Is SEO Still a Relevant Part of Digital Marketing?

Google Still Serves 1.2 Trillion Searches per Year – no Change since 2012.

I know of several companies whose marketing efforts consist of trade shows, email, and search engine optimization. They’re doing well and they’re quite happy they don’t have to pay much for digital marketing. In fact, they acquire most of their new leads FREE via Google organic listings.

Yet I’ve heard some rumors that SEO is dead. Really? People have suddenly stopped searching?  As you can see in the graphic below, we all search a lot and our customers/prospects search too. And, they’re brand agnostic today.  You can be sure they’re using Google to find a better deal or at least getting up to date information and perspectives. As much as Google may favor big brands and big brands are blitzing us with ads, today’s consumers search because they don’t trust brands like they used to.

With high involvement purchases such as medical care, personal health, automobiles, travel, etc., searchers prefer the organic rankings. They don’t trust ads they’re bombarded by.

SEO is Alive and Kicking for Smart Business Owners

I want to reassure you that SEO is still the best source of customers, brand loyalty, and ROI. SEO converts better too because it captures and builds greater purchase intent and visitor velocity. That means customers arrive at your site like a lion ready to devour your value proposition.

It’s not free but it’s much cheaper than your alternatives. And the prestige of being ranked at the top is something executives love to see. In the 18 years I’ve been an SEO guy, that hasn’t changed. If you want to make the CEO happy, get that number 1 ranking.

Is SEO Still Relevant? Here’s your justification:

  • when searchers associate keywords with your company/brand it’s a powerful brand boost
  • SEO specific content is on topic – it matches what the searcher is looking for
  • high rankings lend prestige to your company/brand
  • searches are high quality leads and convert highly and more easily
  • content that is keyword focused is more easily understood and shared via social media more effectively
  • Google is a huge source of leads — 1.2 Trillion searches per year

Everybody Sleeps, Eats and Searches

Everyone searches and the only place you can do that really is via Google. They’ve virtually captured that market. According to Comscore, Google has been seeing 1.2+ Trillion searches per year since 2012. We’ve heard that Facebook is enjoying more traffic and referrals too, but they’re not providing 100 billion searches per month like Google is. Buying intent is much higher with Google users. So people are searching on Google and Google’s raking in a lot of dough as you can see in the graphic below:

Google Searches (Desktop) in Millions
Google Yearly Revenue in Billions of Dollars courtesy of Comscore

It is Tougher to Get Organic Rankings on Google

A study by Chitika tells (above) us what might really be happening. Their study showed that the first 3 listings on the search results page get 62% of the clicks. That’s the same as it’s always been. The number one spot gets one third of all clicks. If you can get number one, you’re laughing. 

chitikaclickstatsScroll down the page to see the organic results and it seems when you get to the 4th to 10th results, few people click on them. See the search results for yourself. This is why the pundits have been talking about SEO’s demise. It appears there’s only crumbs left at this party. That’s only if you have no confidence to compete.

It is true that Google pushed smaller businesses out of the results and gave more space to the big brands. That meant small companies would be forced to advertise on Adwords. Google realized how they can get more money from millions of small businesses than they can from the big ones. However, the big companies can easily pay for ads themselves and still do. This way Google gets its cake and eats it too. Brilliant. Google’s profits skyrocketed after a number of their algo updates purportedly to “get rid of spammers.”  

Small businesses started giving up on SEO because it was tougher and because Google’s PR mill pushed out messaging telling them to give up. Yes, it’s tough to rank but it’s more than possible. Organic SEO is a huge lead generator and deserves immense respect.  Any company that disregards organic rankings is making profitability difficult for themselves.

How Good is Your SEO Strategy?

SEO strategy starts with the big picture such as what is your relevant unique value proposition to each audience you need to reach? How long will it take and what resources do you have?  Do you have an experienced and skilled SEO pro? Do you have a content strategist to plan and create high quality content as well as conduct full scale link building? Do you love SEO?

What it comes down to, is how good your SEO strategy is and how your tactics fulfill your goal. Which keywords should you compete for and how many? What content and messaging will you use to get your content shared on social media? How much effort and money will you put into competing for search engine rankings? And how good is your SEO strategist? Do they understand semantics and artificial learning and the other 198 factors? What do they really know about that algorithm and how it processes webpages and links? Are there huge gaps and limitations in how you’re conducting SEO?

The Real Issue: You Need an SEO Professional, excellent Content Writer and super Graphic Designer. These 3 super heroes are the ones with the knowledge, tools and creativity to create the kind of assets that lead to high rankings and lots of visitors. Yes, content marketing and social media are great allies in the quest for Google dominance. 

Your other digital marketing choices are just as tough, more expensive and very competitive. Adwords, display ads on social media are expensive. SEO and email have always been good buddies with email getting credit for SEO’s legwork.


Hire an amazing SEO strategist to carefully plan and execute a powerful high quality content powered, continuous search engine optimization campaign. It’s money in the bank.

Are you still comparing in-house vs outsourcing your SEO? If you can hire an affordable expert, wouldn’t in-sourcing be a budget wasting decision?


Bay Street SEO: Los Angeles SEO, Toronto SEO, Phoenix SEO for businesses in hotels, real estate, sports ecommerce, moving companies and for Shopify SEO.

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