Every couple of months we see a new post decrying the death of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). There’s actually some very good reasons for these posts, but when you’ve heard the boy cry wolf for over a decade, it can get old. Yet these days, I think they’ve got a point…
Black Hat & White Hat
Let’s be clear – black hat SEO seems to be doing well. It’s mostly white hat’s that have been hammered by Google. If you did everything they said you should do, you can still find yourself in a really hard place – unable to develop the authorship, the link profiles, the relevance and authority that you need by playing their game especially with new properties.
On the other hand, going down the black hat route is fraught with danger. Make a mistake and you can wipe out – completely. You could lose everything you’ve built up, or worst – build up in anticipation (or with current sales) and see it all disappear in a blink of the eye when Google catches you. Not a great thing… I’ve seen it happen before.
So, is SEO dead? Is white hat SEO dead?
Just A Name Change
Not really. What’s happened is a name change – a rebranding. Now all the white hat SEO’s are calling themselves ‘inbound marketers’. They’ve expanded their game, from pure manipulation of on-page content and on-page information to include things like content creation, Public Relations and events and the like.
It’s not new – it’s been happening for a while now, but the focus has continued to expand so much with the changes Google has forced us on all that it’s now the thing. You can’t drive links in anyway other than via PR or good content creation. You have to plan for some real ‘whiz-bang’ in your marketing now, or else it’ll just die.
It’s possible to do it other ways, to do it slow and quiet; to get guest posts and to reach out to bloggers and the like. Yet, that’s still PR – just in the guise of link building. It’s certainly made start-up costs much, much higher. Now, you’ll have to be willing to shell out real money to get content and views; all in the hope that somehow it’ll get you what you need.
The game’s changed, and frankly; it’s not for the better I think. Capital needs have definitely gone up.