Yes, SEO is Changing – But It Has a Bright Future

May 9, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park  

What’s the beef with SEO? The industry is constantly attacked with negative criticism and SEO’s have unrightfully been compared to used car salesmen. Sure there are people out there who take advantage of ignorance and scam others with shady SEO, but I don’t think this is what the industry really represents. True SEO has benefited the lives of millions and has:

  • enabled companies to take their businesses online and reach a wider audience of targeted potential customers without cost.
  • helped writers and publishers to reach out to people who are interested in a specific subject matter.
  • increased the bottom line for countless companies.

Whether you like it or not, SEO works. I don’t necessarily agree with some of the black hat tactics and the spam, but a profitable marketing method will always be exploited by the bad apples.

Shoemoney recently published an article stating that there is no future in SEO. Here’s a quote:

“My honest answer is there is no future in SEO. From my experiences I am seeing Google SERPS results strongly influenced by Google Toolbar data, Google User history, and Google Analytics data. Google’s combination of SEO and social voting via toolbar/history/analytics will continue to sway more in the realm of social voting. I feel this technology will only get better. I don’t think anyone can argue that core SEO has gotten less valuable over the years and I see that trend continuing.”

Usually I just roll my eyes when I see baseless arguments against SEO, but this one is actually pretty interesting and I would have to agree with many of the points. It’s true that search engines (especially Google) are preparing for the future. They are buying up relevant tools and sites to get a better picture of the online landscape and thus offer higher quality and more relevant search results. It’s my firm belief that analytics, social media votes, and user behavior will all be incorporated into search engine algorithms in the near future. What works most effectively now probably will be obsolete in the next 3 or 4 years. To read more on the subject, Chris Copeland describes the last days of SEO.

However, none of this means that SEO as an industry is dying. Certain tactics may be dying but the industry itself is growing and booming. The Internet has always been about change and adaptation and shifts in search engine algorithms are no different. Systems can always be hacked no matter how secure and people will always be able to think up new ways to gain an advantage.

alcatraz

Seriously, if prisoners can escape Alcatraz and the Titanic can sink, I’m pretty sure an SEO can manipulate Google’s “perfect” search algorithm. The fact is that we’re all human and nothing in this world is perfect. Search engines will get more advanced but if anything I think that will legitimize the field of SEO (or whatever it’s called in the future) and cut off all the newbies who don’t know what they’re doing. Real professional experts with real world experience will rise to the top and create a better name for the field.

You can see the shifts already. Many of the top SEO’s now are getting heavily involved with social media, reputation management, and digital asset optimization. On-page factors and link building may become less important in the future, but that doesn’t mean the SEO industry is dying.

Search engines may have matured, but so have SEO’s!

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Comments

18 Responses to “Yes, SEO is Changing – But It Has a Bright Future”

Jamie Harrop on May 9th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I couldn’t agree more, Gyutae.

SEO isn’t dying. It’s just changing. It’s evolving. What SEO involves today it will not involve in three or four years. But in three or four years SEO will still be around. It just won’t involve the same things as it does today.

Just like blogging was once about a personal diary, it evolved to because a means of generating income. SEO will evolve. Those who perform SEO will evolve with it. Or they won’t, and they’ll eventually move away (like the guy who told me today that I don’t know anything about SEO because I don’t use the keywords meta tag. Ha!).

Gyutae Park on May 13th, 2008

Haha, thanks for the comment Jamie. I’m sure you had a nice laugh when the guy mentioned meta keywords.

You’re right. SEO is evolving – but that doesn’t mean it’s dying. As long as search engines exist, there will always be a need for search engine optimization (or in your case, optimisation). :)

 
 
Ron Jones on May 9th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Like Mark Twain, the demise of SEO is just an exaggeration. Personally, I think there may be subtle ties to all the “The Death of…” marketing hype that plagues the online community.

However, as you and the previous poster pointed out, there is evolution going on in the field. SEO is becoming less and less a technical endeavor and more a marketing function. Particularly with the advent of
SEO-friendly CMS systems and the more widespread availability of knowledge about ‘what works.’

Technical details, tricks, techniques and best practices aside. What will work moving forward is what has always worked in the field of shameless self-promotion:

Get out there! Get involved in a community of like-minded people and contribute something of value to the conversation.

Gyutae Park on May 13th, 2008

I definitely agree with your points here. As the web becomes more mainstream, some of the more technical details of SEO (including keywords, tags, and links) will become more or less common knowledge.

However, there will always be a need for SEO experts who are on top of industry trends and have the experience and expertise to maximize exposure in the search engines.

 
 
wisdom on May 9th, 2008

Hmmm interesting discussion. Thanks for pointing it out. I find it interesting that Google keeps user history of people search results and has so many factors now by using analytics to figure out where people are going that they did not have 5 years ago.

I have never been very big into social media votes though, I think this is targeted to a certain person on the internet and not necessarily the average user.

Gyutae Park on May 13th, 2008

Google has so much data on us: Google toolbar web usage, Feedburner, Google Analytics, web registrar and whois information, Google Reader, Gmail, etc. The list goes on and on. They aren’t fully utilizing this data now, but it’s only a matter of time before they start incorporating it into their search algorithm.

As for social votes, it still is very early and not too many people have adopted this new “social” aspect of the web. However, I think it’s the future of where the Internet is going in the next 5 years.

 
 
Nicholas James on May 10th, 2008

I completely agree with your points Gyutae. We know SEO is changing, its just evolving, the industry has not died and the only way it will die is if Search Engines die and we are all smart enough to realise Google aren’t going to die any time soon.

Gyutae Park on May 13th, 2008

It’s scary how much of a stronghold Google has on the Internet right now. Almost to the point where Google and Internet have become synonymous in the minds of many users.

 
 
Zach on May 11th, 2008

Hi, i really like your site layout. I will continue reading here! Maybe you could check out my site, and even subscribe if you like. Thanks, Zach.

Gyutae Park on May 13th, 2008

Hey Zach, thanks for stopping by. Appreciate the comments.

 
 
Popular Wealth on May 18th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I think knowing CODE is becoming absolutely required, otherwise your site looks like any other to search engines. The best pages have less code, not more, but accomplish the same goals.

A tip…
Links – If a non nofollow link isn’t within the “entry” portion of a wordpress post when the webmaster hits submit – it gets discounted bigtime. Google crawlers can seperate sections of a page and assign different values to them much like they can
increase or decrease the value of any single link on a page.

I’d PAY a fortune to work on the Google webspam team btw – having researched so many topics… exciting stuff!

 
UncleLar on May 30th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Given that no one has ever escaped from Alcatraz, you might have chosen a better subject for your photo and analogy.

 
SEO Stuart on October 10th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

“SEO’s have unrightfully been compared to used car salesmen.” – I’ve done some used car sales in the past :), and recently one my first SEO clients said to me, I quote: “The website you designed for us with now many Google first page results achieved with your ‘SEO processes’ has been a life-line for our business.” – I’ve got to admit that made me feel great and also a lot more worthwhile to my local business community than when I was selling cars!!

 
Chris Peterson on February 23rd, 2010

Really it’s a great inspiration to all SEO newcomers who are willing to make career in that field. SEO is totally developing online business where it will focus how to build niche website and grow your business.

 
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