No is the short answer but let us expand on this a bit. Whenever Google changes the way it ranks web sites in its search engine results (often known as the SERP’s for short) SEO’s tend to go into panic mode. They worry if they lose their rankings and they worry even if they don’t because they think they might! This creates a situation where people claim that SEO is no longer profitable, which incidentally is exactly what Google want. (If people don’t trust SEO anymore they are much more likely to spend money with Google Adwords).
The other reason people ask if SEO is dead is the fact that the search engine results are changing a lot. There are a lot more ads at the top of the rankings, which make it harder to get clicks organically. Also people think in the future the search engines, as we know them might not exist.
So just to be very clear about this. SEO will only be dead when there are no longer organic free search results in Google. And we are confident that will not be happening any time soon!
Is SEO a lot harder than it used to be?
Yes, very much so. Ten or even five years ago SEO was much, much easier than it is now. The penalties were much easier to avoid or in lots of cases didn’t even exist. There was also less competition and things like SEO for mobiles phones and tablets did not really need to be taken into account.
Is their less return on investment from SEO than there used to be?
Yes, there are two reasons for this. Firstly because as we previously mentioned SEO is a lot harder than it used to be and it takes more time and costs more money to get good profitable rankings that give the ROI. Secondly due to Google taking more traffic from the SERP’s with their ads by increasing the amount of them that appear at the top of most commercial keywords there is just less traffic for the little guy.
A positive conclusion
Ok, so we do not want to be one of those doom and gloom SEO blog posts. There are far too many of them in the industry and they are not helpful. So first of all we want to say it again SEO is NOT dead and it is not going anywhere anytime soon! Next we would like point out that SEO is getting harder for everyone, so that means your competition will also be finding things hard work. If you play smart, study, stick to the safe long-term whitehat SEO then you will give yourself the best possible chance of doing ok.
It is also worth remembering there will always be new free ways of generating traffic to your website. Just think of all the huge opportunities social media has created. If you play your card right you can easily generate interested customers from social media for little to no cost. The end of the world is not just over the next horizon. It is our jobs as marketers and business owners to adapt and grow, keep that in mind and just keep moving towards your goals.