This is Why Search Engine Optimization is Dead

Welcome! My name is Marc and I am a search engine optimization speaker, author and consultant. As a search engine optimization speaker author and consultant, I speak, write and consult on the topic of search engine optimization.

For those that do not know what search engine optimization is, search engine optimization is the act of optimizing your website for search engines in order to increase your search engine ranking on all of the major search engines.

I have been a search engine optimization speaker, author and consultant for nearly 10 years which, by definition, makes me a great search engine optimization speaker, author and consultant. So please hand over your credit card information now in order to hire me to be your search engine optimization speaker, author and consultant. Thank you and I look forward to working with you as your search engine optimization speaker, author and consultant.

Was that as painful for you to read as it was for me to write?

Yet, this is what traditional SEO at its best (or worst) looks like. And you don’t have to look very far to find it. Replace the words “search engine optimization speaker, author and consultant” in the text above with “New Jersey landscaper” and I can probably find a dozen or so websites with the same content on their homepage.

Why do you think Google is constantly changing their algorithm?

Traditional Search Engine Optimization

You see, here’s the problem. The goal of traditional search engine optimization is to trick Google into thinking you are important and valuable enough for the first page. The keywords here are trick and thinking. When taken too far, there is no integrity in this method.

Just look at how it works…

“Extensive” Keyword Research
We begin our research with one thought in mind. Find keywords with the most traffic and the least amount of competition. Period. No thought is given to the actual human beings that are searching those keywords. Just the traffic that comes with them. In other words, we just want to draw in as many warm bodies as our Go Daddy hosting account will allow. Who cares whether they are qualified visitors or not.

Stuff Those Keywords Into Your Content
Somewhere there is a formula that states that we should insert those keywords into our text every 3.5 syllables. The result is what we in the biz call “search engine friendly content.” And what the people that actually read it call “incoherent drivel.” Instead of coming across as incredibly talented in our field, we sound as if English was our third language.

Pitch, Pitch, Pitch, Sell, Sell, Sell
With little proof of our accomplishments, beyond that verbal pat on the back we insist on giving ourselves, we begin beating people over the head with our sole purpose for creating our website. The sales pitch. The chance to convert each visitor into something that adds some form of value to us. A client, a member, a subscriber or a sale. That’s what it’s really about for us. But not for them.

Link Building
While waiting for that flood of new clients to come rolling in, we spend the rest of our time building links. Or perhaps hiring someone to build links. It doesn’t really matter who does it as long as there are lots of them. The idea is that if there are enough (crappy) websites linking to ours, Google will confuse our website with one that is actually important.

And does all of that work?

I’m supposed to say no, but sadly, sometimes it does. Of course, that’s assuming that your goal is to increase your traffic. Not necessarily your business.

There’s a problem though. Even if it were to work today, there is no guarantee that it will still work tomorrow. You see, Google is constantly changing their algorithm in order to find the best answer to the question being searched. And that ultimately means weeding out this type of crappy technique.

But There is a Better Way…

It’s what I call Search Engine Humanization. And unlike traditional SEO, the goal of SEH is to be more important and valuable and you will live on the first page. With an emphasis on be and live.

You see, there is a big difference between ranking on page one and living on page one. When you live on page one you don’t need a Plan B. doesn’t have a search engine Plan B just in case they get blacklisted by Google, because they won’t get blacklisted by Google. They live there. Legitimately.

Here’s the difference…

“Extensive” People Research
Instead of looking for the “right” keywords, we are looking for the “right” visitors. Our ideal clients. The ones that can move the needle for us. And once we know who they are, we can better understand what they need, how they search and what they expect when they land on our website. We don’t care about traffic. We care about the right traffic.

Answer Questions in Your Content
Rather than filling our pages with keywords, we fill our pages with answers. Answers to the questions that our ideal clients are searching for. So, not only will they find us, but when they do, they will see us as a valuable resource that is answering the questions they are searching for.

