You can breathe a sigh of relief because contrary to what some webmasters are saying, search engine optimization (SEO) is not dead. It’s alive and well. However, SEO has changed over the years, forcing digital marketers to take a different approach when optimizing their websites for higher search rankings.
The belief that SEO is dead stems from Google’s newfound emphasis on quality websites. In 2011, the Mountain View company released its notorious Panda update to its search ranking algorithm. Affecting nearly 12 percent of all search queries, it was one of the largest and most wide-reaching updates thus far.
In wake of Panda, webmasters and bloggers everywhere took to the message boards to complain about their lost search rankings. Websites that were once sitting comfortably in the first position in Google’s search results had seemingly dropped from Google’s radar. Because webmasters had “optimized” these sites, it led many to believe that SEO was officially dead.
Panda didn’t kill SEO, however. Its purpose was to improve the quality of Google’s search results by lowering the rankings of websites with low-quality content. Even if a webmaster had optimized his or her site with unique page titles, meta descriptions and a strong portfolio of backlinks, Panda may still have lowered the site’s rankings unless it contained high-quality content.
Old SEO Tactics are Dead
SEO isn’t dead, nor will it die any time soon. As long as search engines use algorithms to index and rank websites, there will always be methods to optimize websites for higher search rankings.
The principle behind SEO is to understand what factors, or “signals,” search engines use to rank websites. Optimizing a website around these signals will help you achieve a top ranking for your desired keywords. With that said, however, old optimization techniques are certainly dead.
In the past, optimizing a website to rank high in the search results involved little more than building backlinks. If you wanted to rank for a specific keyword, you could mass-produce backlinks using that keyword as anchor text. Search engines would then view your site as being relevant to that keyword, resulting in higher rankings.
While backlinks remain an instrumental ranking signal used by major search engines, this archaic SEO tactic no longer works. Search engines now look at backlink diversity and overall quality. If you create hundreds of backlinks using the same anchor text, for instance, it triggers a red flag and may actually hurt your site’s search rankings. SEO today is all about building natural high-quality backlinks on relevant sites while using varied anchor text.
Amplify Your SEO Efforts with Paid Search
But SEO can only take you so far. With Google updating its search ranking algorithm hundreds of times per year, your site’s rankings will likely fluctuate. Therefore, you should supplement your SEO efforts with paid search campaigns.
A professionally managed AdWords campaign with PPC PRO, for instance, can help you cover more digital real estate on Google. Even if your site’s organic search rankings drop, you can still achieve top visibility for the respective keyword with Google AdWords.
AdWords allows webmasters to advertise their websites on Google search as well as millions of third-party partner sites. Using a cost-per-click (CPC) model, you pay for every ad click. So, while AdWords costs money, you are guaranteed a top listing by bidding high for your keywords.