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Is SEO Dead in 2014?

For some people, SEO implies manipulating websites in an attempt to get a low quality site to rank well with the search engines.  If that is the definition being used, than most people will agree that it is dying a slow (and far too prolonged) death, and that is something we can all be thankful for.  When SEO is defined correctly as, “the optimization of a website’s online presence to help the search engines find and rank a high quality site at or near the top of the SERP’s” most people will say that it is alive and well.

Is SEO Dead in 2014?Current Trends

There are quite a few trends which have started in 2013, and will almost certainly continue through in 2014, which anyone who is interested in SEO will need to be aware of.  These trends are extremely important to track, and they all seem to be pointing in the direction of encouraging website owners to think first of their target audience, and the rankings will soon follow.  Here are a few of the trends with SEO to be aware of in 2014:

  • Content Marketing – Going forward, any site that wants to get to, and remain, at the top of the SERPs will need to have high quality content that the visitors will benefit from.
  • Social Media – More and more people are using social media to find websites to visit.  The search engines are well aware of this, and are incorporating many social indicators into the way they rank sites.  SEO experts will need to properly implement social media marketing, which will not only drive traffic from the social sites, but also help improve the rankings in the SERPs.
  • Providing Value – This is a fairly vague trend, but it is essential none the less.  When a site provides true value to visitors, they will come back again and again.  In addition, they will spend longer on the site and the overall bounce rate will be reduced.  Each of these factors will undoubtedly help with the SERPs of any site in 2014 and beyond.
  • Mobile – Search engines know of the fact that a rapidly growing percentage of people are searching from mobile devices.  If a site does not have a good mobile interface, it will suffer in the SERPs.
  • Back link Quality – While back links have always been important for optimization, their use is quickly changing.  In the past, simply getting tens of thousands of links would help drive a site up in the rankings.  Today, however, low quality/high quantity links can do much more harm than good.  Links from related sites, however, are more powerful than ever, and should be a primary tool for all SEOs in 2014.

Areas where SEO is Dying

While overall, SEO is certainly not going to die in 2014, there are some things that SEO experts have done in the past, which will either be ineffective or even counterproductive going forward. These areas of SEO are going to be dead in 2014 and beyond, and it is important for anyone engaging in SEO activities to avoid them at all costs:

  • Link Spamming – Using automated tools to build thousands of back links to a site has been frowned upon for years, but has held on as an SEO technique by some for far too long.  In 2014, however, this strategy should finally die off completely.  Anyone who still uses this strategy going forward will not just be keeping it alive, they will be killing their own site.
  • Link Networks – There are many different back link networks out there that claim to be able to build links to sites automatically, without Google or the other search engines finding out.  The fact is, however, that over time, Google keeps finding them and devaluing their links.  In the long run, these types of link networks cause a lot more harm than good, which is why they will fall out of favor and finally die in 2014.
  • Content Spinning – People have long tried to save time and money by taking existing content, and using software to ‘spin’ it by changing words around, thus making it unique.  While there are some great programs for this out there, none of them are flawless.  In addition, the search engines are becoming better and better at detecting this type of thing, which ends up hurting the rankings of the site.  Content spinning will (hopefully) die out in 2014.
  • Press Release Spam – One of the SEO strategies that was quite hot in 2012-2013 is press release submissions.  People were submitting press releases with every blog post they made, or whenever they had a good dinner.  It was quite effective, but really got out of hand.  Google has largely devalued these types of links, and it will only get worse in 2014.  While high quality press releases for truly important events are still important, press release spam is definitely on its deathbed for 2014.

Have more thoughts? Let's discuss your ideas and strategies for SEO in the comments below. 

Join The Conversation

  • Spook SEO's picture
    Jan 30 Posted 3 years ago Spook SEO

    I don't think so. Literally, the word SEO is dead and replaced by Digital Marketing, but the concept itself would never be. Seo means optimizing your website on our major search engines and whatever you are trying to do to break-out from Seo , still you can't escape from its meaning. Seo is the fundamental of information over the net.

  • BrettRelander's picture
    Jan 16 Posted 3 years ago BrettRelander

    Thanks for reading, Andrew!

    - Brett

  • BrettRelander's picture
    Jan 16 Posted 3 years ago BrettRelander

    Hi Tanvi,

    Great questions! There are different schools of thought on this but there are a couple things to remember when considering your link building strategy. One, a good link profile to Google will include both followed and nofollow links from many different sources. They won't all have the same anchor text and some should not have anchor text at all. Having a link profile that is too heavily weighted one direction doesn't apprear organic and therefore could negatively affect your authority with search engines. Two, of course you would prefer links from sites that are related to your area of expertise and even organically that should be the case, but having a few links on other sites does round out your link profile. Just be sure that they are not the types of sites that are frowned upon by search engines. :)

    Thanks for reading and a great comment. I appreciate it! 

    - Brett


  • Jan 13 Posted 3 years ago skepticalfish

    SEO Trends for 2014....SEO websites will contine to post fluff articles that look like they have been recycled from 2013, or 2012, or 2011, along with transparent linkbait titles.

    Actually I think I read an article that looked just like this when I first got into 2009.

  • MarketingMadEZ's picture
    Jan 1 Posted 3 years ago MarketingMadEZ

    Thank you for the reminder about new trends for SEO. Good Article

  • MarketingMadEZ's picture
    Jan 1 Posted 3 years ago MarketingMadEZ

    Thank you for the reminder about new trends for SEO. Good Article

  • Dec 31 Posted 3 years ago Ajay Prasad (not verified)

    I’ m not totally agree with you. SEO is important for the internet marketing but unfortunately marketers do know about SEO strategy.  SEO is also important for the free advertising. But now a days it is Changed. Thanks  for the post.   

  • Dec 31 Posted 3 years ago ctanvi25

    Hi Brett,


    We all know that links from relevant and related sites drives more value to your links, but I was wondering does nofollow and dofollow links too play role here. I mean let's say I acquire few links from high authority related site but they're nofollow links. I know it could certainly increase traffic to your site. But does it going to impact my SERP?


    And 2nd question is, Let's say I generate links from high authority but unrelated site and links are dofollow. Does it good for my link building strategy or is it going to hurt my website negatively?

  • Dec 30 Posted 3 years ago Techeffex

    I suspect SEO will be with us for quite some time. There are certain "black-hat" strategies that are dead or dying and I say good riddance. But routine aspects such as ensuring good site markup for SEO (meta-tags, headings and so on) are still important as Google continues to use these as part of their determination of content relevancy. I think link building is caught in between - good inbound links are still helpful, but I'm not sure about the effort required versus reward on this. Rather, I suspect that good inbound links will develop naturally through engagement on social media.

    Happy 2014!!

  • adhutchinson's picture
    Dec 30 Posted 3 years ago adhutchinson

    Great article, Brett

  •'s picture
    Dec 30 Posted 3 years ago

    Thanks for your post

  • Marshall Crawford's picture
    Dec 30 Posted 3 years ago Marshall Crawford

    Search engine optimization is not dead, but it needs a different approach altogether. SEO can't stand as an independent aspect of your web site, it must be considered an integral part of your global marketing strategy along with social media marketing.

  • PaulRakov's picture
    Dec 30 Posted 3 years ago PaulRakov

    So thankful that Press Release SPAM is on this list.  I can only hope that it really is dying, but I fear that it will take a long time. Too many upper level execs want to see their PR team "crank out news" that they have long forgotten the purpose of a news release news!  And this mentality has been pervasive for decades so, it won't change overnight. But we can hope, can't we?  

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