Is SEO Dying?
I wish the choice was easier.
In fact, for many years, the choice did not exist – SEO was the easiest and most robust way for small business owners to attract new customers online.
However, the landscape has changed quickly.
What was once the backbone of digital marketing for online businesses is quickly losing ground (and marketing dollars) to PPC, Social Media and other digital marketing channels such as YouTube and Podcasts.
But why is that exactly?
In this article, we examine the hard truth about the current SEO landscape so that you can make informed choices about your marketing budget and decide if SEO is the right strategy for you.
1. Google is getting better at its job
Googles goal is to be the world’s best search engine.
But, ironically, the better that Google gets at its job the worse is for people trying to rank using SEO as a strategy.
Because Google is no longer in the business of delivering up lots of answers.
Instead, it’s in the business of delivering a single answer—WITHOUT the need to click.
So, even if you manage to rank on top of Google, the Search Engine is getting better and better at providing you with the result on TOP of the page without you ever having to click and enter a site.
To illustrate, if you type in “What is Warren Buffett’s Net Worth?”
The answer appears as a rich text snippet on TOP of Google and a user does not even have to click to go to the website.
The same is happening across millions of searches reducing the traffic to many websites.
2. SEO is NOT free traffic. It’s actually REALLY expensive
At first, many people tend to perceive SEO as ‘free traffic’ without taking into consideration the time, money, expertise or opportunity loss to rank (that’s if you manage to rank at all).
The new SEO game is much more difficult and frankly, a lot of work where you have to do a better job than your competitors.
A study published by leading SEO software providers Ahrefs concluded that it takes an average time of 2-3 years for an article to rank.
Now, as a business owner you have to evaluate – are you willing to wait that long?
Further, as the internet gets more crowded, everyone is competing for the same search traffic.
For most business owners, nine times out of ten, it would make more sense to hire out and have a partner working vigorously on your behalf – but a question you have to ask yourself is if investing those dollars in SEO worth the ROI based on the type of business you have in the long run.
3. It’s tough to find the right expertise in the Industry
Many people claim to be SEO experts.
But, the truth is that very few people really are.
To be good at SEO, one must have deep technical knowledge along with a voracious appetite to stay on top of a fast-changing industry.
The reality is that it’s tough to find people with a combination of these qualities.
These are questions that many business owners have to face and make no mistake – picking the right company is a tough decision even for people who know a lot about the field.
On top of finding the right person for the job, a business owner has to go beneath the surface and pick an SEO expert who delivers results in as white hat a way as possible in order to not be penalized the next time Google comes up with a major algorithm update.
If you want to know the difference between white hat and black hat SEO, check out an article from Crazy Egg here.
4. Voice Search is disrupting the Industry
Voice search is not a fad. It has comfortably crossed the threshold of early adopters.
It has gained mileage because it is more convenient for a user to speak with an assistant than to type. The results of voice queries are also faster.
Here are a few statistics to prove that voice search is here to stay:
- Voice labs found that there were a total of 33 million voice-first devices in circulation.
- In a survey of SEO trends for 2017 and beyond, voice search stood at the third spot.
- In his keynote, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that one-fifth of the queries on Google are voice searches.
Now, it’s no secret that technology disrupts industries.
It happened when the internet disrupted print media, the cloud disrupted the USB market and smartphones replaced blackberries.
And if early data is to be believed – Voice Search may soon change everything again.
For starters, if you can access information using your voice rather than typing it in or clicking on a link, or browse the internet with just your voice – the convenience is unbeatable.
Apart from convenience, other factors which are propelling user behaviour to change from text search to voice search are the ability to use natural language, superior user experience and support for continuous tasking.
So, watch out for the rapidly growing field in which tech giants such as Amazon (Amazon Alexa), Google (Google Assistant), Apple (Apple Siri) and Samsung (Samsung Bixby) are investing heavily.
Search is very much alive.
People will always be searching for answers
But, as more and more companies with big budgets pursue search engine optimization strategies, it has become harder than ever to grab the attention of limited search results’ top spots.
This trend has made SEO a less practical option for many small business owners.
Luckily, digital marketing is much bigger than SEO in particular and if a business consistently focuses on providing value to their customers and thinking strategically about how they can build a lasting brand, they will always find room for growth in the marketplace.
I'm a Web Designer & Digital Marketing Specialist. I enjoy writing posts about Digital Marketing because it allows me to go 'in-depth' and understand marketing from the inside out.
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