This may be a tired question: Does SEO matter anymore?

I’ve always been under the assumption that SEO matters a lot and I had never heard something as absurd as “SEO is dead” until a few months ago when speaking to a developer friend. She did not offer me much of an explanation but I read an article the topic, arguing that it is NOT dead but… I didn’t find the argument convincing. Here are my thoughts.

The article in defense of SEO suggested that previous method of SEO were less relevant (obviously) and that increasingly Google’s algorithms promote better writing and context (sounds good). It’s argument was that SEO is increasingly about writing effective content and providing a sensible experience (mobile responsiveness for example). However it didn’t focus on a few key issues.

First of all, many people may not search Google in order to find resources. Many people may often use social networks in order to decide what is credible information or not. Secondly, this difference could be generational. I am inclined to do Google searches all the time. I can imagine some people may more often ask a friend on Twitter or Facebook. I do do both but perhaps it leans one way more than another.

Additionally, with all the javascript applications going around, SEO has been less effective in that realm. I know it’s better now in 2017 but as recently in 2016 when I was studying Meteor.js, some people recommended that I not use it if I have strong SEO needs.

Have these factors weighed upon SEO? It can’t be accurate to ask whether it’s relevant anymore BUT if the objective of Google’s algorithm is to always prevent a “gaming” of their system, then we’re increasingly left with fewer clear optimization techniques besides the obvious: make good content, define context through links, make a functional page, use semantic code.

Is it possible that SEO is relevant due to those factors?

I wouldn’t say it is dead, it’s just different now.
There is SEO, and there is SEO, or there is black-hat and white-hat, there is on-page and off-page.

This leaves us with little more than white-hat, on-page methods. I don’t see it as a bad thing, when I search, I want the most relevant results, not spam that got there through false pretences.
There is still plenty to be done with this though, creating content, semantic code, structured data, optimising for speed and responsiveness, etc. All things that make you a better developer and create a better site for visitors. If you are a good developer, this is all good.

It’s only bad if you are a poor developer, with a site with nothing of value to offer in terms of content and UX and your only hope of success is to cheat the system. Or an SEO who is still peddling the same tired old methods of the past (and there is no shortage of those vampires) many of whom seem to be either in denial or oblivious to all this.

SEO is relevant so long as people use search engines. True, people may come to sites by other means, but SEs are still widely used.

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SEO is relevant so long as people use search engines. True, people may come to sites by other means, but SEs are still widely used.

Maybe that’s a matter of degree and circumstance. Maybe (just maybe) there are certain audiences and scenarios where SEO will have little impact. I think we can easily imagine a user who will mostly find their content on Facebook and no where else.

Anyway, a main reason I ask this SEO question is because of this: I’m trying to decide on a tech stack for a project. A while ago, because I presumed SEO was super critical to my business needs, I focused on a technology like Django or Drupal–both very effective with traditional concerns of SEO. I have veered away from Javascript applications that render in the browser. I didn’t want to have to deal with the issues there. A year ago Google’s crawlers barely dealt with Javascript content rendered in the browser. Might be different now.

So is possible that with all these factors, that I need not focus on the benefits of server-side rendering for the sake of SEO purposes? Maybe rendering in the browser is good enough for modern SEO needs?

I heard that crawlers are getting better at reading js rendered content, so it’s not such a big deal with regard to SEO these days.
Though user browsers with js disabled still have huge problems with it. :wink:

Okay. Perhaps I shouldn’t worry about that aspect it anymore. I’m also way past the point of worrying about people not using JS.

That’s your choice, of course, but you should look at first. IMHO, the page should have at least basic functionality (for humans and spiders) without JS.

I think SEO and marketing is tightly integrated now, you pay for a website or create it yourself and leave that way you wont earn any money, the people investing in SEO and Marketing will do better unless you have something thats different or so much better than whats out there already. If you have one or the other how will people know about it? I believe 80 billion dollars a year is invested in these services… why is there so much money invested if it’s not important?

I think that white-hat seo will never die because that’s the logic way (in google’s eyes) to get your website promoted in the search results. Regarding black-hat seo for the moment it is not dead but I won’t be surprised if in the future google will reduce its influence significantly.

To a degree the arguments being made are that black-hate SEO is much less relevant. Also, some people like myself suspect others may be spending too much on SEO as a whole.

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Very true @rpeg Black hat is for those that dont believe in doing things correctly and try to cut corners… a good SEO wont need to resort to Black hat tactics as the client will lose in the end and losing clients means losing work…I use some things I consider to be borderline but I bend the rules rather than break them,:slight_smile:

I believe SEO still plays a crucial role to boost online sales and increase business profit. SEO is relevant so long as people use search engines.

SEO might be less relevant than in the past due of google showing a ton of paid results first.

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