Over the past year or so, Google’s been rolling out new updates like crazy, including Penguin, Panda, Google+, and so on… And recently, people in the SEO industry have been shaking in their boots.
…Is SEO Dead?
“I had lunch back in March with Adam Torkildson, one of the top SEO consultants in Utah and one of the best in the country…Adam Torkildson, SEO guru, says Google is killing the SEO industry (as we know it)… He said something to me that blew me away. “Google is in the process of making the SEO industry obsolete, SEO will be dead in 2 years.”
To be clear, I do NOT agree that SEO will be obsolete in 2 years. I don’t think SEO will ever be obsolete. But “old-school” SEO is dead — and it’s never coming back.
To explain what I’m talking about, I need to give you just a little bit of history… Back in the day, SEO was super easy — all you had to do was stuff keywords into your website’s pages. But that also meant the search results were pretty crappy.
Luckily for all of us, Google changed this.
Google figured out a way to rank websites by looking at the quality and quantity of links pointing to your website, from other websites. Suddenly, the “search engine spam” was gone, and Google became the most popular search engine on the planet, almost overnight.
3 Major Recent Google Updates
Here are the 3 recent Google updates you need to know about, so you can see where Google’s headed in 2013 and beyond…
1. Panda Update (2011)
Until Google made this update, many SEO strategies relied on pumping out tons of low-quality articles that were stuffed with keywords, and had little to no usefulness or originality. And for a time, these strategies were actually pretty effective. But then Google caught on and penalized websites with low quality content (i.e. dropped their rankings or kicked them out of Google altogether).
2. Google+ (2011-2012)
Google+ was Google’s answer to Facebook. This update highlights the growing importance of social media for SEO. Don’t get me wrong… Links are still the #1 factor in SEO, but social media signals are becoming more and more important (and I predict they’ll one day be more important than links.) And then, Google moved Google Places (for local businesses) over to Google+ Local, which was yet another step in the direction of integrating SEO with social media.
3. Penguin Update (2012)
With the Penguin update, Google started cracking down and penalizing sites for building suspicious links to their websites. For example, people were creating fake blogs and fake websites for the sole purpose of linking to their main website. And like most manipulative techniques, this was working for a while. But then Google caught on and thousands upon thousands of website owners lost their valuable first-page rankings, overnight.
Where Is Google Headed?
Here’s what I predict for 2013 and beyond…
1. Google will continue to “crack-down” on manipulative SEO
My advice to you is to avoid “old-school,” manipulative SEO techniques. Sure, you can push the envelope and try to boost short-term profits, but it’s just not a smart business decision, in my opinion. I’ve been practicing SEO for many years, long enough to witness several cycles — and I’ve made my own share of mistakes along the way. If you want to maximize your SEO revenues and profits over the long-term, you should keep it clean.
2. Social media rise in importance
It’s clear Google believes social media is the future of SEO. Just pay attention to where they’re focusing their resources. In addition to rolling out Google+, Google has been on an acquisition spree, buying up social media companies. If your company isn’t using social media yet, you need to start in 2013… or you’re going to drop down in the Google rankings.
3. Local SEO becomes even more prominent
Local SEO is a huge growing trend, and it’s only getting bigger. And part of the reason why is because mobile Internet usage is exploding. By 2015 mobile traffic will be bigger than desktop computer Internet traffic (this eclipse has already taken place in other countries like India!) And 40% of all mobile searches are for local businesses. If you want to grow your business online, then you can’t afford to ignore these trends any longer.
What Does This Mean For You?
The real question is: How are you reacting to the latest Google updates?
You basically have 3 options.
Option #1. You can throw in the towel and give up on SEO. And I know many business owners (and even some SEO consultants) who have just walked away from the game because they couldn’t take the rollercoaster ride.
Option #2. You can try to “trick” Google with manipulative short-term tactics and try to stay one step ahead of Google’s team of PhD’s. (Good luck with that! Let me know how that works for you…)
Option #3. You can take the “Wayne Gretzky approach” to SEO
Wayne Gretzky – the greatest hockey player of all time – famously said, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”
When it comes to your SEO strategy, you should focus on where Google’s going to be in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years — and head in that direction TODAY.
So, don’t focus on trying to “trick” or “beat” Google. Instead, focus on what Google really wants — and give Google’s users what they really want. That’s how you’ll win over the long-term.
And, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to wait months to reach the first page of Google. Even today, there are several safe and ethical tactics you can use to gain first page rankings in as little as 30 days.
Main Street ROI is a digital marketing agency based in New York City.
Our mission is to help small businesses thrive. With our services and training, we help small businesses succeed with marketing regardless of their budgets.
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