Is SEO Dead?

By Samuel Frost
Is SEO Dead?


Visit any popular Internet marketing or webmaster forum and a common question you will find people asking is whether search engine optimization (SEO) is dead or not. This is a pertinent question, considering that the 2012 Google Penguin update had a severe impact on many SEO strategies. 

Is it still possible to increase your search engine ranking by building links? Does on-page SEO still have any value? In today’s blog post, you will discover if SEO is still effective as it once was.

Google’s “Penguin” update is at the center of the current debate over the effectiveness of SEO. This change to the Google search algorithm was released with the intention of cutting down on web spam. In particular, Google’s algorithm engineers hoped that the Penguin update would reduce the prominence of websites using so-called “black hat” link building methods to push their websites higher up the search engine rankings. 

Many websites fell from first page rankings overnight. Internet marketing forums swelled with angry and frustrated webmasters, complaining that Google had once again ruined the livelihoods of many.

Does SEO still have any value in this extremely difficult environment? Despite the clamouring masses claiming that SEO is finished, you will actually find that it is still useful for driving more traffic and higher search engine rankings. In fact, a massive opportunity is now afoot for those who are willing to adapt to the changing state of SEO play.

On-page SEO Secrets

The Penguin update was supposed to have hit websites that were "excessively" optimized for on-page SEO. This meant a whole heap of webmasters and affiliates started to panic and worry that, just perhaps, all their on-page efforts were in vain. Imagine building a whole site where you had strategically done every bit of on-page optimization you could think of, only to have Google turn around and tell you that this could actually see you being penalized.

No wonder so many people thought that on-page SEO was dead.

However, I can unequivocally promise you that on-page SEO is still relevant. In fact, it is more relevant than ever. You see Google weren't simply stepping in the ring to K.O. on-page optimization; they were actually after sites that had more optimization than content. 

These are the kind of sites that fill their articles with header tags, bolded keyword phrases, and keyword-stuffed image ALT tags, and don't actually offer much in the way of content at all. They might use poorly rewritten PLR articles, very short, or spammy content. However, for a long time these types of sites were able to rank highly in Google through a combination of clever on-page optimization, and link building.

Now that Google Penguin has been rolled out, proper on-page SEO is more important than ever. The secret? 

Make sure you place the importance of your content before any optimization techniques. To put it simply, you must focus on delivering great value to your readers, and then you can work on making things more appealing for the search engines.

Here's a quick "on-page SEO cheatsheet" to help you:

  • Write for humans, not for search engines
  • Try and aim for at least 400 words per article
  • Avoid keyword stuffing
  • Use keyword variations frequently
  • Link related articles on your website together (internal linking)
  • Add alt tags to your images, based on keywords
  • Increase visitor retention by embedding YouTube videos in your content

Follow the above and you'll soon realize that on-page SEO is not dead. But what about link building (off-page SEO)

The Truth About Link Building

Over the past 12 months keen affiliates have seen the following forms of link building take a real pounding from Google:

  • Article directory marketing
  • Web 2.0 sites
  • Blog networks
  • Social bookmarking sites

Now these methods all still work (in fact, they provide a great "base" for your link building efforts) But they are not the guaranteed source of first page rankings that they used to be. Link building has definitely become more difficult, because it requires a more concerted effort to "think outside the square".

So, is off-page SEO dead? 

Certainly not! Link building is alive and kicking. However, Google wants you to focus on building links through sources that provide more value to search users. This means building links by creating fantastic content that naturally attracts links. You can also supercharge this process by guest blogging, creating link-bait, or using press releases to announce your website to the world.

Instead of going after the "low-hanging fruit", you want to focus on building links that take a little bit more effort, but that also offer far greater reward.

In conclusion, it is clear that SEO is not actually dead. There will always be that select group of naysayers who believe the "sky is falling" after every Google update. However, if you can avoid getting caught up in that negative train of thought then you will realize that there is actually huge opportunity available to build powerful and profitable affiliate websites (even after the Penguin update)

How do you capitalize on this opportunity to build profitable affiliate websites? (while everyone else is stressing that SEO and affiliate marketing are dying) By following Mark Ling's AffiloBlueprint course, you will get to see step-by-step how a "super affiliate" is still using his time-tested method for building highly profitable affiliate sites. 

AffiloBlueprint has been fully updated for 2012, and teaches you the most effective SEO methods including how to guest blog, create link bait, and overcome Google's algorithm updates. Mark will show you how to build a money-making website from start to finish!

For the next 24 hours only you can get full access to AffiloBlueprint for a very special discounted price of $97. After this, it will go back to the regular price of $197 - so get in quick! Go here to secure your copy of AffiloBlueprint.

Nathan Barrett 10 years ago
As far as the article writing if your not the best at it or don't like doing it. Is there a way to explain this type of seo writing to a freelancer?

