You may have heard some marketers proclaiming “SEO is dead!” But don’t believe the hype. Despite changes and new challenges, SEO remains a hugely valuable strategy for businesses in 2023 and beyond.
In this article, I’ll share why SEO is still very much alive and essential for brands wanting to drive qualified organic traffic, build awareness, and beat competitors. Let’s dig in!
The Data Shows SEO Remains Effective
First, let’s look at the data. The hard metrics prove SEO is still generating massive amounts of traffic and revenue when executed properly:
- SEO drives 40% of all website traffic on average according to HubSpot. For some sites, it’s over 50% of their visitors.
- U.S. SEO spending topped $99 billion in 2022 and is projected to keep growing at a steady clip in the coming years according to Backlinko.
- A study by Ahrefs showed 71% of digital marketers plan to increase their SEO budgets in 2023.
- Moz’s industry research found 61% of marketers say SEO generates the best ROI compared to other channels.
Clearly, SEO remains one of the most effective digital marketing channels when looking holistically at traffic volume, cost efficiency, and return on investment.
The data simply doesn’t support claims that SEO is dying or no longer works. But why?
SEO Still Matches Searcher Intent
The reason SEO thrives is it fulfills the ideal user experience on search engines – accurately matching intent with results.
Google’s business model succeeds by connecting their users’ search queries with the best possible answers. Proper SEO optimizations make it easy for Google to understand how relevant pages are for different searches.
As long as search engines exist, optimizing your website and content to be easily found by searchers seeking your offerings will remain valuable. The intent-matching process drives SEO success.
This core search engine function isn’t going away. So SEO that improves the searcher experience has plenty of life left as well.
Must Interested: Why Google Loves SEO?
Google Loves Great Content
Here’s one thing that will never change – Google loves showcasing high-quality, comprehensive content.
Creating in-depth, useful content targeting topics and keywords people are searching earns trust and authority. Google aims to satisfy searchers. So content that provides immense value inherently performs better in rankings.
This incentive to produce awesome content that makes Google’s results more useful will always be there. SEO-optimized content equals satisfied searchers.
No Other Channel Compares for Volume
Another reason SEO remains so important – no other digital marketing channel comes close in terms of potential volume and scale.
The sheer magnitude of organic search traffic up for grabs simply dwarfs most other sources:
- 5.6 billion Google searches per day
- 63,000 Google searches per second
- Over 3.5 billion searches per day on mobile alone
Tapping into even a fraction of this organic search volume via SEO makes an enormous impact. And achieving wider reach through other digital channels often relies on investing heavily in ads.
For scale, qualified traffic, and ROI – SEO delivers results incredibly cost-efficiently when executed correctly.
SEO Still Builds Brand Awareness
One benefit of SEO that other digital channels can’t match is increasing brand visibility and credibility through high rankings.
Appearing on page 1 ahead of competitors acts as social proof and reinforces trust and authority with searchers.
Having a strong organic presence for commercial and informational keywords builds tremendous brand equity over time. These SEO benefits for branding and reputation remain extremely valuable.
The Competitive Edge
Here’s the reality – if you aren’t optimizing for key terms and rankings, your competitors are. The brands investing in SEO keep reaping the rewards.
Proper SEO allows you to outrank rivals in organic results and gain market share. It levels the playing field against even the largest competitors.
Ignoring SEO means abandoning those opportunities. You never want competitors earning your potential traffic and conversions. Maintaining an SEO edge is critical.
Aligns With Existing Customer Journeys
Today’s consumers conduct extensive product research online before making purchases. Search is a core part of their journey.
Structuring your website and optimizing content to match these research behavioral patterns is incredibly effective.
SEO remains vital because it fits seamlessly into how people already use the internet and search engines to find providers. Meeting customers where they already are.
The Future Looks Bright
Another great sign for the longevity of SEO – search marketing experts are more excited than ever about innovations on the horizon.
Upcoming SEO opportunities like Google’s MUM, AI-generated content, video SEO, voice search optimization, and more have professionals enthused.
