Is SEO dead?

For most marketers SEO is essentially dead. The risk/reward is simply no longer attractive.

The expense and difficulty of making a website stand apart from competitors is prohibitive in virtually every competitive search category.

Those categories have been worked for a decade or more – in many instances by large companies with extensive marketing budgets. To make matters worse, dominance by well-known names is exactly the way Google wants it to be.

Credibility is everything

Turning the clock back a few years ago, the internet was a mess. A search would return dozens of time-wasting spammy results. The web was in serious danger of becoming a joke.

The humor however, was lost on Google. With 5 billion in annual revenues at stake, they rolled up their sleeves and decided to clean up the mess.

They declared war against the awful content that was populating their search engine. They minimized the importance of key words, and developed a system that awards those who publish content that is highly relevant to their specific area of expertise.

The system they created insures the presence of ‘authority websites’ at the top of every major search category. ‘Authority’ is determined by the extent and quality of content published, and by the number of links back to that content.

The winners in the change were organizations who had proven their staying power. The losers were anyone new to the game – and that is why SEO is basically dead.

What about long tail keyword searches?

If you don’t know what these are, think about the extended phrases you use when searching online. For example, if you need a lawyer, you may search for something like ‘probate lawyer located in Los Angeles’.

That’s a long tail keyword, and if you have enough, they will deliver some traffic.

What’s really the point?

Is the idea of marketing to get an occasional trickle of business? Not really, and unless you have a very long term perspective and a lot of marketing dollars, a trickle is exactly what a long tail keyword strategy will deliver.

What’s next?

The biggest, hottest trend in internet marketing is advertising. But of course it’s nothing like the mass media advertising of yesterday.

Today’s version targets its audience like a laser beam. It’s intrusive – and many would say dangerous. But it also works, and for that reason alone, get used to it. It’s not going anywhere.

In posts to come I will discuss some of the new advertising options. Please stay tuned.