For obvious reasons, I sure hope not. But the question comes up more and more as time goes on. TL:DR; SEO is not dying. The digital landscape is evolving rapidly and SERPs (search engine results pages) are adapting to keep up. Below will help you understand what you need to do for 2020 in regards to SEO.
User intent is the why behind a query. What are they looking to answer with the question or keywords they put in the search bar? In the past, you just stuffed keywords and optimized headers and called it a day. But that didn’t ultimately serve the end user the best experience.
Google has made a lot of updates over the years and the most recent one (BERT) is the largest update they’ve made in years. BERT is a major Google update that is focused around context. BERT stands for bidrectional encorder representations from transformers. Essentially, it’s a deep learning algorithm to understand what words in a sentence mean while applying context.
Great writing means more than ever. Poorly written websites and content will see the biggest hit from this update and rightfully so.
I’m a broken record here but if you put your user’s experience first, you’re already doing the best thing you can for long term SEO success. Even back when keyword stuffing was the thing to do, it wasn’t the best thing for the user.
Luckily SERPs have gotten smarter over time and we’re seeing the updates rolling out put this focus on the overall user experience. We’re seeing this in the form of SERP features like featured snippets, image packs, in-depth articles, knowledge cards, knowledge panels, local packs, news box and more.
Some SEOs were upset about some of these as they are known as the zero click searches meaning the user gets their answer without needing to click anything such as a featured snippet. It goes back to user intent and trying to provide the searcher the best possible user experience based on their query.
Search for a mortgage calculator for example. Good chance the user uses the google calculate displayed in the google result. Over 50% of searches are now ending without a click. So it’s easy to see why people think SEO is dying when people aren’t clicking on their result after a search.
As zero click searches continue to rise, you’ll want to find ways to have your business name and brand appear in those top results so that over time you become an authority around the subjects people are searching.
SEO is Not Dying
Just to make sure we’re crystal clear here, SEO is not dying, it’s adapting and evolving as it always has. There’s still very much benefit to making sure you have great content that is focused on the user intent and experience.
It is also true that Google is trimming away the need for users to need to click to a site with SERP features and more prominent placement of ads. It will be interesting to see if there is a buck at some point and a new search engine comes into play because people no longer trust the results they get at Google or if they’re doing so good of a job that users don’t see a need to use another one.