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Traditional SEO Is Dead? Has It Evolved Into Something Better? Yes and Yes!

Were you researching how to choose an SEO company to help your business grow online when you read that SEO is dead? Well, fake death reports are a thing on the internet sometimes. Just kidding!
 

Before people could fully figure out what SEO stands for, online myth-factories and naysayers deemed that SEO is dead. Like the real world, the internet is a dynamic place that keeps changing, shunning old practices, and bringing in new ones. It is equally full of myths, especially when it comes to SEO. The reason is that SEO is constantly changing, and that makes it challenging. What people do not understand, they create myths about.

The short answer to the question, ‘Is SEO dead?’ would be no.
SEO isn’t dead. But it’s also an incomplete answer. An SEO company that knows modern Google practices will tell you how many old SEO practices are dead. Google’s algorithms are
always evolving. And, what SEO stands for these days has changed from what SEO was before 2014. So, then, it means that some of SEO is dead, for sure. And the rest has evolved. Let’s find out which one is which. 

Traditional SEO Is Dead, But, What Was It Even?

Before 2014, talking to an SEO company would be very different from today. It would mean using technical terms like domain authority, keywords, backlinks, and metadata. Some of these are still relevant and will always be. For sure, keywords aren’t going anywhere. But, quite a lot of these SEO practices are now redundant or, worse, damaging to your online presence. Below are tools of traditional SEO, dead or dying, that were once quite popular. 

1. Social Bookmarking and Link Directory Submission

High-authority and trustworthy domains with legitimate directories are suitable for your brand. But, in old-school link building, it meant linking with websites and link directories that exist only to sell backlinks to anyone. This kind of SEO tactic never added any real value to that directory’s users. Today, they are spam and get de-indexed by Google. So, beware of an SEO company that says spamming is good SEO.

2. Spinning Articles and Press Releases

Earlier, article spinning and PR releases on other websites were regular for an SEO company in the US (or outside). They came with ‘money’ anchor text for link building. They are not anymore. You cannot have versions of similar content for the sake of article directories and hope not to be flagged by Google. And, if your SEO company is into shady link building, run!

3. Blog Comments and Automated Link Building

Answering blog comments is excellent, but it must be relevant. What SEO stands for today is different from what an SEO company would do earlier. And, that is why you cannot just submit comments to any website with a functioning comment field. Nor can you use automated link-building tools to blast blog comments and other types of links across any number of websites. An SEO company that says these tools are suitable for your website is terrible for your business. A manual penalty from Google should be your worst nightmare.

What Does SEO Stand For In 2021?

From 2010 to the present day, Google’s algorithms have changed a lot with one intent: enhancing content experiences. Earlier it was about providing relevant content. Now, it is more about sharing great content for lead generation. And, lead-generation does not mean using a ‘BIG SALE!’ ad, even content-wise. Driving in website traffic means planning your content for the long term using SEO. Dead, yes, quite a lot of the older SEO tools and practices are. But in 2021, what SEO stands for is quality content based on user intent and experience.

Here are the 4 major components of what SEO stands for in 2021 (#2 is our favourite):

window with a wireframe showing the importance of user experience

1. All about the user experience

Google‘s latest algorithms consider around 200 factors to rank sites on its search engine. Out of them, only a few have worthy results. And they are all about user experience.

 

How long do the users stay on your site? 

How many of you users do not find relevant content and leave? 

Does your website have such great quality content that your page views per unique visitor are high?

 

These factors tell Google how users interact with your website and how they feel about your content. To grow, your business needs an honest SEO person. What does that mean? You need to look for someone who is aware of user  experiences and understand how good content results in lower bounce rates. There are a lot of things apart from updating the content that an SEO company can do to enhance the user experience; you can add infographics; screenshots, graphs, and explainer videos. Visuals increase user engagement on your website and improve rankings on  Google’s search engine result pages.

2. Content that’s intelligent and fun to read

Simply stated, if your SEO company tells you that more content generates more traffic, you need to get a second opinion. Volume is good but doesn’t enhance your Google ranking if it’s not relevant, not focused, not structured, and, well, is mediocre. In older SEO practices, bad content was everywhere. This was because stuffing keywords and backlinks everywhere for Google rankings worked. Though, it made for some really bad reading. 

Content marketing in 2021  requires  high-quality content that is enriched with semantic content topics  that are fun to read while also educating the website visitor. A very interesting case study by Olay showed that switching to educational content can ramp up sales. Instead of pushing on ads that sold products, Olay shifted to ads with a focus on teaching their users about how to take care of their skin. And just like that, they were able to increase click-throughs by 87% and decrease their cost per click by 30%. And, they also increased their conversions by 100%.

3. Real connections between words and links

Google decided that user experience was the best metric to weigh the greatness of a website. Many of the then-popular search engine optimization practices would classify as black hat today. This is because Google is focusing more on the website’s reliability. It is ranking them via a complex system called PageRank. It is based on backlinks, domain age, and domain reputation, all of which take time to build. 

