP, wordpress, joomla, etc, are not standards, they are proprietary technology that have their place merely as a supplement to the true make up of a webpage. If you don’t understand the standards and do not follow them, you will fail on the internet. Likewise, if you don’t understand how search engines work, or follow their guidelines, again, you will fail. In the end, it’s the SEO specialists that are dead, not SEO.

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