Why The World Needs SEO

I received an email this week from an internet marketing ‘guru’. The headline?

‘SEO is dead’

SEO is NOT dead

There are two points to make about this statement:

The first is, it’s a lazy and tired headline – people have been saying ‘SEO is dead’ since even before the industry really found its feet. In fact, throughout the entire time I have been in the industry people have been saying ‘SEO is dead.’

The second is, the facts don’t bear that out. Brands are increasing their spend on SEO. It’s become one of the most important marketing strategies for businesses up and down the country. More and more consumers are using the search engines to find products and services, and the vast majority use the organic search results rather than paid adverts. The need for good SEO practices to ensure people find good, relevant websites when they search has never been more important.

A more accurate headline would have been ‘SEO has got harder’. Google’s recent algorithm changes have meant that many previously successful SEO techniques no longer work. Specifically, certain types of link building practices no longer work. But this hasn’t killed SEO, just meant that some of the shortcuts have gone – and hopefully, some of the cowboys.

Another possible headline could have been ‘Bad SEO is dead’. Or ‘SEO spam is dead’. SEO is a much-misunderstood topic. Many people think it’s like a kind of black magic or voodoo. And while it is true that it is not an exact science, it IS a science. It is the process of understanding a complex computer program (Google) and knowing how to ensure that websites comply with this computer program to help searchers find great results.

There ARE people who have had bad experiences with SEO companies, but SEO is a young industry and that’s to be expected. These cases are in a small minority, and as the industry matures the charlatans and cowboys will slowly be driven out leaving just the talented, customer and ROI focussed agencies left.

Good SEO is a professional service which deserves its place alongside other services like accountancy, legal advice and consultancy. It combines IT and technical skills with marketing, design, public relations, copywriting, data analysis, planning and forecasting. And, quite frankly, the world needs SEO. Here’s why:

The world needs SEO

Consumers need SEO

When you search for a product or service in Google, you want to find what you searched for. The job of the SEO agency is to help make sure that happens. One of the first questions we’ll ask when working with a website is ‘who wants what you have to offer?’ If you were a client of ours, our job would be to make sure the people that want your products or services find them – that way they’ll buy them, pay for them and you’ll make a profit.

We don’t want rankings for the sake of rankings, or traffic for the sake of traffic. When the right people find your site they’ll be happy, they’ll buy, and you’ll then be happy that you invested in SEO, and you’ll continue to do it.

Search engines need SEO

Interflora recently suffered a penalty for bad SEO practices – Google temporarily removed them from its search results. But when Google removed them from the results pages, did consumers think ‘wow, Interflora must have been doing some bad SEO?’

No, they probably thought ‘Google isn’t very good is it? It hasn’t even listed Interflora!’

Google still relies on links as its primary way of determining how useful a website is, and in many industries, it’s just not that effective without SEO companies working with the businesses that feel they have something to offer the consumer. As someone at a recent search conference said, ‘People just don’t link to websites about ladders’.

Google is also getting very sophisticated – and is looking to continuously improve the search experience for you and I. For example, it wants to develop ‘semantic search’ – which means going beyond ‘keywords’ to a point where it really understands what a person means when they type in a search. In order to provide the right search results, Google will need to understand the information that’s on a website on a deeper level than it does at the moment. In order to make that possible, website content will need to be marked up and coded in a way that goes way beyond ‘meta tags’. This will not happen on a large scale without SEO companies.

Young people need SEO

At a time when university graduates are still unemployed and living with their parents for years after getting their degrees, SEO is one of the few industries that is recruiting young people. And it’s not just graduates getting these opportunities – for example at JDR we have taken on school leavers as apprentices and have trained them to become confident, ambitious digital marketers. A career in SEO gives young people a chance to quickly learn and progress in a way that just isn’t possible in many other industries.

The UK economy needs SEO

The SEO industry is still growing very quickly, in fact it’s one of the success stories of the UK economy. But for the economy to grow, people have to buy things – kitchens, cars, clothes, food, holidays etc . By helping businesses connect with customers in Google in a quick and easy way, we boost growth in the businesses we work with. This means they make more profit, can afford to pay their staff higher wages, shareholders get better returns, pension funds perform better and the government raises more tax revenue.

So while ‘Why the world needs SEO’ may not be as attention grabbing as ‘SEO is dead’, hopefully you’ll agree there’s a lot more validity in it.


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Article by Will Williamson

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc photo credit: left-hand via photopin cc