SEO is Dead? It was never "SEO" anyway...

What does SEO stand for? It is an acronym for Search Engine Optimisation... so what does that mean? Who really optimizes a search engine? Actually, only the people optimising a search engine are the people working at that search-engine company; they optimize their search engines ability to select and refer the most informative, relevant and up to date web pages available, relating to what the user is seeking.

So what do these so-called SEO's do then? Optimize websites... to make the website more attractive to the search engine; seeking it's referral. Optimization of websites improperly being referred to as "SEO" is a subject that we at OptiMax® have discussed for years, and we predicted the eventual downturn of the ever so popular acronym. Back then we chose to optimise our own site for the most simple reference to the art ... "website optimization". We set out to become #1 on the biggest search engine in the world for this search on google.com.au. After some years we won the crowning position for this search on Google Australia for both the Australian and American spelling versions. We proudly and strongly retain these positions today.

Now that we have reached year 2013, the most popular industry claim seems to be that "SEO is dead", or "SEO as we know it is dead!". I have found plenty of articles like this recently, but nothing that really offers any reasonable dissection, suggestions or solution such as I attempt to offer in the following. The articles are all about the predicted end of "SEO". So what does OptiMax® think of that? We think it is great! Because apparently "SEO" as we know it is link building... more specifically volumes of dummy links pointing to a websites home page.

If you are an "SEO" and you are worried about your customers and hence your business, then keep reading; because we have been waiting and preparing for this for years, and I am always happy to reveal my thoughts and predictions. This is not only about what is to come this round or this year, but also beyond. Just like we did years ago, meeting and thinking and then predicting this, we are now thinking and predicting what is to follow this; more about this toward the end of this article.

The Link Building Strategy

The strategists and engineers at Google are well aware that "SEO's" think they know that if they point enough (anchor-text) links to a website target page, then it will move up in the search results for the anchor-text used in that inbound link.

Many SEO's know this should look like the links are occurring naturally, however few "SEO's" go to the trouble of making it look like the target page really is attracting links naturally. Most "SEO's" still use automatic linking software to place high volumes of low quality links, from low quality suspect pages that are already saturated with other phony links. This traditional form of "SEO" is already dead I agree, yes!

We make no secret of our strategy at Optimax®, to use a low volume of carefully placed high quality links from informative trusted sources... this is nothing new, you can read our other web-pages all about how we use just a few high quality links.

It goes much deeper - I believe there are two main reasons the industry is currently in a frenzy over the prediction that "SEO" is soon to dramatically change or die, abandoning "link building".

Firstly - I think many "SEO's" are supporting and ramping the prediction that the "all new" Google algorithm is abandoning link building only because they don't know how to serve links effectively, and acquiring decent links is difficult work and hard to imitate. Nor do most know where to source effective links from, or how to create their own powerful back-links. Therefore they welcome the new argument that the algorithm is reverting back to "On-Page" programming. Inexperienced or lazy "SEO's" would love to get back to the good old days of tweaking keywords, code and content in order to improve and win positions in the results.

Secondly - Because Google wants us to believe this; as it is a widely known fact that serving links improves website positions in a search, and most "SEO's" believe they have manipulated Google this way, and many probably have. This is not Google moving away from link building, but a greater move from volume to quality links from genuinely informative and trusted pages with links that are appear naturally occurring. The 'SEO' industry has geared itself to build phony links and openly sells itself as "back-link" builders. Therefore Google clearly would want to continually make itself less vulnerable to "SEO's" who are attempting to manipulate the web page results that it chooses to refer.

To be successful in optimizing web pages, one has to think about "what does Google want?" Over years I have spent thousands of hours contemplating this question...

Google wants to give us access to knowledge that can offer cross reference to additional information between sources via relevant links, throughout a network of up to date, high quality pages.

So why would Google abandon referring pages that link together with other quality knowledgeable pages?

In short, it will not.

A Successful Optimisation

The success of OptiMax® is greatly due to our desire to oblige the search engine, rather than to trick or manipulate it into referring our customers pages.

At Optimax® meeting I always talk about "how would we explain ourselves if the Google algorithm became so super intelligent that it turned into a human form, walked in the room and asked 'so what are you up to here?'"

Now we would want a very good explanation to save all of our customers business's that rely on their rankings, as well as our own business! I continually attempt to present our work in a way that I could honestly answer by saying "Mr. Google, we are doing only what I am now doing on this very page; and that is publishing genuine quality up to date information, and offering handy links to other related pieces of similarly quality information".

Our own website ranks highly on Google not only because of links but this forthcoming of information you consume first hand as you read this.

Beyond This Era

Early in this piece I promised to make (a bold) prediction of what I think is to come in years - I believe success in winning referrals from the search algorithm will involve the practical use of links such as the volume of natural traffic through it. I believe Google will monitor not only what users are doing as they move throughout web pages on the same site (visitor behavior) but assess more deeply there behavior as they move between the pages of information via the links between them. A much stronger assessment of popular user behavior is what I predict will control optimization outcome much more in the coming years. One reason why I predict this is because nobody can imitate this, or it would be extremely difficult to imitate. It is also telling proof of a network of genuinely useful information.

Website Optimisation Can Never Die

The fact is as long as there is a search engine, someone's web pages must rank at the top of it, and there always must be a valid reason why the page is there. While optimizers can reverse-engineer to discover what that reason is, there will always exist an art of website optimisation!

If I am right with my predictions, then what we must do to oblige Google is provide a bank of interlinked, quality, relevant and up to date knowledge, of which our target pages become a part of for a fair share of the traffic.

I think eventually with optimisation it wont matter so much if your webpage is actually at the top of Google or not, rather that it attracts traffic through links from the pages that are there.

Peter Smithson
Founder and Managing Director OptiMax®