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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is Dead!

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is Dead!

Dealing with the aftermath of Google update Jagger

OK I know I’m not the first to announce this but let’s face it boys and girls SEO (search engine optimisation) as we currently know it is dead. It’s time to ditch those antiquated techniques that all SEOs cling on to and focus your online marketing efforts on ‘online brand optimisation’ – OBO for short!

So what’s the difference between SEO and OBO?

Think about the searcher not the search engine!

From a strategic perspective online brand optimisation (OBO) is all about optimising your site and online marketing efforts for the searcher, the end-user that seeks out your site via whatever means he or she chooses. Whether it is via a search engine, a content portal or even a forum. Your goal is to deliver what you’ve promised and help that searcher fulfil his or her online goal. If you don’t do that then you’ve failed in achieving your key online objective.


SEO for most seasoned optimisers is about getting to the top of Google. The vast majority of SEOs become obsessed with checking their rankings in the SERPS (search engine results pages) on a daily basis and even across every possible Google data centre (DC). Checking rankings soon becomes an addiction for many SEOs and believe you me I know, I have been there. But I did come to my senses and I’ve realised that there is more to life than being no 1 in Google for a plethora of key phrases. I’ve also realised that in today’s search environment you can’t rely on the search engine to always deliver you targeted prospects that convert.

You may have read about the multitude of search marketers that have recently been hit badly by the Google ‘Jagger’ update. For many, their site has completely dropped out of the rankings and as a result they are now in an extremely vulnerable position. They solely relied on Google to drive visitors to their site and with no new prospects coming in; their business is starting to feel the strain of being dumped into the harsh terrain that I like to call the ‘Google Desert!’ As we all know no one ventures out onto page 127 of the search results!

Build a brand (a bit of a no-brainer!)

So what can they do to help rectify this? The best solution for many of them will be to clean up their site, create new compelling content, get rid of any unrelated link partners and focus their strategy on building a respected brand, not on building top positions in search sites. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that good search engine visibility isn’t an important element of any online marketing campaign. I’m just saying that it shouldn’t be the only one and it should not drive your overall strategy, it should just simply support it.

For your organic search engine market efforts to work they need to be interlinked with other non-search related activity. Search engines like Google are complex beasts and they analyse your site in so many different ways. They not only look at what content you have and who you link with but there is also evidence to suggest they measure other off-site factors such as how many mentions your site gets on other authority sites, how people interact with your site when they land on it and so on.

The simple fact of the matter is that if you want to do well in Google you need to build a strong online brand and that involves promoting your site using a multitude of online and offline channels not just search. Like I said everything is interlinked and if you have a site with a strong brand behind it then it will make its way to the top of Google.

Don’t get banished to the online desert

Building your business model around a search engine is very risky and not a smart thing to do. Why? Because you have no control over the search engine. If you solely rely on the search engine to provide you with leads and customers then you’re doing far worse than putting all your eggs in the one basket – you’ll end up in the online desert with tumbleweed blowing through your site. Remember search engines don’t owe you anything; they don’t care how great your site looks. What they do care about is what your target audience think and we all know that weak brands never make it to the top!

Damon Lightley is a search engine marketing consultant at Site Visibility Ltd. Site Visibility is a UK based search engine marketing company that helps clients increase online customer acquisition and retention using search engine optimisation, pay per click and online marketing campaign measurement techniques.

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