Here are 4 reasons why SEO is dead.
1) Now Google shows 4 paid ads on the top for a lot of searches, you often can’t see the organic results at all without the having to scroll down the page. This means more clicks on paid ads and less on organic results. Especially from people looking to buy something, as opposed to people just looking for free information.
The search terms that don’t show many ads are the ones advertisers know aren’t going to make them any money, that’s why they aren’t bidding on those keywords, i.e. that’s why no ads show up.
Google are also rolling out expanded paid ads so the paid ads will take up even more space on the results page.
As more and more people run paid ads and as the quality of the ads and landing pages get better Google will get away with continually increasing the amount of space they can give to paid ads. Eventually moving on to up to 5, 6 or more ads at the top.
Paid advertisers get more data back from Google that lets them continually improve their content at a faster rate than people getting organic clicks.
2) In March 2016 Google decided to stop telling the public how much PageRank each web page has. So a link from a particular page may be worth very little to your rankings or it may be worth thousands but without knowing the PageRank there is no reliable way to know. It makes it very hard for even well meaning SEO companies to get a good return for you.
Google has also made it more difficult to see which keywords are bringing in traffic through the natural results. Most of it no longer shows in analytics. This makes it harder to see if SEO is working or to know which organic keywords are actually bringing in enquiries.
3) A lot of businesses still make a lot of money through SEO. But most of those businesses have been high up on Google for a long time. Each year they get more links to their site. Old content that points to their site also accumulates more links creating a pyramid effect. To overtake a leading competitor you have to build more link juice than they have accumulated over many years. They’ve been able to use the money they have made from being high up on Google to continually invest in SEO to protect their position.
Their links were also built over a long period of time which makes them seem more authentic to Google. So even if you caught up on many years of investment in SEO over a short space of time it could look suspicious and spammy to Google as you aren’t suppose to be paying for someone to build links.
Older websites that have been first for a long time have other advantages too like their domain name has more age which makes it more trustworthy. Especially if the domain name was bought before web spam existed.
4) There is more misinformation than ever around SEO. Almost anyone selling anything claims it is good for SEO in an attempt to get people to buy.
For example people often claim that Social Media helps with SEO. First of all Google can’t access most of the content on some social media sites like Facebook. You have to be logged in to access it and FB doesn’t want to give its content away for free to Google. Here are facebook pages that match my name.
Google doesn’t have a copy of the actual profiles (no green arrow to view Google’s cached version) apart from the pages FB wants Google to see like search results pages. The actual profiles all have content that says “Join Facebook to connect…” which is what you see when you aren’t logged in. So Google can’t see links posted on these pages.
Second, all external links on Social Media sites are set as “no follow” links or use redirects to deliberately discourage people from spamming Social media sites for SEO purposes. A “no follow” link means the social media site is saying they don’t endorse the link for SEO purposes, i.e. they are asking Google to ignore the link. Here is a link from Facebook:
That red bit in the text means that Facebook’s relation to the link (“rel”) is “nofollow” (i.e. your Google bot shouldn’t follow this link to its destination, in other words please ignore this link). As well as Social Media sites doing this to discourage people from using their sites for SEO purpose they don’t want to get in trouble with Google or other search engines if a user posts links to dubious sources on their site. I.e. they don’t want their own website’s rankings to be effected by any shady links people may post. Some sites like Linkedin use redirects instead of nofollow so Google can’t see where the links actually point to, they just appear to point back to Linkedin. This is also to help protect the rankings of the Social Media site as it means PageRank isn’t leaking out of the site.
People selling everything from hosting, to video, to stock photos to certain website platforms all claim it has a bigger impact on SEO than it actually does.
What To Do Instead?
With up to 4 ads showing on Google it is a better time than even to do Google Adwords (PPC advertising). More ad slots above the SEO results means more clicks on ads. It also means your ads can still get plenty of clicks in 3rd and 4th position. In this position you will pay less per click than your competitors in 1st and 2nd position.
Adwords is a very fair system. Prices are dictated entirely by your competitors and the quality of their campaigns. So having a better campaign than your competitor means you can acquire the same work that they are willing to pay for, except at a lower price. The price varies based on your industry, unlike a lot of other services where you pay the same price regardless of what your service or product costs, like an ad in a magazine.
The amount of work you want effects the price too as the top ads get more clicks but have to pay more for each click and therefore for each piece of work. So if a competitor can afford to pay £40 per enquiry and is coming up first on Google then having your own ad around 3rd with a well optimised campaign means you may pay £20 for the same quality enquiries, you just won’t get as many enquiries in total.
What Should You Do?
We have been setting up and managing adwords campaigns for clients for over a decade. If you would like a free initial chat and research in to your industry contact us now on 0151 650 6972. From our free initial research we will be able to tell you if Adwords is a good alternative for your business.