Value, Value, Value
By offering up the best answer to the question being searched, we are adding so much value that we don’t have to sell. Visitors will see us as their resident expert. The only company out there willing to give away such value without asking for anything in return. No hard sell. No pushy call to action. Just enough value that they want to buy from us.

Natural Link Building
Because you have added so much value, you don’t have to bother with link building anymore. Instead, you have built a community of soldiers out there doing your link building for you. Naturally. Sharing your content in their social communities, blogging about it, commenting on it, sending it out to friends, etc.

But It’s Not All Sunshine, Rainbows and Lollipops

There is no doubt that Search Engine Humanization is a better way. But it’s not that as simple as that. Search Engine Humanization takes longer. Much longer. In fact, it will likely take you ten times longer than traditional SEO because it is ten times harder. But it is also 100 times more effective and will get you 100 times the results.

So, if you are willing to put in a little extra effort for a lot more success, now is the time to change your way of thinking.

And if you are open enough to changing your way of thinking and want to dig deeper, just download a copy of Search Engine Humanization for free right now and learn more!

But Wait! There's More...
If you liked that you're going to love my FREE book "Unbreakable: The Secret to Getting Anything and Everything You've Ever Wanted." It's exactly what you need to take your life and business to the next level!
  • Jim Rothstein

    Great post Marc. You are a terrific writer….funny and engaging. And your post is spot on.

    • Alea Milham

      When I read the blurb for this post in my email I was prepared to argue with you – Google sent over 1700 visitors to my post How to Cook Corned Beef in a Pressure Cooker in one day. After I read the entire post, I realized my argument and example made your point. :).

      • Marc Ensign

        That’s awesome Alea! Thanks for sharing! Now how about that recipe?!?!?

    • Marc Ensign

      Thanks Jim!!! I appreciate the comment!! Especially when it’s a positive one!

  • Paul Profitt

    Search Engine Humanization I like the sound of that Marc. But sadly I feel that there is still a lot of life left in the old method’s of doing SEO

    • Marc Ensign

      I would agree that there is SOME life left, but not enough to bet your business on it! Eventually there is going to be another Penguin or Panda that knocks everyone on their asses again. Isn’t it a wise move to be ahead of that curve?

  • Stephen J Dow

    This article doesn’t site well with me. I see that the major search engines have lost their way (or are in “transition”). However, just try and optimize traffic for ANY website without building a reasonable amount of QUALITY back-links. If you don’t, you just won’t get any visits! Moreover, if you don’t bother optimizing most sites for local citations/back-links, then you they will not be found locally (especially through mobile devices). As for content, I agree that you can no longer keyword “stuff”. However, this has been the case since late 2011. In addition, there is just too much “hype” about social media optimization (whatever this is) to help with the way search engines currently work. From what we see, social provides “near-zero” assistance in generating meaningful traffic – and it surely takes way too much time to work with. In truth, social still doesn’t factor into any organic search traffic in meaningful way (except when brand searching). However, I would change my opinion if you provided examples of how your proposed “new way” has worked for clients?

    • Marc Ensign

      I’m not going to try and sway your opinion because you seem pretty set in your ways and that’s ok. I will however say that there are still people that take out full page spreads in the Yellow Pages because it worked 15 years ago and they don’t want to let go.

      Yes, social media is time consuming and difficult. It requires connecting with other human beings. Something that’s pretty scary when sitting behind a computer. But if you don’t think that it plays a roll is organic ranking or driving quality traffic to a site, you have your head in the sand. I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface of what social media is going to do for SEO in the years to come, but you can’t scratch it off the list because its too hard or time consuming.

      As for proof? What about this blog? My traffic is up over 1,000% in the last 6-12 months and an average of 60% of my traffic comes from Search engines. Yet I’ve never optimized a page on this site in the “traditional SEO” method.

      • Stephen J Dow

        As for the “proof” you provide above, I would have to say that it can only be taken with a grain of salt Marc (no offense intended). Your view of socialized media seems to indicate that by being social, you’re doing all you can to promote your article/blog. Do you actually believe this? If so, I would seriously recommend that you conduct more analytics work.

