Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, has been constantly evolving to meet the needs of search engines as they implement new algorithms, ranking systems and rules for websites to follow. As a result, hysterical ranting about the ‘End of SEO’ comes about and vanishes every couple of years. What Google and other search engines see as improving their search results and filtering out the bad apples involved in ‘black hat’ SEO seems to signify a coming apocalypse for some marketing and tech firms.

The thing is, these companies have been overreacting to changes in search engines for the last decade. Even as far back as 2010, people were terrified of what a basic update to Google’s algorithms would do to their rankings, leading to the creation of this tongue-in-cheek but insightful website. Ever since then, Google has made significant steps to improving their rankings. The days of zero-effort content farms are long behind us, and the improvements to site crawling means that saturating your content with buzzwords and keywords doesn’t work anymore.

As we step into a mobile-dominated world, Google took steps to ensure that mobile users will receive mobile-supported websites in 2015. This is apparently yet another coup de grâce for SEO, ignoring the fact that mobile users won’t hang around on desktop versions of websites for long, as they’re usually very poorly optimised for mobile use, which then harms search rankings. All you have to do is build a mobile version, surely?

As the ‘Internet of Things’ begins to enter our lives, with internet-enabled cars, TVs, fridges, door handles and light bulbs begin to enter our world, SEO isn’t dead by a long shot: it’s evolving. In the same way that our ancestors adapted to new environmental challenges and opportunities, SEO is adapting to fit into the devices that need it. Obviously, your fridge isn’t going to read blogs or suggest new Twitter accounts to follow, but it will want to know where to get more groceries or suggest a local repairman if something goes wrong, and it’ll get that information via websites with superb local SEO.

Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that SEO isn’t the be-all and end-all of the success of your website, nor is it a determining factor in finding correct information. If you decide to cover your website with phrases that Google likes to hear, the robots used to analyse websites can-and will-find it. If you hide SEO terms in the background, farm out blog posts that read more like duplicitous adverts than editorials and try to ‘cloak’ parts of your websites from search engines, it won’t work and it hasn’t for years. Even as far back as 2006, brands like BMW were delisted from Google after black hat SEO practices came to light.

But to reiterate, SEO isn’t dead or useless. What websites need to do now is focus on local SEO, which is what matters to IoT devices and ditch the old, ethically dodgy methods of SEO that hasn’t worked for a long time.

For those looking for SEO services in Darlington or the surrounding area, Chetaru is responsible for many website SEO campaigns and is still looking for new clients.

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