SEO, to me, is dead. Now understand I never really was a huge proponent of off-page SEO in the first place, I just don’t care about it one bit anymore. And when I say SEO, I don’t mean:
1. The profession as a whole
2. On-page/site SEO
3. Developing linking via relationships and social media
Why have I given up on off-page SEO?
- Because the rules change too often for a proper business to worry about it.
- The effort to manage it for an actual small business owner has gotten too out of control
- It isn’t that important anymore
Let’s break this down shale we
The rules change too often
Let’s say Bob Jacomoni’s Plumbing spent years building links to his site, or just putting out great content that other sites linked to. Google told him that was great and not to worry about the links from bad neighborhoods, they knew it wasn’t his fault and keep on keeping’ on.
Now Google is telling Bob that if he doesn’t clean up his links (Panda, Penguin) that he will see a massive drop in search engine rankings.
But Bob is too busy unclogging Mrs. Jones toilet to pay attention until one day all the happy organic traffic Bob used to get is gone…and so is his business because he relied too heavily on organic search to grow his business.
This is just one particular item that Google has changed it’s mind on, and in efforts to keep this post short enough for you to grind through it, I used linking as my lead-off hitter, but there’s more!
Now let’s talk about the effort
Off-page SEO is a full-time job. It’s not something you can start then stop. You have to constantly care and feed that beast if you want to stay on top. The reason again is the changes. But contractors don’t have the time to stay up to date on all the things that need to be done to keep their off-page SEO house in order, so they find themselves again, losing traffic.
Lastly, it isn’t that important
Of the three items I list, this one will be the most controversial because many of you still get plenty of organic traffic. But here’s where the wheels come off that wagon.
Search is losing steam because the way to go about getting at our information is changing. It used to be that Google WAS the destination. Now people are STARTING with sites like Facebook (which has a search component built in) or Twitter (which acts as real-time news delivery to begin with) to find out what is going on, to ask questions and to get their news for the day. So while Google still rules the roost when it comes to search, we are searching less as a whole as information is pushed to us.
Understand, when I say searching less, there are still hundreds of billions of searches a month, but there is a change afoot. How we get at our information isn’t the same as it was just a few years ago.
Social media is taking on more of the responsibility of search in terms of prospect A asking past-client B for a recommendation for project C.
You see, Google, by it’s very nature, is turning into the old Yellow Pages by being just a “directory” of listings. There are no reviews per se, there are no citations or validations or recommendations like you get from social. Sure Google puts in the effort, but for the most part, it’s only been about the search result.
And one final nail in the coffin, the effort…
The effort put in to maintaining position on a page via SEO is a fool’s errand because all the work you do will be labeled as either obsolete or worse, illegal in terms of search at some point in the future.
Meantime, spend that same time building a network or community via social media and people will eventually beat a path to your door for your efforts.
Because putting in the effort with social will yield actual relationships that you can grow and nurture offline while worrying about a 1st place listing will only make you a target to other companies, keeping you on that hamster wheel forever!
And that’s why, I think, social trumps search! What do you think? Give me your opinion in the comments below.
Photo Credit: brunoronner