Or how would you describe this new kind of article writing to a freelancer?
Samuel Frost 10 years ago
I would explain that you want to use your keywords a few times per article, and provide a list of bullet points for SEO writing style (clear paragraphs, bullet points where possible, etc)

Mark has a great compilation of tips on this here -
SEO is not dead. Infact tweak traditional and organic SEO practises with Social Media. I bet you will get results.
Samuel Frost 10 years ago
Social media can definitely help to boost your SEO!
Fakhir Khan 10 years ago
Sam I am quite agree with you because SEO has a very long future. Those people who do not know the basics and stuck into some kind of SEO trend will always try to demotivate other SEO's. Now everyone should keep that in mind that unless anything is happening naturally to your site, any Google update can't harm your rankings. Truth is truth and lie is lie.
matt 10 years ago
I don't think it's dead but it has gotten a lot more diffcult
Samuel Frost 10 years ago
Hi Matt,

It's gotten more difficult to achieve easy rankings. However, if you can break through by using SEO methods such as guest blogging, you will achieve far greater traffic than normal.
Hussein Said 10 years ago
This is one of the most clear and straight forward posts regarding the latest Google Penguin update, other posts include almost the same ideas and keypoints but this one particularly is easier to understand. Actually now i'm involved in a group on FB that every memeber put the link to his post and the fellow members share it through social media, sometimes it gets to the page 1 of Google without any link building according to competition. English language is not my first language, it was difficult for me to write in the beginning but with practice and reading about copywriting i figured out that anyone can write in any topic he wants as long as he has knowlege and passion about the topis and wants to make difference in his life.
Steve Crossley 10 years ago
I bought Affiloblueprint 2 when it first came out. Since then I havent done much but am able to start now. Do I really need to get the newer version before I get started or just follow the basics and update when I can afford it? Especially in regard to SEO?
Samuel Frost 10 years ago
Hi Crozza,

AffiloBlueprint 3.0 has a much expanded SEO section (there are a lot of SEO videos, whereas 2.0 doesn't have as much focus on SEO)

You also get the powerful Affilotheme, which helps you to build much more modern websites than xSitePro.

Remember too that you get a big discount if you are an upgrading customer. All in all, upgrading to version 3.0 is definitely worth the small outlay.
Troy Todd 10 years ago
Hey Sam,
Very good article mate.
I think before the Panda update and Penguin update...that you had to do this and do that...check this and check that..etc..etc.. when it comes to SEO optimization. Now, I think it is easier...because we can and should just focus on building a high quality site with great content and not be so pedantic about SEO and trying to game Google. Seo is still important, however quality and user interaction now play a big part in rankings. I also think we rely too much on Google. Do not place all your eggs in one basket... and look at multiple traffic streams.
Bruce 10 years ago
Thanks foir this information. I have been using SEO advice that is apparently pre-Penguin. I am going back to edit out some of the old on page SEO stuff now! I appreciate your help!
Samuel Frost 10 years ago
Hi Bruce,

No worries. Just remember that ensuring you have lots of high quality content is far more important than any on page SEO technique. Keep that in mind and you can't go far wrong!
Paul Tagent 10 years ago
Like the "SEO cheat sheet!"
To get the best results in search, I advise doing "little and often" when it comes to on and off site marketing activity. Yes, make sure your site is in a good condition and yes, write good quality content, but, above all, dont expect a quick fix to getting on page 1 for your key phrases.
Authenticity is key and good sites will create their own in bound links. Not only that, but an effective social media strategy combined with an active blog will make a massive difference.
steve 10 years ago
great post sam!
I'm glad some people are keepin g their sense about them about google updates. if you use seo reporting tools like rankranger you will see that its all cyclical
Bob Young 10 years ago
I like the direction that Google is going with its emphasis on quality content and serving its inquiring audience. You suggestion to concentrate first on your reader and second on the search engines will result in better experience for everyone.
Andrew 10 years ago
Great bits of info! SEO is not dead at all... it is like print - people got their Kindles or read news online and still you will always appreciate a hardcopy of any information when the batteries die on you...I think SEO is an everchanging industry...has been and will be. Plus, I think a majority of people around are just starting with will be interesting to see what's gonna happen in the next 2-3 years.
karmakar.anup 10 years ago
Hi Sam,
Its really a good topic of discussion and you have done it quite well and in depth to understand the whole game post panda and penguin.
Surely its not dead but need to be more cautious being natural and no junk on the page and off page to link back from high rated relevant sites.
Thanks Sam.
Abby Daniels 10 years ago
SEO is not dead. The relationship building aspect is dead though. Now a days marketers are just putting up sites left and right and hope the make sale, SMH
David King 10 years ago
great post sam! I'm glad some people are keepin g their sense about them about google update
jardine 10 years ago
You are very true with your thoughts here Sam.. You really gave us the idea that seo is not really dead and I really believed that SEO will never be dead. Google just want us online marketers to be more honest with our seo techniques..
John Clark 10 years ago
Don't copy paste others comments, try to give your own thoughts. yes it is important to give comment in relevant blogs. I must say this is a nice blog. I have come here for the first time, I will come here again.
James 10 years ago
It only makes sense for Google to do this. Their main draw is relevant results for people doing searches. It can be frustrating to try to find information on a topic and all you get are page after page of e-zine, squidoo, etc junk. They ha e to keep the masses coming back to stay in business. Plus it's got the added benefit to Google of pushing more marketers to pay Google for pay-per-click services. Like everything else, we just need to keep adapting.
Vinicius 10 years ago
SexyBookmarks is definitely cool, I ecexpt to see it in the list for 2011, while the only reason that WPML is not in this list is the fact that not all WP sites need multilanguage capability. Otherwise WPML would definitely be there as it is probably the best multilanguage plugin.