SEO is dead – if you give up

Over the past 2 years I’ve read countless articles and posts about how SEO is dead. Let me tell you, it’s very much alive and kicking. If you want to think that it’s dead, go right ahead and move on to do something else. Because that’s a defeatist attitude and you’re obviously on the verge of giving up.

I’ve been with my current employer for about 18 months now and since then I’ve done a lot of work to improve things in various areas. On one of our sites I’ve grown traffic approx 6 times. I’m not talking from 10 to 60 visitors a month, I’m talking in the scale of millions of visitors a month.

This is with whitehat, search engine friendly, long term, futureproof SEO techniques.

I can’t spell out everything I did, but I can tell you that what I did was pay attention to the direction of where the search engines strive to be. I went to conferences and heard first hand about the goals of the search engines and tried to look at the site through their eyes.

I worked closely with my development team, as well as managers and content people to ensure that they understood the big picture. Through educating my team members and showing results, I gained their trust and respect and because of that, the SEO function has now become an integral and top of mind consideration for almost everything we want to publish.

Next I worked with the development team to obtain some key reporting tools and custom reports from Omniture which let me analyze certain trends and statistics. By paying close attention to detail, I often uncovered problems which were most oftentimes quick and easy fixes. More importantly I also was able to discover areas of opportunity and put plans in place to exploit them.

Traffic is no where near peak, we still have a long way to go and are forging ahead with some great new site features and plans for content. The budget for 2009 is showing that organic search engine traffic is set to continue to grow to new record levels.

The other thing that’s surprising about this issue is that most often the issue of knowledge and analytical skills that most SEOs possess are completely overlooked. How many times on various forums do you see site owners panicking about lost rankings/traffic/pagerank, etc. When something goes wrong with a site, who do they turn to? SEOs, yeah, we’re also detectives.

But we’re also consultants. The other type of questions that are commonly overlooked are the ones about site redesigns. The site owner is on to a good thing but needs to freshen up their site. SEO consultants (external or internal) are the people who can guide a site redesign to ensure minimal loss in rankings/traffic. I just completed this process for one for one of our big sites. We radically redesigned our main product page, adding a lot of extra functionality and changing the page layout. It was a process which was quite involved and required 3 or 4 iterations before I gave it the green light for launch, but had I not worked on that project, site traffic would have tanked almost immediately, then the typical mad panic would have set in and then all kinds of rash decisions would have been made.

So when I sit back and think about the people that are blogging and writing about how “SEO is dead”, I can’t help but wonder if these people are actually doing any serious SEO, working hard at it and paying attention to detail.

As one of my college professors once told me: “Work hard, play hard”

17 thoughts on “SEO is dead – if you give up

  1. I love it when people say that SEO is dead, it makes my job far easier. With a bit of luck people will beleive it and give up.

    I did a talk to a bunch of distributers yesterday, all had websites, all were many pages down the results for their keywords, many had ‘given up’ because ‘it didn’t work’.

    Nope, it doesn’t work. Neither does advertising, branding, marketing or any of those other things that attrack billions of investment. Amazon, Microsoft, Google – yeah, they’ve all got it wrong, ‘course they have.

  2. Great post Reuben. Good seo is a never ending process of planning, developing, and exploiting available traffic to reach your target market. Any business or organization that is not actively investing in SEO is making a mistake.

  3. Being with an SEO and web development company, I have to agree that Reuben, makes some very strong and valid points for increasing Search Engine traffic

  4. Good article Reuben, SEO is never be gone as ending process, yes it needs time, money and patience. Business organization and the marketing people should understand the value of money, Do quality & get quantity.

  5. As long as internet is alive and attractive, SEO will never die. People can say whatever they want about SEO, but everyone who use search engine should be grateful for SEOs excistens. If we see Googles changes after the Big Daddy Update, Googles filter has started to read sites as a person, not as a robot. I think this is just the beginning for how important SEO will be in the future. And for the critics; just keep up the production of fancy design, and forget about the visibleness and the customers needs.

  6. I don’t want SEO dead too. It has been a real challenge understanding SEO, Google Algorithm, and how to get to top search engine ranking using it. I can’t think what would happen if there is no SEO.

  7. SEO will never die cause Google will always need to filter the worthless sites of their index,nice quality sites is the best at the moment, with still the old stuff as keyworddensity…

  8. I think SEO will never die just like Google will never die, if ever that happens, it will be take a long time to make that happen. Internet is the best way to market yourself or your products and that will keep people looking for SEO.

  9. Thank you for writing this article.I’m an noob SEO student.Some people are saying that it’s not the best way to promote or sell something online because doing all the SEO work will take a lot of time.It’s already been two weeks.let’s see the results next month

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