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Is Search Engine Optimisation Dead?

If you have websites, you will no doubt be contacted daily by someone who will promise they will put you at the top of Google with their Search Engine Optimisation services. In fact if I don’t receive several offers a day, I think my email must have stopped working! But does SEO still work?

Because it wants to make more money, Google has decided that it wants to make it harder for your website to get a free ride in the organic search listings when you are trying to attract new business, so you will spend money with them with Adwords. (Fancy a business wanting to reduce freeloaders and make more money.) So Google has increased the number of ads it puts on a page and made them a little more difficult to distinguish from organic searches while cracking down on some SEO techniques that used to work.

That doesn’t mean you still can’t get to the top of Google with SEO, it just means that you need to be very focused with your keywords especially as more businesses than ever are fighting to appear in those precious top few positions. If you are choosing a plumber in your area, you will likely only look at the top 3 websites, and there are probably a couple of dozen or more plumbers who service your area all fighting for the same business, and all fighting to knock you off your pedestal if you are one of the lucky few in those top spots. So even staying at the top is a battle. In fact, it’s an arms race. One way or another you will have to spend money to stay on top.

So what else can you do?

Well you can do what Google wants you to do and pay them for ads and if you bid high enough, or design an ad with a high Click Through Rate, you can even be above the top organic searches.

But there are also other ways of driving traffic to your website. You can give Google the flick now that Facebook offers a very competitive advertising service where you can target your ads to specific demographics- age, gender, interests. While Google offers a version of this, it’s playing catchup. Other Social Media sites also offer advertising with their own versions of targeting.

Alternatively, you can use your Social Media accounts with posts that connect with your connections that drive people to your websites, although Facebook has made this more limited to force people to pay to boost posts to increase their reach. You can also email your own database to drive traffic to your website.

While it is possible to drive traffic to your website without paying advertisers, even with SEO, it will still cost you time if you are not paying someone else to do it for you. There are no free lunches. The trick is to determine which traffic driver is giving you the highest amount of traffic for the time and money invested, and even more importantly, which traffic driving strategy gives you the highest conversion rate to sales.

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