Is SEO Still Relevant? What is a World Without SEO?


An asteroid impact, pandemics, climate change, ecological collapse, global war, and perhaps artificial intelligence (AI) taking over humanity—all these might lead to the end of the world. But, while the demise of SEO doesn’t necessarily rank among these world-ending scenarios, it sure does take brainpower to imagine a world without it and remember life before there was a way to optimize your business for online search.


Without search engines, there would be no more surprise Google updates—you wouldn’t have to worry about ranking fluctuations, adapting your SEO strategies to new algorithms, and perhaps most importantly, no more keyword research. Sure, a world without SEO would save you from the workload involved in optimizing your site for search. But, that would also mean you have to go old-school to figure out how to drive traffic to your website, stand out from the competition, and gain revenue and it will surely take a lot of guesswork.


How SEO Has Evolved Throughout the Years

In its infancy, SEO was the shady practise of stuffing keywords and spamming links to rank well for the keywords that you target. It worked briefly in the past and anyone who practised it is qualified to call themselves an SEO specialist. Google eventually stamped out those practises as fast as it gained popularity and the search engine has never stopped updating its algorithm since then.


Today, we know SEO is under the umbrella of digital marketing strategies to optimize your website and increase its visibility in organic search results. The objective is to get your website rank high on the first page of search results, drive traffic to your website and ultimately increase conversions. Below are some of the most significant changes that happened in SEO throughout history:


Better understanding of keywords – If a user is looking for “how to assemble a mountain bike”, Google would, in the past, have read and understood each word separately. It means the search engine would return results that match each keyword rather than understanding the intent of the search.


But as Google strives to improve user experience, it has become better at understanding the context of user searches. While keyword research remains relevant, the search engine has refined its algorithm to return results that are more specific and related to the search topic, not just a single keyword.


Immediate answers – Not only does Google answer whatever questions a user has, but it also responds immediately with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of results. In the case of the search on how to assemble a bike, a user will get an overview of the most relevant results such as how-tos and step-by-step guides—this is called a featured snippet.


Given the amount of content that’s available online, users just don’t have the time to read all the information on the page. The featured snippet has allowed them to skim read the most relevant content and save them from the need to read the entire content before getting an answer.


Penalising sites that can’t keep up with the changing times – Perhaps the most valuable change within SEO is Google penalising sites that are using black-hat SEO techniques. These are the practises we mentioned earlier which involved keyword stuffing, spamming links and tweaking the back-end code to make a page appear as something that it’s not.


Google has never been this intuitive and will see through these shady tactics. It penalises rogue websites by negatively impacting their search rankings based on the algorithms.


What does this mean for your business?


Because it’s virtually impossible to get away with any gimmicky tactics, it pays off to optimize your site pages for humans and not for bots. As Google moves toward a user-first approach, you should focus on delivering valuable content that adopts the best SEO practises and ultimately, provides relevance and substance to readers.


With all these said, it can be implied that SEO in Singapore is not a question of whether or not it’s still relevant because it’s actually more important than ever but rather, how we would survive without one.




Part I: What is a World Without SEO?

Imagine, if you will, a world without SEO. A world where, regardless of how users are intently searching for specific information, they are not directed to a relevant page that can provide them with an appropriate answer. Businesswise, it would mean that when a potential customer searches for relevant products or services, there’s no way to make your pages visible to them as they’re more likely to be buried among millions of other results.


When you’re not on the first page of the search engine results, it’s unlikely that a user will go past the succeeding pages looking for you and it just means a lost opportunity for you to make a business out of search engines.


Below are some other scenarios that are likely to happen without SEO.


Lost Opportunity for Quality Traffic – Let’s start with the obvious: consumers are using search engines daily to search for products and services you provide. Without any SEO strategies that can help you with your rankings, there’s no way to drive quality traffic to your website. This hypothesis is further emphasised by the fact that as much as 93% of user experiences start with a search engine.



Lack of Access to Trackable ROI – Unlike other forms of traditional marketing (cold calls,  spam emails etc.), SEO is able to provide trackable and quantifiable results. There are tools available to help you keep track of your site’s performance including increases in rankings, traffic, and conversions. These figures also give you insight into user journeys—from the keyword that led them to your site to the path they took to complete a conversion goal.


Inability to Provide Optimal User Experience – With these insights, an SEO  agency in Singapore can help you tailor your strategies in a way that will provide a better and positive user experience—a determining factor to the success of your website. Unfortunately without SEO, this can be quite difficult as there’s no way to determine what led them to your site in the first place. It will be impossible to learn about your market, understand what’s working and change what’s not.


Some time back, we were bombarded with a hoax that SEO is dead and that sparked a worldwide debate on whether or not it is still worth the investment. But, all it proved was SEO will remain as relevant as the need for search engines.


The above scenarios are merely hypotheticals because the fact of the matter is that as long as there are search engines, SEO will continue to exist and remain relevant. Today, search engines—Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.—account for 93% of the activities online and over 2 billion people online generate 40,000 searches per second. This amounts to 3.5 billion searches a day. Google takes the major part of the chunk, boasting 100 billion searches in a month.


ALSO READ: The Current State of SEO in Singapore: Reviews and Projections



Can Your Business Survive Without SEO?

