SEO – Game Over?

Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization

One Google Update is following the other, that’s why internet marketers predict the impending death of Search Engine Optimization for several years. But is this really true? Is SEO going to die?

The high number of updates Google applies to its algorithm is increasingly affecting the possibilities of identifying and explaining individual interdependencies of applied SEO measures and the achieved results in the ranking. Andrew Edwards, digital marketing executive, wrote: “Google’s algorithms move away from rewarding SEO principles and toward featuring sites with the best content.” Furthermore the changes in the customers’ search behavior and the growing competition online make it difficult to rely solely on SEO in order to generate traffic for a website. Customers are no longer only searching on Google, rather they use mobile apps appealing to specific niches that offer a much more targeted search option or they search on social networks, where they can see behaviors and ideas of people they know and like.

Former updates in the algorithm

One of these updates is the Google Panda Update which was first rolled out in 2011. The goal of Panda is to degrade low quality websites, like content farms, and to remove them from the first pages of the search result.

Another big update Google applied to its algorithm is the Penguin Update. It has the goal to reduce web spam (pages which use black hat strategies) among the search results.

And the last update with an animal name is the Hummingbird Update. It’s a completely new algorithm which represents the basis of the search process and which is much faster in gathering and measuring information and make it searchable in the index. That’s also where its name comes from: Hummingbird should be precise and fast like the animal.

But probably the most interesting update was the latest one (released in April 2015), the Google Mobile Friendly Update. The novelty of this update is that mobile friendliness becomes a ranking factor, which has significant consequences on rankings of websites in mobile search results.

The Future of SEO

Special is, that Google offers an enormous collection of real things and shows with the Google Knowledge Graph, how they can be connected with each other to give a better search result. With only one look and without more clicks the user gets organic search results out of 37 percent of all search results to this topic. If someone searches for a famous person, Google will show him on the one hand information out of Wikipedia like the attributes age, profession and size but on the other hand some news and pictures.

There are some exciting developments to observe and one of these is the idea of the contextual search. “The idea is to push information to people,” to deliver people the information they need the most in a certain moment and remove the ‘difficult and hard’ work for the users. Therefore Google separates a query into an explicit and an implicit aspect of query. The explicit aspect includes the keywords that someone explicit typed in whereas the implicit aspect includes the implicit part of a request based on the context. Therewith it becomes easier to know what the user is exactly looking for and what kind of response will help most in this moment.

But is SEO really Game Over?

To get back to the question of the beginning it is important to know the changes in the Google algorithms and how they rank. All in all it is not as easy as in the past to practice good SEO. The keyword and backlink oriented SEO is truly almost dead, because of the updates Panda and Penguin. Anymore, it is not possible to get a high ranked position only with poor content and wrong placed links. The SEO nowadays is getting more and more complex but therewith more important for a company and its website. OffPage Optimization and unique content have priority now. Google is on its way to reward sites with the best content and mobile friendly conditions. SEO is a very useful tool to make a company and its website successful because of faster loading times, attractive content and positive user signals through long resting times.

SEO is absolutely not Game Over! SEO has only just begun.

Sources:

Dawson, Ross (2011): The 9 kinds of context that will define contextual search. Internet http://rossdawsonblog.com/weblog/archives/2011/01/the-8-kinds-of-context-that-will-define-contextual-search.html, 15.05.2015.

Edwards, Andrew (2014): Is SEO Dead? Internet