One of the most burning questions in the minds of marketers today is whether SEO is dead in 2023 or not. The answer to this can be found in how much companies spent doing SEO in 2022. According to recent studies, over $80 billion dollars was spent on SEO. This is a strong testimony to its rising importance.
So, to put it plainly, SEO definitely isn’t dead. What is dead, though, is the old techniques many marketers were so familiar with.
Recent Google updates have changed the SEO landscape. If you don’t put up with them, you risk losing out to your competitors. This article will evaluate the validity of SEO in modern times and how to win at it.
What Do People Say About SEO Being Dead?
According to the views of leading marketers, SEO isn’t dead. It has only changed. You can say that it is dead in how you perceive it to be. For example, most of the SEO strategies that worked in 2015 are long dead. If you implement them, you’ll never get your site to rank on the first search result.
On the other hand, updating your techniques and implementing today’s strategies will help you rank better. According to leading marketers, SEO is evolving to make the search experience for people more relevant and meaningful. It thus means that you must also evolve your strategies to dominate the search results for your target keyword.
some say that only emphasizing quality content isn’t enough to get better rankings. Although it is the top on-page SEO factor, link-building is the most important way to rank well.
Another important point is the way people discover products and services on the internet. Today, before going to Google, people already discover various products on social media and review websites. This, in turn, makes it essential for you to not only optimize your websites and blogs but also perform social media optimization along with working on review websites and podcast feeds.
After careful consideration of different perspectives on the death of SEO, it’s fair to conclude that SEO has not expired. It is growing in different ways and demands marketers to pay heed to it.
Which SEO Strategies are Dead?
Today, the internet can give you much information on how to ace your SEO game. However, if you blindly follow the strategies, it will not yield results. Many popular SEO techniques are dead today. Focusing on them will only make you struggle harder.
Here’s a list of the techniques and tactics that no longer work.
Keyword research is the basis of creating optimized content. In fact, an SEO campaign is nothing without the right keywords. It takes much effort to find the target keywords and create valuable content. But you will be putting all this hard work to waste if you overstuff your content with keywords.
So, keyword stuffing was one popular strategy that now falls under black hat strategies. It will only do you greater harm than good. Google’s algorithm has become pretty good at detecting content stuffed with keywords.
Low-quality link building
Low-quality backlinks refer to those coming from low-quality blogs, guest posts, and spam websites. Link building is essential to increase rankings on search engines. But if your links are coming from poor-quality online directories, private blog networks, or advertorials, it will destroy your SEO metrics.
The Google Panda algorithm evaluates the quality of websites by scrutinizing their pages. Through it, the PageRank is adjusted. It’s a site-level score that can affect your content based on a search query and site-level quality.
Putting out low-quality content
One of the things that Google prefers for better ranking is unique and high-quality content. This content should answer users’ queries optimally. But if you develop low-value content, do not be surprised to find your website not appearing anywhere on the first search engine result page.
In simple words, low-quality content has keyword stuffing, does not answers people’s queries, is filled with affiliate links and does not have images or videos. Years ago, putting such content was not considered bad. In fact, it gave much visibility and traffic. But with the explosion of content online, the tactic has become obsolete. It is never going to surface again.
Google’s helpful content update released in august 2022 stated that content that satisfies the needs of readers only will rank well.
Focusing on a variety of topics
It is a bad idea to prove yourself as an expert in various industries and niches. Doing that will not give your content the authority it needs to rank well. Instead, selecting your niche and writing detailed articles on it is what will help you rank well.
For example, if your website is on video editing, there’s no use in covering topics that do not belong to this domain. Instead, writing blogs on editing software, tips for editing videos easily, and video editing mistakes will make it rank well.
Ignoring the search intent
The underlying aim of Google is to impart a great experience to searchers. It is why personalization is becoming more important than before. Marketers who ignore search intent end up creating content that isn’t aligned with the needs of the users.
So, it is essential to focus on finding the right keywords and creating quality content to rank higher. Google will only give you a better ranking if your posts truly meet the user’s needs.
To stop this problem from impacting your rankings, familiarize yourself with the four types of user intents. These include:
- Transactional, when someone is planning to purchase
- Informational, when a person is looking to get information on a subject
- Navigational, where the person tries to find a specific page
- The commercial investigation, where the person is filtering down their purchase options
Create the content on the basis of the intent you are serving.
Dull website architecture
It is one of the lesser-known things about the new SEO. Earlier, content had more importance than anything else. But now, search engines care more about your website’s design, theme, and architecture.
The layout of webpages, fonts, color, pillar, category, and sub-category pages all have tremendous importance. They facilitate Google to understand the content and how it is linked with other pages.
