In today’s blog post we will debate a topic that has been on a lot of industry experts’ lips in the last couple of years and most certainly a point of interest in 2020. Today we’re discussing if SEO is dead.  Even if it might seem like a cliché or a rhetorical question, there are many people who assume that SEO is over, due to several misinformed beliefs such as Ads now dominating the 1st and 2nd page of Google results. 

First of all, let’s elaborate on the main reasons which lead to this polemic.

A recent study found that 61 % of business owners have said that ‘’brand awareness’’ is highly important to them. The next question that crosses our mind is: how many of these people know that SEO continues to be one of the most effective ways to organically improve the awareness of your brand? It’s no secret that number one in Google Search Engine’s Results Page is reported to capture up to 31.7% of search traffic, according to one research report, while almost 17% are in the number two position.

Some people think that SEO is dead because the pay per click is bringing more traffic
Position one in Google is no longer the “prime position” as ads will always be on top of the search results –  followed by a ‘’Google Answer Box’’ and a knowledge panel. 
What does it take to find the right combination of elements that assure these placements?
In fairness, content is still king, so the value of the on-page text needs to be of high quality. Furthermore, the links of the page need to have an excellent rate and nevertheless, there’s a good deal of technical SEO.

In order to stay on top of the Google Search Results Page, you need to keep on working on this combination.

Another reason why people declare that SEO is dying is the continuous improvement in Google’s algorithm. Websites vanish from search results with no warning and a strategy that was working before, can suddenly cause penalties.

Therefore, some customers might stop investing time, effort and financial resources in SEO, which actually means that they are not taking advantage of hundreds of thousands of referrals sessions.

Let’s play a game and see if we can visualize a world with no SEO.

Hard game, right?

A world without SEO cannot exist as today there are over four billion users, compared with 1995, when the Internet had only two billion. Also, back in 1995, search engines like Archie, VLip and Veronica were only online libraries with no ability to search.

The online world expanded very quickly and search engines began to rank pages on OPIC (on page importance criteria) scores. At that time, SEO  strategies were already evolving and keywords were just discoveries such as title tag manipulation that cause urgent first position rankings.

Knowing how the digital and SEO domains have improved is very important nowadays. 

At first sight, SEO seems to be quite easy –  double-checking that your website works well, looks good, has proper keywords and some good links.

In reality, things are not so simple. Ever since the last Google updates such as RankBrain or BERT were introduced over the past few years, SEO as an industry suffered a drastic change due to the complexity of the algorithms.
Moreover, since TikTok, voice search, artificial intelligence and digital PR are definitely kicking off in the e-commerce world, SEO seems to be getting less importance lately. Another question that comes to our mind is “is SEO worth being done in 2022?

The answer is certainly, yes. On one hand, with the evolution of search engines, their necessity is fundamental as they are the most effective tool to help users find the best answer to their question in the shortest time.

On the other hand, it looks like Google is affecting the ranking of a lot of websites but this is only a matter of redefining the algorithm so that websites with low quality don’t break into their search engines.

How Google changes the game

As we have mentioned above, one of Google updates from recent years is  Google RankBrain. This is a tool that uses artificial intelligence to help process Google search queries and achieves amazing results. To cut a long story short, Google RankBrain’s new update checks for human interaction with websites and ranks them depending on that.

Therefore, you need to make sure that the content on your website is of high quality.

  • Renew your SEO technical strategy

If you feel that your SEO techniques are not providing the results that you are expecting, there is certainly a reason why Google is not showing them in the Search Engine Results Page.

In fairness, it must be that your techniques are out of date. For SEO, out of date techniques might affect your brand more than help it. You should add more value to your website by adding keyword-stuffed pages. 

Google generates results on the search pages that are most likely to answer the user’s queries.

  • The rise of mobile search

Mobile searches surpassed desktop on Google in May 2015. 

In a way, SEO died at that point because this meant that we had to include mobile usability into account and to change the front-end design of websites.

As only a small number of websites were ready for mobile search at that time, Google started penalizing the websites.

Going forward with our debate, we shouldn’t forget Google’s launch of the core algorithm called mobile-first indexing from August 2018. This meant a massive panic from the marketers’ side and also that the mobile version of one website will be used for ranking in the detriment of the desktop version.

In conclusion, Google will still exist while the Internet continues to be. Developing day by day, Google’s semantic technology interprets the intent behind longtail searches and permits to the user to ‘’speak with the technology’’.  With over half of Google’s searches result in zero clicks, SEO is still in the cards as part of the big digital marketing industry.