SEO: Dead? Really Really Dead? Dead-as-the-Disco? Or Alive and Kicking?
On Facebook the other day, I was waxing a bit mystical about my love of all things Google and SEO-related. Heres the snarky response I got from a guy I know with a very high-traffic site in India.
“SEO is Dead (Really Dead... Dead like Disco). It ain’t hard - it’s impossible. Google was a lot easier before the Panda update. Id never go with SEO as Ive always gone with paid traffic. Either way, you’re paying for it - with money or time.”
Im still arguing back and forth with him, over on Facebook, but he does have a point (or two).
First off: Keyword stuffing really stopped working back in the early 2000s, and people who cling to it these days are doing so mainly out of superstition. Modern SEO enthusiasts think of keyword stuffing as a pretty passive and ineffective way to get things done. Secondly: SEO is costly—either youll spend every waking hour thinking about SEO (like I do) or youll pay someone to do that thinking for you. If you value your time and money, you may prefer something a touch more cost effective.
SEM (Search Engine Marketing), by contrast to SEO, is a fairly low barrier to entry form of advertising these days. You may have even tried this sort of thing with promoted listings on your Etsy shop.
And this same low barrier to Entry applies to social media advertising, as well.
With paid marketing, you simply pick a target group and/or string of search terms, name an action youd like them to do (click here, like this post, etc), and then stipulate how much youre willing to pay for said action.
...Relatively straightforward, compared to the byzantine world of SEO...
Heres the thing, though. We know for certain that the one thing Google cares about, above all other things, is popularity. Popular things tend to get more popular. Unpopular things tend to fade into obscurity.
Google wants to see that people are going to your site and finding what they were looking for. Its hard to accomplish that with keyword stuffing, but its pretty straightforward to do so with either a constant stream of fresh, sparkling content and social media sharing (my preferred low-cost SEO tactic), or a few strategic payments to an advertising platform. Either way, youre banking a reservoir of clicks and actions, which Google looks at as fuel for page authority.
The advantage to building page authority, (either through wakeful nights of backlinking or a few clicks and a credit card) is magnified when you have your own page to direct that popularity back to. Sending clicks to Etsy only builds Etsys page rank. A website of your own grows in equity as its popularity increases, and that equity translates to page rank, traffic, and (hopefully, one day) money in your pocket.
See ya at the Disco!
Annika Schauer is the SEO-obsessed owner of BeesWax Websites
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