The SEO Strategies That Still Work
In 2022, Google’s ranking update adversely impacted features like product reviews, spam detection, and page experience on desktop. In 2023, its algorithms continued to become more sophisticated.
Here are the top 5 SEO techniques that you should stick to for noticing improvements.
Optimizing websites for Google Discover
Google Discover appears on the search engine’s home page for mobile users. Its goal is to give visitors the most suitable search queries according to their preferences.
If you optimize your website for Google Discover, it can exponentially increase your organic traffic. Some things you can do to increase website visibility for Google Discover are:
- Enhancing content quality – Focus on creating content in different formats as Google now looks at the ways people consume information.
- Pay special attention to visuals, as they are crucial for ranking.
- Similarly, use web-optimized and high-quality videos to attract more traffic.
Using AI tools responsibly
2022 gave marketers various AI tools to support content writing. Many such tools were widely appreciated for their ability to create useful content with little human supervision. However, it has led many marketers to forget that these tools, however sophisticated, cannot replace the human touch.
The Helpful Content Update released by Google in mid-August is all about satisfying user experience and penalizing content that is only for the search engine. This category includes AI-written content.
Paying attention to the BERT algorithm
The Bi-Directional Encoder Representations from Transformers or BERT enable anyone to train their independent cutting-edge question-answering system. This algorithm still impacts search queries. BERT focuses on user intent and lists relevant pages. It emphasizes topics, not individual words. So, optimizing content accordingly is what will raise your SEO rankings.
When you optimize content as per the BERT algorithm, you will automatically enhance the readability of your content. Some ways to optimize the website for BERT include not using flowery words, writing straightforward answers, and posting informative content.
Personalizing the search experience
As queries turn more nuanced, you need to rethink engaging with people meaningfully. It means understanding the intentions of your target audience and personalizing ads accordingly.
An excellent example of it is the strategy adopted by the Swedish furniture company IKEA.
During the lockdown, Indonesians started decorating their homes more, which increased the search interest for ‘rak’ or shelves. Using this insight, the brand created target audience personas as per a person’s life stage. It categorized its audience as newly married people to those in the market for improving their homes. The result was that the brand’s website got twice as many sales only through organic search.
Prioritizing long-tail keywords
With every new update, the search engine becomes more advanced. If someone is looking for any service, there are certain associated keywords that contain other keywords. These words relate to the user’s search.
Long-tail keywords refer to search terms with more than three words. Targeting them can help you boost your rankings. So if you’ve been focusing more on short competitive keywords and not getting the desired results, it’s time to rethink your keyword strategy in favor of long-tail ones. It will help you optimize your website or web pages for specific results.
As always, be sure to infuse long-tail keywords in high-quality and engaging content that satisfies the users’ needs.
Generating quality backlinks
Various SEO trends may come and go, but link-building will forever be a critical factor for Google to rank content. A successful SEO strategy is rooted in building high-quality backlinks from trustworthy websites. Here are some tips for building effective backlinks.
- Develop connections with businesses in your domain to backlink your website.
- Develop hyperlinks from authoritative directory websites as an alternative traffic source.
- Create engaging infographics and give a link for that content source.
- Guest post useful content on relevant blogs.
- Perform a competitor analysis to find new backlink opportunities.
- Contact experienced bloggers to write reviews of your content along with a link to your promotional content.
Optimizing content for featured snippets
Google introduced the featured snippets feature in 2014. If your content appears in them, it gains the most coveted spot on the search engine results page. To improve user experience, Google does not surface a single URL twice on the first page. The snippets receive 8.6% clicks. This feature is primarily for mobile optimization.
So, they remain a crucial part of SEO. Google is still developing various types of featured snippets to answer queries most efficiently. You must use them to get more organic traffic.
Running SEO audits periodically
SEO audits at an interval of three months will help in website growth and increased traffic. SEO issues are bound to occur when a website scales. If you keep overlooking the need for an audit, it won’t be long before you see a drop in traffic.
Running SEO audits has been a key strategy for a long time. It is still essential to keep your rankings intact.
Optimizing for mobile
Every new site has come under mobile-first indexing since 2022. This has allowed mobile users to search the web more effectively. Today, almost 87% of internet users use mobiles. Almost half of the transactions are done on mobiles.
In such a scenario, it is only wise to optimize your website for these users. If it isn’t configured to load properly on smartphone screens, you will definitely notice a dip in your rankings.
Mobile indexing is important for every website out there. So, if you want to tap into a greater customer base, get your website mobile-ready.
SEO Isn’t Dead, It Has Undergone a Transformation!
SEO can never die. As long as people use the web to look for services and gain information, SEO is bound to prevail. However, there’s a world of difference between SEO of the past and present. As progressive digital marketers and business owners, paying heed to the new trends will make you benefit continuously from them. Contact us to know more about SEO and its strategies.