The future feels ripe with new SEO potentials that will reward brands who innovate and stay ahead of trends. This ongoing evolution keeps SEO fresh and compelling.
Harder To Rank = More Opportunity
Sure, SEO has absolutely gotten harder over the years. But that’s not inherently bad. Rather than making SEO ineffective, increased difficulty actually reveals huge untapped opportunities.
The fact that high-value searches have gotten more competitive to rank for is incentive to invest in phenomenal content and enterprise-level link building to earn those coveted spots. Leaving the rest of the pack behind.
Difficulty filters out casual dabblers and creates runway for serious SEO practitioners to grab market share.
Broad, Future-Proof Strategy
Something important to remember – SEO is not a tactic, but rather a broad digital strategy and philosophy.
It represents the mindset of understanding user intent, creating value, earning trust, building brand visibility, and using technology to benefit people.
In that sense, SEO can’t die as long as search engines aiming to satisfy users exist. It will continue evolving, but the core strategy remains future-proof.
SEO Skill is More In-Demand Than Ever
One final data point that proves SEO is very much alive and well?
Demand for skilled SEO experts and professionals continues growing rapidly. There has never been a better time to build an SEO career.
Search engine optimization remains one of the most profitable and future-proof digital marketing skills you can develop. The growth opportunities are limitless.
Hard metrics and job trends clearly show SEO is thriving in 2023.
What Does the Future Hold?
Now that we’ve established SEO is here to stay, what will the future of search optimization look like?
Here are a few predictions:
- Even greater emphasis on extremely high-quality, in-depth content. Increased difficulty to rank mediocre content.
- More integration of multimedia formats – video, images, etc. Video SEO will become standard.
- AI-powered content generation and optimization assistants. But human-produced content still critical.
- Voice search optimization will be more important. Optimizing for conversational queries.
- Personalization and localization of results. Tailoring content dynamically based on user data and context.
- Growth of new “entities” beyond just keywords rankings. Optimizing for people, places, topics, products.
- Increased need for technical/development SEO skills. Crawling, indexing, page experience factors.
- Greater reliance on 1st party data signals like engagement and click-through-rate.
The core principles remain unchanged, but the techniques and capabilities will evolve exponentially. Exciting times ahead!
Here are the big reasons SEO is here to stay in 2023 and beyond:
- Still provides unmatched volume and ROI potential for businesses
- Fulfills search engines’ core goal of matching intent
- Producing compelling content will always be rewarded
- No other channel compares for broad brand visibility
- Staying visible is essential to beat competitors
- Aligns perfectly with consumer research and buying journeys
- Ongoing innovations and opportunities to grab
- Increased difficulty signals big untapped potential
- Core strategic mindset and approach is evergreen
For any business serious about cost-efficient digital growth, SEO needs to be a foundational pillar of your online marketing strategy.
Optimizing your web presence and content for search visibility has incredible value for driving qualified traffic, leads, and revenues over the long-term.
SEO isn’t even close to being dead. In fact, it’s never been a more exciting and promising time for the field.
Now get out there and start ranking some pages! Feel free to reach out with any questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions around SEO being “dead”:
Is SEO dying due to more social and paid advertising?
No – even with growth in other channels, SEO remains hugely important. Social and paid rely more on interrupting people vs matching intent. Optimized organic visibility remains vital.
Doesn’t Google want to kill SEO to force ads?
Google is incentivized to keep searchers happy with the most relevant results, which often earned rankings through SEO. High quality content that satisfies intent is rewarded.
With mobile growth, is SEO obsolete?
On the contrary – mobile has skyrocketed search volumes and actually pushed SEO to become more important. A mobile-friendly responsive site with fast page speeds is now an SEO must.
Aren’t rankings now just based on ads and money spent?
Google has no incentive to abandon organic results people find useful for purely paid ads. Their multi-billion dollar business succeeds by satisfying search intent. SEO done right still wins.
Doesn’t better encryption and tracking prevention hurt SEO?
It can pose challenges, but also pushes SEO to focus more on tangible user experience factors under your control like speed and engagement rather than gaming the system. Legitimate optimization withstands changes.