As you can see, the title has no question marks, SEO is dead is a statement that we are going to prove. All those who make a living from SEO are looking for effective reasoning to keep it alive. Here is the most popular:
(1) Google’s SERP has become harder to scale, but organic searches will never die.
To dismantle it, let’s explain what is behind the term “SEO is dead”. three factors:
1) The advent of the smartphone. Today at least 70% of traffic goes to mobile. With a smartphone, scrolling through the results pages is more cumbersome and this means that practically only the first ten URLs matter. After all, even tools like SeoZoom consider visits only for the first ten positions, giving the tenth position only about 2% of visits out of 100 views of the SERP following a given search.
2) Competition. Hugely increased in recent years. This fact is undeniable. This makes many tips on how to write a web page useless and obsolete, since by now everyone knows the main “tricks” and it is absolutely not certain that Google continues to use coarse information (such as length of description, alt of images, etc.) in meaningfully.
3) The news. That is the collapse of the printed paper. Today everyone is looking for news on the Net and there are now few who read the paper newspapers. This has led publishers to invest in online information. The result is that searches with training keywords (for example, “lower cholesterol”), have been supplanted by searches for information keywords (“war in Ukraine”, “fall of the government” etc.). All news sites and services like Google News have taken hold.
How has Google reacted?
In recent years, a fourth factor has been added that has forced Google to make drastic decisions: fake news. We have witnessed the progressive domination of authority, not achieved through artificial intelligence tools, but simply, in the first instance, with a human elaboration of the contents. This means that
- Given a training sector (eg health), Google has identified a dozen reliable and authoritative sites (top sites) that it has “placed” in the top positions.
- Even for news, Google news only indexes sites that have (true or presumed) authority behind them.
Then, its algorithms continue to classify the pages based on criteria of goodness, but practically those who are not included in the top sites can aspire to the second page as much as possible (let’s remember point 2).
Two points must be emphasized:
- Google does not lose business in advertising, even if among the top training sites there are sites that use little or no advertising, because all the top sites that operate in the news use advertising.
- The Google Core Updates that have occurred since 2019 have rewarded the concept of top sites not only in key sectors such as health or law, but, little by little, also in any other sector. For example, if you search for “rimpianto” (regret) you will find in the first positions treccani (3 lines), wikidictionary, wikipedia, courier dictionaries, etc., in spite of the completeness of the information. You can write the most beautiful, complete, reliable page etc. on “rimpianto”, but end up on the second page (if that’s okay with you).
Top sites have become what the super-rich are to the economy. 1% of sites convey 90% of the traffic to themselves.
So, returning to (1), it is true that organic searches will never die, but Google now directs them towards the top sites and the many tips of the so-called “SEO experts” to climb the SERP appear naive. Of course, if the expert on duty wants you to excel in “vegan pizzerias in Broni” he will have no difficulty in obtaining a good result because for the top sites the topic is so marginal that they are not interested. Crumbs they leave to the poor.