I was recently teaching a group of business owners and the topic of organic and paid listings came up. One of the course attendees said to one of the others "there's no such thing as SEO any more; it's all about content". Interesting statement. I agree in some part with the last part of the statement, content should be the focus of an ongoing SEO campaign, but to say there's no such thing as SEO any more is perhaps going a step too far.
SEO is more than just link building; on-page optimisation and technical SEO still play a massive role in your rankings, with or without content. You could have an amazing blog and fantastic social strategy, driving traffic to your site, but this could all be hampered by a badly set up site with a robots file blocking access to Google's crawler, Googlebot.
I've also seen websites with no content strategy whatsoever, rank on the first page of Google for their key search terms because the site is well optimised, easy to navigate and seen as an authority in its industry.
SEO is very much still alive and well and I would argue that the fundamental principles of SEO haven't changed in the last 15 years, only the ways in which people game the system have changed and the speed at which Google catches up with them. Google's guidelines haven't changed either, they've just had to adapt to the new techniques people are using to manipulate results.
Google's smarter than ever and the sooner we realise this and stop trying to outsmart it, the easier our lives will become and we can continue to do the valuable SEO work we have always done, ensuring websites are crawlable, easy to use and give users the best experience, the most relevant information and keep them coming back for more.
What do you think? Is SEO dead? Let us know the comments.