SEO is the optimisation of a website’s content to increase the chances of your website’s “ranking” for searches that are relevant to your offering in search engines.
Its aim is to make a search engine – Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and others – believe a website has the best response to a searcher’s query, hence, driving organic traffic to that site. However, Google – the most used search engine in the world – has continuously grown in intelligence, defeating the trickery of SEO, as many know it, and raising questions like; Is SEO still relevant?
In short, yes, SEO is as important as ever, more important even as there are more and more content publishers on Google and other search engines, and they’ll only show the most relevant results to searchers’ intents.
To better understand the importance of SEO today, it’s important to understand the reasons that some publishers think SEO is irrelevant.
SEO and Its Importance
Search engine optimisation, SEO, began with website publishers aiming to trick search engines into seeing their websites as the most relevant ones for searchers’ queries.
Search engines, such as Google, work by crawling the billions of pages on the internet to see which ones are most applicable to a user’s query. The most relevant content, according to Google’s algorithmic criteria, is then presented to the user in the form of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
To ensure their content became the most “relevant”, publishers devised ways to make Google see their content as one of the best by manipulating different parts of their site and pages. However, these SEO tricks don’t work as they used to. Google quickly became savvy to these tricks and changed the way pages were scored in order to improve user experience. These changes to Google’s algorithm are happening more frequently than ever before, and as such, SEO is an ongoing fast-paced challenge that we have to work with, not against. Whilst there’s no silver bullet to SEO success today, there are definitely proven ways to improve your visibility.
Why Do Publishers Think SEO Has Become Unimportant?
The notion that SEO has become unimportant starts with some unfavourable analytics on publishers’ websites. It started with;
Reduced Organic Traffic
For many businesses, organic visitors make up a large chunk of their website traffic, and it’s generally seen that the more traffic a website has, the more earnings it can bring through leads, sales and ad revenue, now whilst this might not be true, it is, unfortunately, a view many have.
When online shops and site owners notice a reduction in their monthly impressions and traffic, it can signify that their ranking keywords have declined – despite the SEO principles applied – and, consequently, their earnings.
Lower Click Through Rate (CTR)
With reduced Organic traffic often comes a lower click-through rate, another avenue for earning. Users don’t click on adverts on websites as much as they used to, reducing the earning potential of website owners.
So, is SEO still important?
Yes, SEO is more important now than it used to be. You may ask, since previous SEO practices don’t guarantee a site’s ranking potential, why is SEO still important?
Some of the SEO practices of the past, such as large scale backlink building, are not as effective as they used to be. However, one of Google’s core fundamentals remains – deliver the most relevant and reliable information available.
How to use SEO today?
To seek the benefits of SEO today, optimise your content and website to achieve the following:
How relevant is your content to users’ queries? Are you offering solutions to users’ problems? These are questions your SEO strategy should answer.
The relevance of your site borders on how well it caters to the needs of users. Does your site cater to the informational needs of Google users, or does it cater to commercial needs? Optimise your content to meet the intent of the searchers you target.
Another way to achieve relevance is to focus on a niche. If your site caters to the queries of athletes, you’ll have more competition, but if you focus on track athletes, you’ll gain more relevance with Google.
Build your site to become a brand. Google gives more credibility to brands than other sites and e-commerce businesses. One of the ways to improve your recognition is to promote your site with Google My Business. You’ll get recognition locally, and you can improve on that to gain wider recognition.
The importance of SEO lies in satisfying search engines’ ever-changing algorithms; whilst we’ll never understand what this looks like, we do know that Google strives to satisfy a user’s intent and query. SEO isn’t about gaming the system like it used to be; it’s about providing high-quality, reliable information presented in a way that provides a great user experience.