Google’s continuous algorithm changes have shaken the faith of many marketers and business owners on the effectiveness of search engine optimisation (SEO). “Mobilegeddon” threw a curveball at many businesses in 2015 when top-ranking sites were required to adopt a mobile-responsive web format.
Search engine optimization (SEO) was born almost the same time Yahoo and Google became mainstream. It has been an old practice since the time of Web 1.0 as marketers saw search engines’ potential to enhance website visibility. However, the ease of “gaming” the system did not always guarantee effective results.
Currently, new search engine algorithms identify and penalize black hat SEO strategies, such as the use of quicker link-building processes using “link farms” and private blog networks.
However, a Backlinko analysis of one million Google results found that link-building campaigns are still important. The data suggests that a backlink from a high-ranking website is equivalent to an offline PR citation by a multinational company. In fact, it showed receiving backlinks from multiple reliable sources is crucial to good link-building practices.
Other contributing factors that help to boost websites to the top of the organic search results is a low bounce rate and value-adding content. Long-form content (above 1,000 words) that goes in-depth into a topic can also improve a page’s rankings.
Even on a non-technical level, SEO still matters. For example, web design user experience influences higher search rankings making it important for websites to be easy to use and quick to load on both desktop and mobile formats.
Another example is Google’s new semantic requirements. This prioritizes easy website navigation through familiar visual cues, making it simple and convenient for consumers to use.
While it’s common to hear that “SEO is dead”, it simply isn’t true and here’s why.
Why SEO Is Still Alive And Relevant
1. Search Engine Ranking Still Has Great Value
As seen from Internet Live Stat’s live search engine query monitoring, there are tens of thousands of queries made per second.
When mystery shopping services provider, AQ Services, needed better website service traffic, generate qualified leads, and improve its niche presence on the Internet, they knew they needed an effective SEO strategy.
They engaged 2Stallions’ help to implement an in-depth SEO campaign that included relevant keyword research and on and off-site SEO, backed by good content marketing and marketing automation. The two-year campaign yielded excellent results, allowing AQ Services International to receive more than 1,949 clicks and 22,333 impressions. This helped them rank for 26 keywords on the first page of Google, previously having ranked for none.
These figures are proof in itself that SEO practices are still relevant today.
2. SEO Requirements Create Lower Bounce Rates
Lower bounce rates, which relates to both content quality and customer journey, also plays a key role. Search algorithms now prioritize content traffic, navigation, and customer retention as primary factors when ranking pages. This is because search engines want to show only what is most relevant to the audience’s queries.
As SEO practices aim to lower bounce rates, it actually helps websites to ensure content is high in quality, relevant and reaching the right audience. If your website is experiencing a low bounce rate and longer dwell time, it means your page is well optimized and has a good design with relevant content and proper linking.
Image by: Conversion XL
3. Mobile Users Tremendously Increase Organic Search Queries
In 2017, it was found that 65.1% of all web traffic in Asia comes from mobile searches. This shows that more people are looking for information on their mobile, increasing the importance of a site’s mobile experience. It is no wonder that Google’s search engine results algorithm prioritizes mobile.
While these users can type their queries on browser address bars, the convenience of using voice-recognition features to search quickly on the go may have a correlation with the increased mobile search engine usage.
Voice-recognition devices use search engines to answer queries. In Asia Pacific, China and Japan are leading in voice assistant usage. About 51% of Chinese users and 57% Japanese users find these technologies convenient, stating its convenience in search engine use and hands-free typing.
Search Engine Watch adds that most mobile voice searches are likely local based searches. Businesses that keep their local addresses and maps up to date will likely show up higher in rankings.
4. Google Search Engine Ranks Mobile Apps
With the increase in mobile usage, comes the increase in mobile apps. These apps can be found in app stores like Google Play or the Apple App Store. However, unlike Apple, Google incorporates its app store in its search engine results.
In fact, according to a Google report cited by Search Engine Land, about 27% of users find applications through a search engine. It also said that Google is emphasizing downloads from search results instead of within Google Play. While most people continue using Google Play to search and download apps, Search Engine Land expects Google to improve app ranking using search engines.
This makes it important to get ahead of the game and optimize your mobile apps for search engine rankings now. This might include using relevant keywords you want to rank in, optimizing app titles and descriptions, as well as getting good reviews.
5. Quality Content Production Still Relies On Good SEO Practices
It’s no use producing high-quality content if nobody reads it. That’s why content marketing relies on SEO to get your audience to your website.
Updated search engine algorithms focus on content traffic, navigation, and overall customer website experience. Content traffic picks up if the audience finds value in it. The algorithm of content traffic urges businesses to research topics of interest and create value in every blog or content they publish, and valuable content is often share-worthy, increasing organic backlinks to propel your content and website further.
As Backlinko’s research has shown, the more backlinks from different domains, the better your search engine page ranking.
Most successful websites have developed content and web designs based on SEO principles that marketing professionals have uncovered in the past. Based on these five aspects and the research data backing up each claim, SEO is unlikely to die. Not anytime soon at least.
Indeed, as long as search engines are here to stay, SEO will too. The very fact that Google, the largest search engine around, continuously updates its algorithm to improve users’ search experience, shows that SEO remains important to grow organic website traffic.
If you wish to improve your site’s SEO or check if your website needs to be optimized for search engine rankings, find out more about our SEO packages here.