Is SEO Still Relevant in 2022?

A drawing showing a lightbulb made out of marketing related terms with SEO written in the largest writing and positioned in the centre of the bulb.

Year after year, as new digital marketing trends such as social media ads, influencer marketing, programmatic advertising, chatbots, and other AI-powered marketing tools materialise with promises to exponentially increase a brand’s reach, there is a question that keeps propping up — “Is SEO still relevant?”

Yes, SEO is still relevant and is here to stay. With the incessant thirst and curiosity humans have for knowledge, search engines will always be a powerful channel and a presence in our lives. Therefore, as long as search engines exist, Search Engine Optimisation will continue to be relevant.

Search engines are highly complex and ever-changing. A digital marketer needs to have a good understanding of the way search engines function in order to create a good SEO strategy. Even more importantly, SEO is not just about search engines. It is also about the human being who is doing the searching, scrolling, and clicking. That is what makes SEO an art as much as a science. It is not a one-time task that you do when building a website.

A successful SEO strategy is an ongoing process. It is the dynamic and creative nature of SEO that has helped it evolve into the massive industry it has become today.

Let’s look at what SEO used to be, what it is now, and how a digital marketer can use timeless SEO strategies to stay on top of search engines in the years to come.

What SEO Strategies Are No-Longer Relevant?

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While it is true that SEO is still relevant, it is also true that SEO is continually evolving. Therefore, SEO strategies that were relevant a few years ago have become obsolete now. Those who argue that SEO may no longer be relevant often speak of what it used to be, not what it has evolved into.

Early digital marketers who used SEO approached it as a way to “trick” search engines into ranking higher. Nowadays, the search algorithms of Google and other similar search engines are much more advanced and they are able to recognise such practices. Therefore, using outdated SEO practices is not only a waste of time, but it can also actively harm your overall digital marketing strategy.

Here are a few SEO strategies that are not relevant now.

Overstuffing Keywords – In their infancy, search engines relied on checking the regularity of a certain keyword or phrase in a block of text to determine its ranking in search results. Many early digital marketers took advantage of this by stuffing as many keywords as possible into web content and blog posts to rank high, often breaking the flow of the content and reducing its value. This method no longer works.

Quantity over quality in link building – Backlinks or inbound links from other websites are good SEO tools when used properly. They help signal Google’s search algorithm that another website considered your website as a useful resource. Getting as many backlinks as possible used to be an old SEO technique that worked fairly well. However, the newest updates to search algorithms have made sure that it is the quality of the backlinks that matter, not the quantity.

Using Article Spinners – Spinning the same article to make them “unique” and increasing the text and keyword content in a website was another widely used SEO technique back in the day. Many digital marketers avoided Google’s dislike for duplicate content by spinning their articles. The use of article spinning websites that replace words with synonyms and rearrange the order of sentences to create technically unique articles was very high. This method no longer works since search algorithms have become quite good at identifying spun content.  

Misusing popular keyword trends – There was also a time when a search result seemed related to a search query but ended up being about something completely different. It was common to use trending keywords to rank high when the actual intent of the content was different. This practice is not valid anymore since search engines do not simply recognise and count the keywords to rank a certain website. They consider many other on-page and offsite factors including how helpful the content is for the reader and how relevant the other content of the website is to the search result.

Top 5 Timeless SEO Strategies for Visibility and Reach

It is estimated that Google, which owns over 90% of the global search engine market, processes close to 6 billion searches per day. This number continues to grow with smart devices and the act of “Googling” becoming more regular across various demographics. With such a massive potential reach, it is a challenging task to target the right audience, earn their attention, and drive the right traffic to your website.

A successful digital marketer who uses SEO to drive traffic is always empathetic, and their primary goal is to provide searchers with what they ask for. It is not a game of tricking the searcher to click on a search result just for the sake of driving traffic. It is about understanding their intent, being visible to them when they search for specific information, and ultimately providing them with the best value.

Here are some of the timeless SEO strategies that brands can use to increase visibility and reach.

