Is SEO dead? No, but business owners can use it more effectively

You don’t have to look far to find a small business that has been burned by SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In fact, I’m sure if you surveyed small business owners who have used marketing agencies and remained unhappy (and with much thinner wallets), SEO agencies would be at the top of the list.

At best, SEO is a fantastic marketing tool for increasing traffic to your website and building brand awareness. At worst, SEO is a money pit that compromises your brand and website for the good of the algorithm.

Over the past 20 years, Google has updated its algorithm several times to improve the quality of results in its search engine.

Even in their documentation, Google has stated that SEO is all about “improve user experience”.

And yet, all you have to do is take a look at the SEO pages on LinkedIn to see that many people in the SEO industry have completely missed this point.

When SEO specialists and agencies talk about SEO, they almost always focus on the business side of things. High-quality content has been traded for mass-produced, AI-generated pieces for the sole purpose of ranking for specific keywords. Beautiful websites have been replaced with boring cookie cutter designs to fill an arbitrary word count. Branding has been ignored, and “converting at all costs” is the new strategy.

And look, there’s nothing wrong with that. Businesses invest in marketing channels to make money.

But the way most SEO providers do this completely forgets one thing in the equation: customers.

I have a few theories as to why.

  • The SEO industry doesn’t appeal to creative marketing people (who head to the branding and design industries instead). This means that strategies and tactics tend to focus less on customer psychology and more on data;
  • Since results can take time and most small business owners don’t understand SEO, providers prefer to focus on quick wins that they can use to justify the investment in their services rather than playing the long game. brand creation referencing game; and
  • Unethical SEO providers would rather keep collecting money than do anything above the bare minimum. They focus on quantity over quality and don’t plan to keep their customers for a long time, just a profitable period.

It’s no wonder many small business owners feel cheated when they come out of an SEO campaign with minimal results and a gutted website.

Playing the long game of SEO can take longer, be more difficult, and cost more. Yet, in the end, it will produce a higher quality website and better, longer lasting results for the business.

And if we all took the time to explain this to business owners, maybe the SEO industry wouldn’t have such a bad reputation.

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