Quality of backlinks takes a higher precedence than quantity. This means that the more the number of backlinks, the better, yes, but only when they are of good quality. And, you will definitely be in trouble if your website is sporting a tonne of poor-quality links. This is bad  for automated link-building programs and link schemes that always violated Google’s webmaster guidelines. And, as discussed in the previous sections, Google these days is not okay with black hat SEO strategies  

microphone icon over a sound wave graph over the text "Voice Search"

4. Content optimized for voice search

As of November 2021, 27% of the online global population is using voice search on mobile, a number that is stated to increase in the future. Earlier, people were more used to typing phrases like “how to choose an SEO company” into the search engine to find answers. Now, you are more likely to ask Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Apple Siri for “how to choose an SEO company”, “find SEO experts” or “best SEO company near me.” And, they’re not only looking for places to reach and things to buy. 

People look for information, yes, but also education. They use Google to do a lot of their daily activities. People look up recipes, cooking processes, DIY activities, medical help, lifestyle guidance, social support, marketing tips, and more. Anything that can be answered via question. A good modern SEO agency is serious about getting your content discovered (something Google loves) and ranked higher up on Google’s search engine result page (SERP). 

To enhance your content for voice search means using increasing levels of  user intent and context in your content marketing. Optimize  content for local searches by using local search engine optimization. Doing that means quite a few things:

 

    • Using keywords and phrases referring to your location in your content,
    • Incorporating landmarks around your business location,
    • Adding “near me” in your content,
    • Using the titles of local institutions that are relevant to your business,
    • Creating concise yet conversational content,
    • Using structured data,
    • Registering your business in the Google My Business listing,
    • Having a mobile-friendly website
    • Creating content that answers your users’ frequently asked questions (FAQs), 
person with question marks around

How To Choose A SEO Company?

There are so many things changing on Google Search each week, and you need to stay on top of it. SEO will keep on evolving with evolving user attitudes. And, for a business to grow it needs to know and adapt to changing user attitudes. And, how do you do that? Ironic as it sounds, you get yourself a digital marketing company with SEO specialists to help you:

What to look for when hiring an SEO company?

The earlier you hire an SEO company, the better it is. Whether you are redesigning your website or getting a new one ready for launch, it is better to have your website designers work with your SEO team. That way, your SEO team can make sure that your site is designed right from scratch to be search engine-friendly.

Now, we know, a lot many things go into making a worthy SEO company. It mainly includes in-depth market and competitor research, knowledge of how to use content to grow a business, a track record of increasing blog traffic, and dependable and agnostic leadership that comes with complete transparency. But, how to know which SEO company fits your business the best? 

The trick is to ask the right questions.

Some important questions that you could ask are:

1. To check out the SEO company’s history, start with these questions:

  • Since when has the SEO company been in business?
  • Have they developed international sites before?
  • Would the SEO company be able to share its previous successes and examples of earlier work?
  • What is the SEO company’s experience in your industry/country/city?

2. To see if your company follows legitimate SEO practices and knows what your business needs:

  • How important is SEO to your company?
  • Do they also pay attention to local SEO and technical SEO?
  • Does the SEO company follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
  • What are the most important SEO techniques to grow your business?
  • To complement organic search business, do they provide any online marketing services, such as social media?
  • Will the SEO company be doing a technical or search audit of your website or not? 
  • What kind of tangible results can you hope for? 
  • By when will you know how successful the SEO team was?

These questions will help you find out if the SEO company you are interviewing is using legitimate SEO practices or not. 

3. To see how responsive the SEO company is going to be:

  • Will they give you detailed information about their recommendations and the reasoning behind them?
  • What are your chances of communicating with the SEO team? 
  • Will they share all the changes they make to your site with you?

These questions will allow you to understand whether your SEO company will remain in sync with your goals. Communication is key. You need to make sure that your SEO company will provide a reasonable amount of back and forth communication.

Other SEO Key Performance Metrics

A good SEO company will ask you questions. This is another key performance metric (KPI) when choosing an SEO company to work with. These are 5 questions you should get asked by your SEO expert before working with them:

  • Have you used SEO services before? If yes, how was your experience? 
  • What makes your business unique and valuable to customers?
  • What is your customer base? What are your competitors like?
  • Do you simply want to grow your business via organic traffic or search results? Or do you want more?
  • Do you use any other advertising channels? Would you like to?

The right questions will lead you to the best SEO company for your business. Before you choose, check for references or a track record of your SEO company. Past client reviews or education presented as value are good signs of SEO experience

How do you choose an SEO Company?

A great sign is if your SEO company can forecast or estimate the amount of improvement that your website will undergo and provide you with a timeline for it. And, yes, beware of any SEO people who “promise” you a place in the first place in Google search results. If they do, you need to decide which way to exit from. At MK Way, we often mention that we need to get to the first page of Google – where 90% of the traffic goes. Stating the obvious and creating a plan to get there are two different steps. 

A few things that you need to understand and take into your stride before you hire are: 

  • Commit to the changes recommended by your SEO team.
  • Recommended changes will take time and effort for great SEO cannot be fast-forwarded.
  • If you are not ready to put in the time and effort, SEO might not help, and you should consider Paid Ads, social media marketing or a digital marketing strategy with a shorter pay-back period and higher ROI (return on investment).

     

So, are you ready for modern SEO?

Here is another happy customer enjoying organic website visitors, where we worked on search engine optimization and content creation; even when we stopped working with them their traffic climbed before finding a new height.

graph for runwayhealth.ca visitor showing the impact of using blogs / content creation

If you are a small business owner with a restricted marketing budget, Get a proposal from MK-Way. When you work with us, you get a “CMO” (Chief Marketing Officer), and not another sales rep who sells you services  to meet their monthly sales quota. We’re an SEO company based on transparency and empathy marketing.

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