New SEO changes from Google are steering companies away from traditional SEO techniques, but SEO itself will never truly fade for startup tech companies.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most popular digital marketing strategies for emerging startups, though ranking tactics have changed on a regular basis for the past 15 years. Google has made algorithmic changes to penalize practitioners of "black hat" techniques, such as link spamming and keyword stuffing, and continues to refine the way it generates top results.
In fact, Google is downplaying traditional factors for success in SEO marketing such as keyword rankings and "entry words," keyword searches that lead people to your site. It is restricting certain data that was previously available through Google Analytics, and is actively making it more challenging for companies to rank through traditional means.
Some analysts have speculated that in a matter of years, SEO as we know it will no longer be a relevant strategy for companies. However, for startup tech companies, I believe SEO will be a permanent fixture as a digital marketing strategy. Here's why:
1. People will always search. Whether it's on Google, on social media or on some as-yet-to-be-discovered information database, people are always going to be searching for whatever it is they need. That means, in some way, there will always be higher traffic for companies who are able to appear the most relevant through those searches.
2. Fundamentally, algorithms haven't changed much. There are constant new code updates and tweaks, but Google's fundamental algorithm has only been replaced once since 2001. Odds are, search won't change so radically that all SEO strategies will be rendered inefficient.
3. There will always be a way to improve relevance. No matter what happens, there are going to be factors that determine relevance and there are going to be people who can analyze what those factors are. As long as you keep up with the latest determining factors, you'll be able to play to those strengths.
Don't abandon SEO as a long-term strategy just because Google makes some changes. It's true that SEO tomorrow will be different from SEO today, but it's still going to be relevant to gain marketing momentum.
Jose Vasquez is a serial entrepreneur and tech enthusiast dedicated to helping startup technology companies get the direction and momentum they need to succeed. As the founder of Build. Brand. Blast., Jose has established a collective resource for tech entrepreneurs to consult when brainstorming, creating, launching, or expanding a new business. Jose is also the founder and CEO of Quez Media Marketing, a marketing firm that combines technology and creativity to help new and growing companies get the results they need.
Jose graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.