Here at TopOpti, we don’t generally like to call people idiots. We actually think it’s rather rude. This topic, however, is one of our few exceptions because usually when someone says SEO is dead in 2020 they fall into one of two categories: either,
- They have absolutely no idea what SEO really is, and the full range of what it entails, so have no place in making claims about the validity of it; or
- It’s clickbait and they’re trying to goad people into an argument.
We’ve written this article just for these special categories of people so the next time you hear someone proclaim SEO is dead, rather than trying to point out the folly of their ways or get into a raging online debate you can politely point them to this article and let us do the hard work for you.
Why Do People Say SEO is dead?
To dispel this myth, first, we need to understand why people are saying SEO is dead in the first place. There are typically 2 main reasons given;
SEO Doesn’t Work Anymore
This is the reason that we hear most often and provides a pretty good insight into where this idea comes from in the first place. Those who say SEO doesn’t work anymore lack a fundamental understanding of what SEO is. SEO is no longer about stuffing keywords into documents and getting a few links back to your website.
For those that believe this is how SEO works we can understand why they’re not having any success. SEO has become about so much more than basic on-page optimization and link building.
Those who still do very well in SEO understand the 2 basic principles of SEO.
First, Google needs to understand what your site is about, this actually does require some on-page optimization. If your article is about SEO being dead, you want to make sure you mention it in your opening H1, in a subheading or two and liberally but naturally throughout your text. This will help Google understand what your page is about but not that your page is necessarily a quality source of information.
Second, you need to show Google that your website is a valuable and authoritative source. This is much more complex and why SEO experts are still very much in demand. Things like the overall health of your website (pages returning error codes? Broken internal links? Duplicate content? Improper canonicalization?) and the website’s performance (load times and the efficiency of your frontend and backend code) play significant roles alongside more traditional methods like building strong authoritative links.
The introduction of machine learning into Google’s algorithm is also significantly cutting down on the effectiveness of black hat SEO tactics which is a significant boon to those with great content that has been previously buried under piles of spammy pages. Which brings us to the next reason that people Say SEO is dead…
SEO Doesn’t Matter if You Have Good Content
This also is unequivocally false for several reasons. The first and most obvious reason is that I guarantee that even if you put the very best piece of content on a website with 10+ second load times, no one will ever see it. While yes, excellent content can make up for some very significant shortcomings in other aspects of SEO it’s like Michael Phelps swimming through an obstacle course to win at the Olympics. Will he win? Maybe, if his competition is weak enough, but why take the chance? Make sure the page is properly optimized and you’ve got a much better chance of hitting the number 1 spot. The other issue is that you need to be the Michael Phelps of content writing, are you that confident in your skills?
The other problem with the “SEO Doesn’t Matter if You Have good Content” debate is that if you just spent 3 months perfecting a piece of content about “Pet Supplements” rather than “Dog Supplements” and your article actually pertains to dogs you’ve just missed out on 3,100 potential searches. Good keyword research can help you create new and shape existing content to get it in front of more of the people looking for the answers you are providing.
The Bottom Line is SEO is not dead. It Has Evolved.
As with everything in technology, SEO is evolving at a very rapid pace. There are those who work to stay ahead of the curve, and those who allow themselves to fall behind. The beautiful thing about SEO is that it is based on the 2 basic principles of SEO. If you understand these principles and are smart about how you leverage technology and content you’re always going to be ahead of the game.
Have a rebuttal? Are you hearing a side of the argument that we missed? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll do our best to address it. We love to hear other people’s points of view on this debate and if you can prove us wrong then we get to learn something new and that’s a pretty good day in our book!