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Traditional SEO Died in 2013

If you’re still practicing SEO the old way, it’s time to change.

Traditional SEO, born out of the Wild West days of the internet, was a freely accessible strategy to most webmasters and, if practiced effectively, a surefire way to get yourself to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). Fill your blog with lots of target keywords, build lots of links, and it was only a matter of time before you reached the top.

But traditional SEO is dead. It arguably died in 2013 – and perhaps even earlier.

So why are so many people still practicing the old way of doing things?

The Hummingbird Update and a Path to the Future

The timeline for the death of traditional SEO can stretch back as far as 2010, when Google began releasing a sequence of updates designed to improve the algorithm’s ability to judge quality and penalize spam. The Panda update focused on content quality, the Penguin update focused on link quality, and the Hummingbird update of 2013 introduced semantic search; with semantic search, Google became capable of “understanding” user searches, rather than just finding keyword matches online.

The combination of these updates, and philosophically similar updates that followed them, have killed traditional SEO processes. Because content quality matters more than ever, you can’t just spam blog posts and hope for the best. Because link quality matters more than ever, you can’t just spam backlinks and expect to escape penalty free. And perhaps most importantly, because semantic search has become so important, you can no longer rely on strict keyword optimization tactics to guarantee rankings for specific types of searches.

Why Do People Still Practice the Old Way?

Why do so many marketers still practice SEO the old way?

There are many conceivable answers to this. Some people are stubborn and reluctant to change. Some people don’t pay active attention to algorithm updates, so they remain locked into their own strategies by default. And truthfully, some people are able to find marginally decent results by practicing the old way of doing things, at least in certain niches and for a short period of time.

Updating and Adapting

Of course, if you want to see the best possible SEO results, you’re going to need to update your strategy. That means making quality your ultimate focus and catering to the latest version of Google’s search algorithm.

If you’re still relatively new to SEO, this can all be intimidating. But don’t worry. We’re here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation!

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