Is SEO dead? Should I fire my SEO company?
There is no right or wrong answer, and as you will see from what I am about to tell you is based mostly on the term SEO itself.
SEO for most stands for ‘search engine optimization.’ SEO itself is not dead, however “SEO’S,” the people who do SEO certainly are a dying breed. Here’s why:
For years the way SEO’s or SEO companies went about ranking websites was very spammy and even a bit seedy. To produce the highest profit margins these companies would use tactics to trick Google into thinking a site was more popular than it actually was. There are many tactics that could be used to do this, the most popular is to buy links from third-party companies. These companies could provide 1000’s of links to a website for a very low cost. Each one of these links would be counted as a popularity vote for the site. Google would see these links, believe it was popular then rank the site higher based on each one of these votes.
Why did Google put a stop to link building?
Google is the number one search engine, and wants to stay that way. Part of the reason why they are number one is due to the fact they provide high quality search results to the people who use it. Better quality search results will keep people using Google, while poor quality results will result in more traffic for Bing and Yahoo.
Think about it this way. If we optimized a swimsuit e-commerce site for the term ‘tummy tuck,’ built a large number of spammy likes using the keyword ‘tummy tuck’ and Google ranked it high for the term, people would end up on the site even though they just wanted the hottest new two-piece. If this type of scenario happened all the time people would start using other search engines.
So is SEO dead or not? SEO is very much alive and doing better than ever. Why? Because Google has always defined what SEO is, and their process is more and more meaningful every day. Google has provided outlets of information to inform us exactly how to best optimize your medical practice website for higher rankings. They have also warned for years not to try to cheat or manipulate their suggestions (DEAD SEO).
So what should I be focused on now? There are many details, too many to list and actually expect someone to finish reading so I will just give you the bullet points.
- Content marketing (what SEO has always meant to Google) – Provide fresh relevant content users of the site will invest time into and enjoy.
- Social media – Google sees your activity on social media. Make a plan and stick to it.
- Provide value (content marketing) – Answer questions no one else is answering. Realself.com traffic and popularity is all due to the simple fact that they add value to the user. You can do the same on your site!
- Mobile – Make sure to have a responsive site, NOT a M.dot website. Take a look at what your site looks like to users and to Google using our free preview tool.
- Onsite SEO – Each page of your site needs to be dialed in and highly crawlable by Google. This often takes time. We spend countless hours increase the page value of each page on a site by making changes to stay ahead of the latest suggested best practices. Since spammy SEO is dead each page of your site needs to be nearly perfect.
Keep in mind most SEO’s will not do the hard labor listed above as there is little profit margins compared to buying tons of cheap, spammy links.
What should I watch out for with my current company of one I am thinking about hiring?
- Link spam – links should never be purchased for your website – especially in bulk. Google will find out and will penalize you.
- Link Networks – Don’t just trade links with other people. A link from my website to your website with a link from your website to mine will at best cancel each other out. If the link coming to your website is not relevant i.e. from a hardware company, a trucking company or a gambling site this link will look spammy to Google.
- Link wheels – Having a large number of links from your site to a large number of other sites that are relevant. At some point Google will catch this and you could face a penalty.
- Press release spam – Yes this can be spam too. A press release from time to time can be a good thing, however sending out a press release every two weeks will look odd to Google and the original links will be devalued.
DO NOT buy into a separate M.dot website (see our blogs on M.dot sites). These duplicate content and do not provide all of your content for Google and users to see on mobile devices. Duplicate content does negatively impact SEO and it should be avoided at all times.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us directly at (800) 549-0170.