With the value of SEO established, the begging question is—does your website currently rank for the keywords relevant to your brand? If not, you are probably refraining from implementing SEO techniques into your website. It’s also most likely that your competitors have beaten you in search engine rankings just because they have engaged SEO services in Singapore. By this time, they could be getting a share of the estimated 70-80% of users that are clicking on the organic results online.


If that is the case for you, then you’re as good as living in a world without SEO. The fictional scenarios discussed above not only apply in a world where SEO is absent but when you don’t implement the best SEO practises that yield long-term results as well.




Part II: Is Your Business Incomplete Without SEO Then?

Your website—business, overall—is not exactly incomplete per se, but for all it’s worth, it’s not as complete as it can be.


In today’s digital age, your business website is a valuable asset. Without one, people are not going to find out what you have to offer, let alone know about your brand and how they can contact you easily. Online visibility is essential and this is where SEO plays a vital part.



Studies show that the top three results in the search engine results pages (SERPs) get nearly 40% of the traffic, while nobody clicks on at least 30% of the results that appear on the first two pages.


What does this mean for your business?


If you’re not already ranking on the first page, you have to get out there. You should know by now how crucial it is to rank at the top of search results for your target keywords—or at least anywhere within the first page of SERPs—to get any return out of your SEO investment.


With impressive SEO tactics carried out on your site, your chances of achieving this are high.


Is SEO Really that Important?

Short answer: yes.


All the points outlined above further prove why SEO should be part of every business plan. But, perhaps another significant benefit of SEO is that it can provide insights on your site performance and user satisfaction levels that allow you to tailor your strategies in a way that better meets your audience’s requirements.


Forward-thinking digital marketers can use these insights to track the performance of a particular strategy and understand what better resonates with their audience, to name a few.



Discovering these things can help you prove whether you’re achieving your SEO objectives and whether your strategies are well worth the resources. But, more importantly, these can help you further shape your digital marketing and drive success to your business.




Part III: What Happens When You Stop SEO?

The missed opportunities with SEO not only occur if we live in a world where it doesn’t exist or when you merely don’t see its value when you don’t engage an  SEO agency in Singapore but when you take a break from your SEO efforts as well.


A typical question that new SEO clients ask is, “how long will it take to get us to the first page?” Besides suggesting that a lot of people still don’t understand that there’s no guarantee with SEO, this question in some way shows that in many client’s’ minds, success in SEO means achieving that top organic ranking.


Once they reach that goal, they will start to see SEO as an unnecessary expense, assuming that their site is now fully optimized and will continue to rank well moving forward. But, that is far from being true and the reality is that it’s hard to reverse the downfall once you cancel your SEO.



The Result? Search Rankings & Traffic Will Slip

A gradual, significant drop in your site’s search rankings and traffic is the culmination of your decision to stop SEO. But, as said, you will not immediately drop out of the rankings and your traffic will not sink right away.


In most cases, it happens like this:


During the first few months, you will see that your rankings are relatively consistent and your traffic likely remains the same as well. But, this trend is often short-lived.  Any time from the period you discontinue engaging SEO services in Singapore, your traffic will start to slip. How fast it will happen and how low it will drop will not happen at the same rate for every site.


Many SEO specialists agree that locally-targeted brands may continue to see more steady traffic for a longer period of time than non-locally focused businesses. It’s likely due to name recognition and the constant need for the former’s local services.


When you stop SEO, you start a domino effect where your rankings start to drop and the moment it happens, your site traffic will start to decline as well.


ALSO READ: 5 Stages of Declining Ranking Grief


Lack of New, Relevant Content

Google values fresh, updated, and relevant content. The logic here is that the more you publish new, valuable content, the more chances you will have to appear in the SERPs. If you want to provide value to your audience, the most effective way to do so is by providing them with the information they’re looking for. Unfortunately, when you stop focusing on crafting quality, SEO-driven content, your rankings will eventually decline.


The Competition Doesn’t Stop

You’re doing SEO and your competitors are probably doing so too. The competition just wouldn’t end the moment you stop doing SEO. If your site is currently dominating the SERPs, it will not take long before your competitors outrank you as they continue with their SEO efforts and trying to come up with new and innovative strategies.  When you stop engaging SEO services in Singapore, you’re merely giving your competitors the opportunity to overthrow you.


Algorithms are Always Changing

It’s no longer news that Google algorithm is constantly updated—about 600 times a year to be exact. Some of these updates are minors and don’t affect the rankings much, but others like Penguin, have changed the way we do SEO entirely. Without an SEO specialist to continuously work on your site, you leave yourself vulnerable to these changes and a declining ranking, and that’s even without worrying about your competitors.



SEO is an On-Going Process, Thus Will Always Remain Relevant

Obviously, you shouldn’t stop doing SEO.


Think of SEO as a workout routine. Skip a few days and you will not immediately observe a decline in your performance. But, stop working out entirely and you’ll soon realise that you’re no longer in as good of shape as you used to be.


SEO is an ongoing process that requires constant attention. There’s no other way around but to continue the work you do—creating and updating content along with addressing technical issues as they happen—to ensure that you’re making the most out of your SEO investment.


It will always be a necessity if you wish to be successful online and with that said, SEO is and will always remain relevant. With the full suite of digital marketing services we offer at OOm, keeping your site optimised doesn’t have to be complicated. So, there’s really no excuse for ever stopping your SEO!


For more information, get in touch with us today.