How many historic phrases have ended with “- is dead”? For us in the world of internet marketing, the words “SEO is dead” rang like a death knell and algorithmic updates to Google and other search engines were the ones holding the bloody daggers. Over dramatization and hyperbole aside, the “death” of SEO was a dark day for many who honed their skills at website optimization to help their clients climb search engine rankings. Quality content became the new name of the game. Old dogs would have to learn new tricks or fall by the evolutionary wayside for refusal to adapt. They new mantra for internet marketing sounded as though a bold new monarch was claiming the throne of a decrepit, deposed, and dethroned former ruler. “SEO is dead. Content is King.” That death declaration was a bit premature, though, as traditional SEO pulled a Lazarus to remind everyone of what was so great about it in the first place, and to rule with King Content as an advisor of sorts. See, to call something that is still used, but in adapted ways, completely dead is naïve. Traditional SEO and modern, content-driven best practices drive and inform each other to truly improve a website’s rankings. It’s not enough just to have great content if no one is going to your website to read and consume it, just as it’s moot to drive people to your website without relatable, informative, useful, interesting and engaging content that will encourage further action and conversion. This begs the question, “How can we use traditional SEO in the modern era for the best pay off?”
To evaluate what traditional techniques can be adapted into the new era, one must first circle back to the motive behind search engines’ actions against SEO. Black hat SEO, dubbed so for the unethical manipulative tactics used to increase a site’s rankings, was a major driver for search engines to “get smarter” and ultimately “kill off” the remaining value of traditional SEO methods. If one uses white hat SEO techniques and pairs them with writing quality content, it becomes a symbiotic recipe for success. Building quality links, using keywords wisely in optimized, quality content, optimizing meta tags for any images or content on the site all still hold their value. Don’t be afraid to kick it old school and raise the dead. There’s a lot to learn from the past.