        We use a more balanced marketing approach that considers the pros and cons of the various types of marketing approaches that can work for the widest variety of client sites and verticals that exist in the world.

        In fact, from from all the analytics we’ve run over the last 11 years, we see more positive lead generation and conversion results from Email, SMS, SEO and SEM than from ANY social media network. The data are pretty clear. As for search results, I stand by my statement that you only get social results when using branded searches. Further, most social-related CTRs are lousy!

        Even knowing all this, we still work diligently on social media campaigns for various clients. Why? Well as you mentioned above, the poor social media results of today may change over time.

        But Marc, have you ever considered that people using social media simply do not want to be marketed to? All they may really want is to converse with their friends?

        In any event, it’s quite clear that SEO is far from dead. In fact, if any marketer/marketing agency ignores it (as you suggest) they would be providing a dis-service to their clients and themselves.

  • Jonathan DeVore

    I long for the day when I don’t have to go build links – but I think that it’s always going to be a necessity. Maybe not the act of posting a link in a forum, but building relationships with other folks who could benefit from your product or service will always be important. And sometimes customers and fans don’t think to link to your site – sometimes you just have to go out there and ask people.

    Great post!

    • Marc Ensign

      Thanks for the feedback Jonathan! Link building in its traditional sense where you are building thousands of links every month from crappy forums and blogs that have no other purpose is much different than building links by creating actual relationships with other human beings. I can get behind that type of link building because you are adding value!

      • Jonathan DeVore

        Ah… yes… those traditional methods suck. They’re easier… but they suck.

  • Marcus Fravigar

    Great post. Thought provoking. This left-field methinks is moving right.

    • Marc Ensign

      Thanks thanks Marcus! It’s just a matter of time before none of the tricks work, and then what? We’re stuck having to actually say something of value in order to be heard. Oh the humanity!

  • Brian Stephens

    I was laughing and laughing from that picture and opening (the traditional SEO version). It’s unfortunate that the old SEO works, but it’s still damn funny to see it in action.

    Marc, thanks for being one of the few rational voices who actually talks about how to provide value for the customer. What a unique concept? You are like an underdog Jedi trying to rid the internet of that other side of the Force. Good luck!

    • Marc Ensign

      Hey thanks Brian! It’s great when someone actually gets the joke AND the value!!! And don’t worry, I won’t hold it against you for calling me a Jedi! 😉

  • Dan

    Wow I’ve never heard this one before – “SEO is Dead”; I just shouted to the office “oh no, SEO is dead again” got a big laugh. Cheers, its a decent read.

    • Marc Ensign

      Ok…I’ll take it!

  • Dorothy E Barnes

    I like the term “search engine humanization!” Thanks for this post! Awesome!

    • Marc Ensign

      Oh yeah! Thanks!

  • Pallavi Shetty

    Loved your blog. Just loved the phrase, ‘right traffic’. It is so true. If you are new to blogging or online business, then all you care is traffic to your site. But sometimes we forget we are in the lookout for the right traffic and not just traffic. The mere words make a big difference to your online business.

    • Marc Ensign

      Thank you Pallavi!

  • nickie snyder

    Marc, you have made a fabulous post. I totally agree with you, customer is the king and he has the very right to get correct and relevant information.

  • website design

    Hey, this post is really a worth for the one who earns through Internet marketing. I agree with your point above you have mentioned and really well explained by you. Thanks for the post.

  • Spook SEO

    Marc, it is such a great idea and I agree with what you are describing here if you optimize for the human you will have more worth of it. We all know the basic purpose of the SEO is to get more and more human users but unfortunately when comes to the optimization we always think about the Google, search engine and the keywords and I think we need to be more realistic if we want to have the best results not only for the site and sales of the clients but also for our better understanding.

  • Clipping Path

    Very great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have really loved browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing on your rss feed and I’m hoping you write once more soon!
    I am a graphics designer and I am working on photoshop Clipping Path & my company is providing Clipping Path Service , Visit My Website Now :)

  • Pingback: Keyword Research: A Guide For The Rest Of Us()