Is SEO's Popularity Fading?

It has been a rocky year for the SEO community with some harsh Google Algorithm updates putting a stop to low quality SEO techniques and causing many website’s rankings to drop due to past link building. These changes, which include the Penguin and Panda update, have led many news outlets to report that SEO is dead but is it really? For a service or industry to die, the popularity of it amongst consumers needs to decrease.

Rather than listening to news outlets jumping on the bandwagon, it is best to look at the raw data. To see if SEO’s popularity is fading we can use Google Trends which monitors the keyword volume changes over time. As you can see below, the graph is trending upwards and is showing no sign of slowing . If consumers are still searching for information about the service, is it really fading?

Google Trends results for the keyword phrase 'SEO'

Google Trends results for the keyword phrase ‘SEO’

The frequency an industry is mentioned also points to popularity, to put the SEO industry into perspective online we can use a number of content sources:

  • 10,295 books about SEO currently listed on Amazon
  • 552 million webpages that mention the keyword ‘SEO’
  • 248,000 tweets per month about SEO
  • 2.78 million videos on Youtube about SEO.

These numbers don’t help us decide if the industry is fading, but they do point to a large industry which has a lot of companies which all have a vested interest in keeping the industry alive.

The methods being used in SEO are changing from low quality link building to higher quality content marketing and the bars are being raised higher in what it takes to get a site ranking, but the industry is far from dead or fading. While there are still search engines with search volume and organic rankings there will also be some form of SEO. The name of the industry may change over time but the essential principal will remain the same, carrying out actions to increase the ranking, traffic and conversions from certain search terms.

Rather than looking at whether a specific technique or industry in online marketing is decreasing it is better to look at your own ROI from different marketing sources. Your budgets should be allocated purely on the long term ROI and if you test and calculate that other marketing methods such as PPC or Social Media will get you a better return then it is more valuable pursing those areas.

Duncan Jones

About The Author - Duncan Jones

I am a data-driven digital marketing specialist from New Zealand and im passionate about helping businesses and marketing professionals improve their digital marketing results. I have a focus on performance marketing, insist on tracking everything and love optimising & improving campaigns for clients across a huge range of industries. You can find me on LinkedIn here or you can contact me here.

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