“Here’s the mental model you need to understand why Google does what it does in the search results: we want to return really good search results to users so that they’re happy, so that they’ll keep coming back. That’s basically it: happy users are loyal users.”
These words of wisdom come from the mouth of Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team. They tell the ‘secret’ behind Google’s attitude towards search engine optimization, or SEO.
SEO: Dead or Alive?
SEO has been a hot topic over the past few years—and more recently, the conversation has turned towards the death of SEO. There are plenty of headlines predicting the death of SEO, but these posts don’t provide very convincing evidence that SEO is, in fact, on its way out.
Our opinion? SEO isn’t dead; it’s simply evolving.
Back to Basics
SEO is a multifaceted and often multi-channel support method intended to improve a website’s online presence. For example, SEO will help your website rank higher in Google searches that use keywords relevant to your website.
Coming back to our opening quote, Google wants to please its customers: when a customer types a few words into the search engine, Google wants to provide them with the best matches possible so that the customers find what they’re looking for.
SEO works with Google to make sure that it can deliver to its customers. SEO means building strong websites that offer a great user experience. So, if a customer Googles keywords that match up with your site’s content, they’ll be happy if Google coughs up your name first.
Google is our Friend
Note that we said working WITH Google. SEO isn’t about tricking Google—after all, if someone is searching a topic that has nothing to do with your website and you “trick” them into coming to your website, they’ll probably just leave. They’ll be annoyed at you, and they’ll be annoyed at Google for not giving them what they want.
SEO is about helping companies like Google do their job—while helping the website owners improve their web pages and the user experience. Happy users like to stick around.
The Evolution of SEO
Why do people think that SEO is a dying field? Probably because SEO algorithms and techniques are constantly changing. SEO strategies that worked a year ago might be stale now, meaning Google has changed the way it decides how a site will be ranked.
Since SEO involves lots of moving pieces — including traditional methods like improved meta data, keyword and key phrase research, and proper tag usage—there’s a lot going on at once. It might be accurate to say that some parts of SEO are dying, but in their place, newer, more effective SEO methods are popping up. SEO isn’t dying; it’s regenerating.
There are thousands of factors that play into SEO, with dozens of changes happening every month. That’s a lot to keep up with, which is why it’s important to ensure that your SEO guru is up to snuff. SEO is serious business—ignoring it altogether can harm you. If your website unintentionally is poorly formatted for SEO, it can actually be penalized in search engine results. Yikes.
The key to good SEO is a good SEO person who adapts to changes as SEO evolves. Psst… we can help with that!