Talk of SEO’s death is greatly exaggerated

SEO is not dead – and it isn’t going anywhere either.

But don’t just take my word for it, hear what Matt Cutts had to say about the issue last spring:

As long as people are searching the web, you can be sure that there will also be people doing whatever they can to get their own websites ranked as close to the top of the search engines. Even if a search engine set out to build an algorithm that ruined all current SEO tactics and strategies, that algorithm would have its own potential optimization measures and by discovering those a “new” types of search engine optimization would evolve.

You would think this is a pretty basic concept, but it seems like every week someone is posting about the death of SEO.

They might just mean the old tactics don’t work like they used to. Sometimes old tactics even backfire on new algorithms. Yeah, there’s that off chance that you could get burned for something you did last year that isn’t really cool this year.

Chances are though, you’re not going to hurt your website by keeping an eye open on your SEO. On page optimization is pretty essential these days – and that means you can’t have a poor internal linking structure that never reaches deep pages, or a bunch of broken & endless redirects, or duplicate content on multiple URLs. Well, I guess you can, but only if you can afford the opportunity cost of all that lost organic traffic.

And yeah, links still matter

As much as Google has done to banish the worst of the link farms and schemes, it is still incredibly important to get your links out there if you want to be at the top of the search results. The only links that actually matter are few and far between – so finding a long-term link at a stable, related domain can really set you far ahead of all those guys who are trying to build hundreds of backlinks to a forum profile because it has their URL on it. Hell, that random forum profile was probably nofollow anyway…

Unfortunately, as much as I love to summarize and put things in a big picture perspective, I don’t even know how to approach something like a comprehensive guide to SEO.  No post or ebook or domain quite matches the diverse knowledge that can be acquired by reading multiple sources and conducting one’s own experiments.  So if you’re looking for the next bit of info or still have questions about SEO, be sure to browse through the SEO archive to get an idea about what I’ve learned and forgotten in the last few years.


  1. hi John,
    “…learned and forgotten…” LOL.
    If only I could remember half of what I have learned and forgotten, I think I might be a genius. 🙂
    SEO isn’t dead. Bad SEO may be dead, but I think that died a few years ago.
    Quality SEO will always be around… but the rules will keep changing, and only the nimble will stay at the top.
    But I do think that google with local search, personalized search, and the new layout that includes all kinds of different content, has made being on top “across the board” almost impossible… almost. 🙂 ~ Steve, aka “chuck wuz here!”

  2. I agree, there is no way SEO is going away for as long as people are still searching for things online. But a lot of what we know about SEO may change over the next few years since the rules and best practices are always changing.

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