Does SEO Still Work?

Things have changed a lot in the last 6 months or so in the internet marketing world - at least for those who built their business on the premise of getting free traffic (free advertising) from Google.

image of crying kidIt turns out that the big G didn't like getting gamed so they changed the way they rank sites.

What this means is that in many cases, people who were earning a living (sometimes a really good living) by getting free traffic to their websites by having a listing on the first page of the Google search results (that is no longer there) have been (almost) wiped out.

Boo Hoo...

I've said on this site - and others - that that was not a viable business model.  It was while it lasted - but as in most things in life, things change.

So what to do now?

There are some folks who say it is important to build a brand. (I'm in that camp)

There are others who say they have the search engine game figured out again.  One of those is Chris Rempel.  (nice guy, excellent marketer - he even commented regarding my thoughts on this matter down below)

Once in a while I make my way over to his Lazy Marketers blog to see what he has to say.

Chris feels that it is a total waste of time to try and build a brand because Google can just wipe your site out of its listing whenever they want.  This is true.  If all you ever do is try and game them. Which has been his business model from the beginning.  It's probably true that you can still game them - and says he has proof.  But why?

Ignore Google?

Why not just ignore Google?  If you happen to rank - great.  You get some free traffic.  If not, no big deal - because you are building a brand (and a customer base) that doesn't rely on Google.

Things are ever changing in not just the internet business, but in every kind of business.  If you want to make a living (and have a business that will last) by selling stuff to people you need to make them happy.  The thing about SEO in the past ie. gaming Google - was that you really didn't need to have a product that was all that good.  You just needed lots and lots of (free) traffic.  The percentages took care of themselves.

Now that it is much harder to "rank" in the SERPS - and that Google is putting more and more "paid" advertisements on their front page people are finding that they have to have an actual product that people are willing to pay for in order to make any money.

Can the SERPS still be gamed?

There are plenty of companies in the SEO business that will tell you that they have the "new secret key" for getting a site ranked on the first page of the SERPS.  This is still probably true.  But the days of using the search engines as a business model are drawing to a close.

I think that in less than five years SEO as a business model will pretty much be dead.  The search engines are very quickly becoming relegated to just another "app" that one downloads onto their smartphone or tablet.  One will still be able to get some traffic and business from them, it will just be a lot different in years to come.

Branding with Pinterest, Apps, and Others

Sites like Pinterest, You Tube, and others such as Instagram have come along and made it much easier to build a brand and drive traffic and in many cases paying customers right to your site.  One does not need Google anymore to make money online.

I'll write more in the future about how to ignore Google, build a brand - and still build an online business, but for now...

Good luck out there,