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:
- The profession as a whole
- On-page/site SEO
- 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
- 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 shall we?
The rules change too often
Let’s say Bob Jacomoni’s Plumbing spent years building links to his site, or just putting loads of links in his footer because some design shop said Google liked that (they don’t, and really never did).
Now Google is telling Bob that if he doesn’t clean up his links (Panda, Penguin or some other nefarious zoo-like creature wreaking havoc on his site) 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. Now Bob calls me asking what can he do.
This is just one particular item that Google changed its mind on, and in an effort to keep this week’s newsletter 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 using 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, or Instagram to see what’s new in the world of images. So Google isn’t the first site most people visit when they get online anymore.
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 its 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.
The nail in the coffin, the effort…
The effort put into 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 with a solid blog or 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. Blogging builds your credibility as an expert while worrying about a 1st place listing on Google will only make you a target to other companies, keeping you on that hamster wheel forever!