That’s the conversation I got caught up in last week with a friend. As a bit of an SEO aficionado, I was intrigued to find out more about my friend’s point of view and why he believes SEO is ‘as dead as a doornail’ – exact words.
‘Why is SEO dead?’ I asked and to be fair to him, his argument was well thought out. Apparently, getting to the first page of Google is hard – who knew? And it’s dominated by large corporations with large content marketing teams who can churn out content after content allowing their companies to feature higher up the organic search rankings. ‘It’s monopolised!’ he argued.
In many ways he’s right, large companies who are able to do that benefit from the results with increased visibility in search. Combined with overambitious promises from marketing agencies my friend is indeed in a state of mourning for SEO.
Is SEO dead?
No, it isn’t. That’s the simple answer. SEO remains a key part of any marketing strategy. In fact, 53% of marketers say that blog creation is their top inbound marketing priority and 61% agree that improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing goal.
One of the reasons for this is that 47% users of a company view 3-5 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision or working with a company.
Perhaps one of the reasons that my friend wasn’t seeing results could be the frequency of his blogging. Companies that produce 16+ blogs per month experience 3.5x the number of traffic compared to sites that produce 0-4 blogs per month.
Of course, there are many other factors that could result in his site not appearing on the first page for the desired key terms. He will have to address any on-page, technical or site-wide SEO issues that he may have. A useful tool for doing this is www.seositecheckup.com It offers a quick audit of a site, marking it out of 100 and offering solutions on how to fix issues.
How to accelerate first page results
The old SEO joke is ‘the best place to hide a dead body is the second page of Google’. And whilst that’s physically impossible, it’s true. The first position on Google search results has a 34.3% clickthrough rate. That’s more than a third of traffic.
SEO takes time, especially for new sites. Google doesn’t normally put weight behind new sites until it knows it can be trusted. Therefore, to feature on the first page, you have to be more inventive – and spend a bit of money.
Pay per click (PPC) is one of the ways to do this. 64.6% of people click on a Google ad when they’re looking to buy an item online according to Wordstream. 27.7% is the average clickthrough rate on mobile devices alone for the result in the first position. What PPC offers is an opportunity to feature on the first page of Google for search terms you deem appropriate for your business. This often costs only a few pence per click and is a quick solution when your SEO may not necessarily be providing the desired results.
What does my friend do?
For any SEO campaign, it’s important to know what you want your site to rank for and indeed what your competitors are ranking for too. One of the ways to check the latter is to use www.semrush.com which provides an insight into the keywords that a site is ranking for as well as the domains providing backlinks.
Google’s keyword planner tool can also offer an insight into the competition for keywords and the search volumes – not much point spending time trying to rank for keywords when nobody is searching for them so it’s always worth a check. Once this data has been gathered, a content plan can be drawn up.
At the same time, an audit should be done to ensure on-page and sitewide issues are resolved. The aforementioned seositecheckup.com is a good place to start.
SEO is not dead. It’s still alive and kicking, perhaps my friend just needs a few tweaks, patience and quality content plan in place to make it work.
About the author
Michael Craven is a Marketing Manager at APEX. He provides marketing services to companies throughout the UK including web design, marketing strategy and planning, competitor analysis and digital marketing implementation.
He specialises in SEO, PPC and social media campaigns. Connect with him today on LinkedIn.