When Can SEO Finally Die?

SEO is epic good.

SEO is the scourge of the internet.

is seo dead

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been all the rage for the last 15 years. Back in 1998 I accidentally built the first and only snowboard accessories only online retailer (Snowboardstuff.com) simply because I got so good at SEO that I had too much traffic to my stupid webpage so i decided to sell stuff. (I was making a collapsible snowboarding pole and wanted snowboarders to take my survey.) Back then I could relatively easily get 1000′s of targeted visitors by being really good at being found on search engines. Even then good content was the answer. We sold more snowboard accessories than any other online retailer and many brick and mortar as well.

Then marketers found out about SEO. And the internet slowly went to hell.

Now obviously making your wonderful content/product/service easily found ON search engines so that your potential customers can find it is freaking awesome! Search engines are awesome. They can help you find the most bizarre stuff. They are the core of today’s internet. Although I predict that search engines as they exist today will decline in importance every year from now on as mobile apps, social etc takes its place.

Instead of focusing on being findable and making customers want to find you. They began to focus on being found. They focused on the search engine rather than the customer. is seo dead In Google, Yahoo and Bing’s rush to make sweet algorithms to find cool stuff they also made it really easy (for a while) to game the code. Google kept up a constant battle to, at first, make search better (focus on customers and search results) but now they pretty much just try to keep the effing black hat SEO spammers from F’ing up the internet for the rest of us.
Even Matt Cutt’s freaked out in his blog about this. Matt said this:

Ultimately, this is why we can’t have nice things in the SEO space: a trend starts out as authentic. Then more and more people pile on until only the barest trace of legitimate behavior remains.

If even Google now hates over obsession on SEO can we call it done? Kaput. Over. Dead. Before anyone loses their freaking minds, I am NOT saying that no one should optimize their content/site/product/services/cat videos to easily be found by searchers on search engines. The companies and people who do SEO well do it really, really well. It can work almost magic in getting your brand or content found on search engines. In short it is a very valuable, beneficial series of technical, tactical and strategical tool that goes hand in hand with producing great content, sharing it on social media and bringing your solution to your customer’s notice. I do NOT think that good SEO is dead or that all SEO companies and skills are negative. I use it every single day to help people find good content. I am instead saying the opposite. Instead of optimizing your content for search engines (which have been shown to be statistically irrelevant and extremely stingy in their spending habits)
How about this for a killer SEO formula:

  1. Make great products/services that solve customers problems
  2. Show customers how you solve their problems (improve slide)
  3. Then remove barriers to their purchasing your solution (reduce friction)
  4. Then make sure you do all the needed tactical bits needed to be found by those customers who are looking to solve their problems

I think of this as CEO. Customer Engagement Optimization.

Last time I checked customers outspent search engines on every measurable purchasing metric. Where do you put YOUR focus?