SEO is dead, or so say tech pundits frustrated with the increasing impact of social media and ever-changing Google algorithms. But a new study from research firm Conductor argues that search engine optimization isn’t underground just yet; their findings predict increased use through 2013.
A recent Business 2 Community blog post talks about the confusion that surrounds search optimization, confusion often increased by the sheer number of opinions on the subject, for example
As a result, business owners are often unsure about the role of search and keyword optimization for their company–should it be used, and if so, how?
Several of these opinions are easily debunked. For example, strategies that use keywords, title tags, and URLs to capture a search engine’s attention (white hat) are entirely above-board. Only processes that artificially inflate a websites’ ranking (black hat) are a problem. In addition, the role of social media and content marketing are best viewed as augments to optimization, not replacements; content marketing is actually just one factor in traditional SEO, while social media “likes” and “shares” function in much the same way as links, increasing a website’s perceived authority and relevance.
In turn, this leads to the conclusion that SEO is not, in fact, headed for an early grave, and a new study offers supporting data.
That’s what the new Conductor survey predicts for search engine optimization in 2013, with 78 percent of respondents confident that its role will continue to gain importance over the next year, 60 percent increasing the number of employees on dedicated search optimization teams, and 63 percent confident that the understanding of content strategies has increased among executives. The study cites SEO’s maturity as part of the reason for this growth, along with increased use by marketing departments hoping to meet new online business objectives. In other words, while typical optimization strategies aren’t quite so shiny as social referrals or mobile search evolution, they’re by no means obsolete.
The year 2013 should be a banner one for search engine optimization and despite lingering confusion about exactly what falls under its purview, reports of its demise are premature. Expect a fusion of traditional techniques with social site referrals and an increased focus on content (thank Google for that), and a resulting hybrid that adapts to business needs rather than forcing rigid paradigm alignment.