Why SEO Isn't Dead: Unpacking the Myth and Looking at the Evidence

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Content and Digital Marketing Strategist
Sep 21, 2023

There's a phrase that's been circulating in digital marketing circles for several years now: "SEO is dead." It's an attention-grabbing statement, and while it may cause some initial concern, don’t be alarmed. Let's delve into why SEO is alive, kicking, and as important as ever.

Evolution ≠ Extinction

According to a report from BrightEdge, 68% of all online experiences begin with a search engine. In addition, organic search drives 53% of all website traffic, that's over half of all the digital traffic, a staggering number when compared to paid search that drives about 15% and social media with only 5%. Simply put, organic search (and thus, SEO) remains the dominant source for online visibility.

The claim that SEO is dead usually stems from its undeniable evolution. The tactics that worked 10 years ago, like keyword stuffing and link farming, are no longer effective and can even harm your website. Google, with its myriad of algorithm updates, ensures that the best content gets to its users. But this evolution doesn't mean SEO is dead—it means it's maturing.

Integrity Digital Marketer Donna Fox says it best, “SEO still lives, it’s just going to be different. How success is measured is what’s going to be radically different. Where do you think Google’s AI is getting those answers to queries? From top-ranked website pages.”

With the rise of AI, Google has incorporated quality detection at multiple stages. The algorithm itself was not created to find low quality AI-generated content, but has automatically discovered it. This also aligns with Google’s Helpful Content system announcement designed to identify content that is written by humans.

Mobile and Voice Search are Growing

With the rise of mobile device usage, mobile search has grown exponentially. Furthermore, voice search, powered by assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, is becoming increasingly prevalent. Mobile devices have changed the way people search for information and interact with websites with over 60% of all searches now conducted on mobile devices. This requires websites to be optimized for local SEO, conversational queries, and mobile usability. For voice search, websites will need to adapt their content to be more natural language-based. Ignoring SEO means missing out on this vast audience segment.

User Experience and SEO are Intertwined

Google's algorithms now focus on user experience. Metrics like page speed, mobile-friendliness, and user dwell time have become SEO factors. In 2020, Google's introduction of Core Web Vitals, a set of metrics related to speed, responsiveness, and visual stability, further emphasized this connection. Ensuring a top-notch user experience is now synonymous with good SEO practices. As we say at Integrity, the user experience is the brand.

Organic SEO Yields Long-Term Results

While PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns can offer immediate visibility, their effects are short-term, disappearing from the limelight as soon as you stop paying. Organic SEO, on the other hand, is a long-term strategy. The effort you put into optimizing your website today can yield results for months or even years, providing an impressive return on investment.

Like any other field, SEO undergoes changes and refinements, but its core essence remains intact. Businesses and brands that understand the value of SEO will be better positioned to connect with their audience, build trust, and ensure long-term visibility. If anything, as the digital realm becomes more crowded and competitive with the influence of AI, the importance of SEO will only continue to grow.

Ready to elevate your SEO game? Our digital marketing team at Integrity can take you to new heights!

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