SEO Strategy #1: Quality Content is King

Every digital marketer knows the phrase “Content is King” which was popularised by Bill Gates back in the 90s. He opined that “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

It still applies to all kinds of marketing strategies to this day, including SEO. The only difference is that good SEO requires not just any content, but high-quality content. Quality content is focused, authentic, and engaging. It is well researched and rich with credible facts and fulfills the search intent of the visitors. It provides true value to the target audience. 

SEO Strategy #2: High-Authority Backlinks

A quality backlink from a high-authority website works as a vote of confidence for search algorithms to rank your website high. The more popular and trustworthy a website is, the more impact it has on your SEO ranking.

Ideally, such backlinks are earned by creating content with a high value that a high-authority website would organically link to. Many digital marketers also use referral sources and form partnerships with popular companies to achieve this. More recently, there is the highly effective practice of publishing long-form “Skyscraper” articles and reaching out to the companies mentioned in the article to get quality backlinks for their websites proactively.

SEO Strategy #3: Keyword Research and Gap Analysis

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Keyword research to find the right terms and phrases used in related search queries that your target audience uses continue to be one of the most important strategies in SEO. Other than finding the right keywords, proper keyword research also helps you predict any shifts in demand related to your industry, prepare for any changing market conditions, and also find out what your target audience is actively seeking.

Gap analysis is also a part of keyword research which looks for existing content under selected keywords to see any gaps in your existing content marketing strategy. If there are keywords that your competitors rank for which you have not already included in your content, you can fill those gaps with more valuable and descriptive content to achieve a higher content authority in your industry.

SEO Strategy #4: Optimise Internal Linking Structure

Internal linking is a highly useful SEO technique that most digital marketers are not utilising properly. When you have created a logical internal linking structure, it is a signal to search algorithms that your website is highly cohesive with several pieces of content that provide value to the reader related to a search query. It is also a great way for you to boost low-performing content with the use of more successful content you have that drives higher traffic.

For example, having a clean and simple website with easy navigation is a fundamental requirement for creating a successful SEO strategy. You can read our article about the key elements of a successful website here.

SEO Strategy #5: Optimising for Featured Snippets and “People Also Ask”

When you enter a search query in Google, there is a “Featured Snippet” or a short and direct answer prominently displayed on top of their SERP. They appear as short paragraphs, listicles, tables, or videos depending on your search query. Optimising your content to appeal to snippets is an efficient way of increasing your overall SEO. You need to clearly understand the search intent behind each keyword that you plan to rank for and give a highly specific and brief answer to that query to have your content featured as a snippet.

Another similar feature to target is the “People Also Ask” section in Google, which has several search queries linked to selected pieces of content that are different from the main keyword but related to it. You can maximise the chances of getting featured here by using keyword research to identify the kind of search queries that your target audience use that are similar to your target keywords and broadening the scope of your content to fit them.

The Future of SEO

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This brings us to a slight variation of the initial question that we tried to answer in this article. Will the answer to our question, “Is SEO still relevant?” continue to be “Yes” in the years to come? The answer is still yes. However, SEO will continue to evolve and SEO strategies as we know it will likely become obsolete eventually.

With the rapid expansion of voice and mobile search, search engines will demand websites to incorporate the new needs that come with them. Semantic search, or not using mere keywords but also the contextual meaning of a search query when producing search results will become more prominent. There will also be increased personalisation and higher quality localisation of search as well.

SEO has come a long way from the days of simply adding a few keywords to a website or an article to get it to rank higher. It has progressed rapidly and will continue to evolve with new technologies and tech trends, posing both challenges and opportunities to digital marketers to optimise their content accordingly.


  1. Is SEO Dead?SEO is still very much alive and will be as long as search engines and curious humans who use those search engines exist.
  2. Do I need SEO? – Any brand that wants to increase its reach and anyone with a message that they want to get out further through their website needs some form of SEO to increase its visibility in search results.
  3. Does SEO cost money? Technically, anyone can study SEO techniques and incorporate them into their web content completely free of charge to increase their organic reach. It may cost money to hire an SEO professional and/or paid SEO tools for better efficiency in your marketing campaigns.

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