Why Organic SEO is Still King in 2017
written by: Freddy Diaz
Organic SEO is a dynamic beast. Mastering it is like trying to surf a wave ahead of the crowd. For those that are willing to evolve and stay at the forefront, they can remain on top and enjoy the ride. Those that stagnate will get crushed. This is perhaps why every year one hears a chorus of people claiming that the era of organic SEO is over. This, of course, is untrue. The reality is that organic SEO is as strong and as valuable in 2016 as it was in 2004. It is just a matter of evolving the skill sets and tactics that are required to keep pace with the dynamism of organic SEO best practices.
In the long-term, the value of organic SEO is undeniable. It is the most efficient method to obtain and sustain quality traffic. Unlike PPC campaigns that produce traffic only as long as those campaigns are being funded, organic SEO, properly implemented and maintained, continues delivering traffic well into the future.
Organic SEO is a Better Value Proposition
The differences in the quality of traffic obtained from organic versus manufactured SEO is not just hyperbole circulated by SEO agencies and consultants. It is a quantifiable fact. The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO), the largest digital marketing non-profit trade organization in the world, has estimated that organic SEO is five times more effective than PPC while only receiving one out of every eight dollars spent in search engine marketing.
Effectively managed organic SEO is an investment that with time accrues value and develops into a legitimate asset. PPC is more of an impulsive trade. This is why PPC campaigns have a myopic obsession with one metric and one metric only — ROI. Similar to a gambler or impulsive day trader that only remembers their last big win while forgetting all of their losing positions, those that tout a PPC-only philosophy do the same with their ROI metrics.
It is easy to get excited when an AdWords campaign is delivering killer ROI. Unfortunately, many times these successful campaigns are outnumbered by other less than successful campaigns. Achieving consistency with a PPC-centric strategy is difficult. This is something that should always be kept in mind when ROI hysteria is being bandied about.
Superior Audience Perception
One of the most powerful advantages that organic SEO has over PPC is the perception of quality and reliability that information seekers place on organic links versus paid links. Users clicking on an organic link have become conditioned to view that content as more informative and as such, more relevant, than that found on a paid link. This has not come about by mere happenstance. There is a solid reason for why the public has developed this perception.
Anybody that has engaged in SEO to any degree and at any point in the past is very familiar with the zeal that search leaders, such as Google, take in tweaking their algorithms to ensure the quality of their search results. The same source of many a frustration for SEO practitioners is, ironically, also the reason why organic SEO is so valuable. Namely, relevant content is king and Google actively ensures that it delivers quality results to its audience.
As a result, this makes organic search results a valuable tool for information seekers when they are in the all important “research” phase. This makes your organic traffic far more relevant than a paid ad could ever me. It allows your product, service or brand to permeate deep into the decision-making part of your potential prospect’s psyche. The importance of this is magnified when one realizes that 81 percent of consumers engage in some sort of online research before making a purchasing decision.
Organic SEO pays additional dividends when one takes into account the navigation habits of internet users. An increasing number of people use a search engine as their primary mechanism for navigating the web. Yes, many people get to a website that they want to visit, not by typing the URL in their browser, but rather by typing the brand, company type or description into the search box. This trend seems to only be growing as the number of mobile users continues to grow decisively.
SEO Advantages Just Over the Horizon
While those that take shortcuts to SEO moan and lament the ill sprouts of their transgressions, those SEO practitioners that stay within the realm of accepted best practices and that value the asset that they have developed must also be ready to detect the next real opportunity that comes in organic SEO.
For the past two years, that magical new SEO paradigm has often been identified as the “mobile revolution.” Unfortunately, as with Google’s “Mobilegeddon” in 2015, this transcendence to mobile, while clearly evident, seemed to be missing velocity. Regardless of the number of SEO seminars, webinars or Google Hangouts that one attended, the exact method of how mobile was going to affect SEO was not always clear. Yes, there was no doubt, mobile was going to impact SEO like nothing else before it, but how? Surely it had to go beyond simply making websites “responsive.”
The answer to that question has finally been answered. It is Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages Program, more commonly referred to as AMP. In essence, AMP restructures the web for mobile access. It allows sites to be served with near instantaneous speeds on mobile devices. It is quite literally an entirely new architecture in the way that websites are coded, served and stored.
That, in and of its own, is impressive, but for those that value organic SEO and that have been waiting for the next big wave to jump on before it gets crowded, AMP is it. Starting in February of 2016, Google has been serving AMP optimized content at the top of their mobile search results.
When you take into account that as of April 2016 only 23 percent of SEO specialists have actually implemented AMP for their mobile sites, the immense opportunity that this creates is self-evident. While the AMP environment is more suited for news and informational pages, the opportunity is still huge. It also further augments the value of organic SEO over PPC. Mobile users are more inclined to click on a search result that will lead them to a page that is served faster and using less bandwidth than they are on an ad. Think of the possibilities of securing high ranking search results for keywords that have been saturated with competition in traditional search. With over three-quarters of SEO specialists still not fully vested in AMP, this is a golden opportunity.
Organic SEO is not a sprint, but the fruits that await you at the end of an SEO marathon are truly bountiful and well worth the effort. It is important, however, not to neglect the dynamic changes and the opportunities that come with them, when true paradigm shifts occur in SEO.