Is Search Engine Optimisation Dead ?

Our resident SEO expert Jon takes us through changes to the Google search engine ranking.

Digital Marketing

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), as we know it, is dead. The changes to the Google Privacy policy which take effect on 1 March 2012, build on the Google search algorithm changes known as “Panda”.  These together have mauled the Search Engine Optimisation industry and will forever change SEO.

You won’t hear this from the Search Engine Optimisation industry. But you do hear it from Google themselves!

Google has announced their privacy policies are changing as of 1 March 2012. And in this announcement is the obituary for the Search Engine Optimisation industry. Google says:

Tailored for you

If you’re signed into Google, we can do things like suggest search queries – or tailor your search results – based on the interests you’ve expressed in Google+, Gmail, and YouTube. We’ll better understand which version of Pink or Jaguar you’re searching for and get you those results faster.

Quoted from Google’s Privacy Policy Overview. In the full preview of their new policy, they are even more direct:

How we use information we collect

We use the information we collect from all of our services to provide, maintain, protect and improve them, to develop new ones, and to protect Google and our users. We also use this information to offer you tailored content – like giving you more relevant search results and ads.

“Tailored search results” and “more relevant search results” mean that each person will see a different page of search results in Google, depending on where they are located, what they have searched for and clicked on in the past, what Pages they follow in Google+, and sites they regularly visit. There is no longer any point in crafting your marketing strategy around “being on page one of Google”, because there is no longer a single, universal page one. Google’s aim is to provide a unique set of results “tailored” to your requirements.

As an example, let’s search for in Google for “smash repairs”. Let’s start with the default settings – I’m signed into my Google Account, and it knows I’m in Sydney:

Search results for smash repairs - default

Now, do the same search again, not signed into Google:

Google Search - Smash Repairs - Not signed in


What now ?

Expect and plan for the fact that these changes will progressively get stronger, as Google has clearly stated that their aim is to provide tailored, individual search results. By planning and implementing some simple strategies now, you can get in front of these changes and ensure that your site remains relevant and visible in the search results.

  • Focus on continuing to generate great content.
  • Maintain your keyword focus and consistency – page title, URL, meta-descriptions, and keep each page focused on small set of trophy keywords.
  • Link building is still important, and now quality is more important than quantity. Use content rich anchor text, links from relevant pages.
  • Use a smart tool like Google Analytics Tracking for Forms, which adds Google Analytics data to each enquiry, telling you what search engine, search terms, and campaign the specific enquiry came from.
  • Monitor your analytics, webmaster tools to keep an eye on traffic sources and keywords that are generating traffic.
  • If you really want to guarantee being on page one of Google, budget to run an effective AdWords campaign.

These strategies will ensure that your site stays relevant, even in the new world of personalised search results.


Reader Interactions


  1. Mitch Bruger says

    Thanks Jon, even with a different playing field altogether Google is still focussing on the holy grail of “relevance”.
    Providing our content remains relevant to our clients needs they will continue to find us. That certainly hasn’t changed.

    Great post mate, well done…


  2. Sue Hazroli says

    Thanks for the informative post . . . I never had much of a chance to rank high so this has given me a fair chance along side the big boys in my industry: Cycling Apparel

  3. Kirsty Sleep says

    Thank you so much! I was busily trying to “master” SEO and you have just changed the way I will do things going forward. I really appreciate this article.

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