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Just under a year ago I saw the movie Wall-e. At the time, I did not realize the significance of what this movie contained. It wasn’t for another few months that I realized that Wall-e’s world contained the most plausible oncoming paradigm shift in the world of search. I am not saying that this shift is right around the corner, but I will say that the captain has me thinking forward.

If you aren’t familiar with the movie, get familiar. The portrayal of the human race is quite comical and pathetic. Over generations of reliance on technological power, the group of humans aboard the enormous space yacht devolved to individuals of jelly.

While the bone structure of these humans may have shrunk, their ability to collect, store and retrieve data was astounding. There is a scene that demonstrates perfectly the search power they possess. Earth has been rediscovered by an Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator (EVE), and for the first time the captain is introduced to his homeland. At the command of Captain B. McCrea’s voice saying, “What is Earth?” a video search results page appears on his interface. Using a huge touch screen, he is able to maneuver the video results until he finds exactly what he wants.

We may not use voice recognition with video results just yet, but the message is there. In our day, knowledge comes running at our command. That is the strength of search, and it is only going to become more powerful. With increases in technology, the quality of content retrieved will increase. It begins to beg the question: who among us is ready for SEO under a new search paradigm?

Who is going to change the way search is performed? Will it be Google? When will it happen? How will the most relevant pages find their way to the SERPs? Will results be video based? Will they be software downloads, videos, or content pages? Will biometrics become a factor when you search for health facts or products? All of these questions are important, but what new parameters will be used for optimization when the way we search changes?

In doing SEO, it isn’t enough for us to be playing Google’s game or waiting for the next big move. The medium on which we base our SEO expertise is not a static environment. We need to be ready to change when it does; we can’t be a minute late. If you are optimizing your website, are you taking time to research the market? Are you testing best practices, and are you developing new SEO tools and tactics? I would encourage you to think about what the next step for the search engines will be. Think about how search engines will try to give the most relevant, highest quality results. Research will keep you benchmarked at least, and ahead of the pack at best. The best thing we can do as SEOs is prepare for the future. When a paradigm shifts everyone goes back to zero. What if zero means the tenth page of Google? Preparation will prevent us from waking up one day and realizing that we’re as lazy at the wheel as our good friend the captain.