Okay, first off I have to give props to Jeff Call one of my coworkers whom I asked to create a simple depiction of SEO not dying and he came back to me with this masterpiece in no time:
Incredible! I wish I had that kind of talent. Now onto the post:
There is constantly talk about SEO dying.
In years past, there have been many people who have predicted that SEO would be dead by now. Many others think SEO is dying out as I write this post. I really hope these people didn't quit their SEO jobs and get into a career that has anything to do with forecasting. At this point in time, SEO is as alive and well as it has ever been. With the downturn in the economy, companies are flocking to SEO agencies desperately seeking for a medium that brings results for a fraction of the price of other marketing mediums...and they're finding it.
But this post isn't about what's going on now. It's about the future of SEO and why it will never die...that's right...never.
In order to explain this, it is imperative that the value of search engines is understood. Due to the development of the internet and other technologies, it is extremely easy to globally communicate and share information. So easy that our society is experiencing an information overload. A quick example: Over 10 million new books are written every year. If you think of the time it takes to write a book (I would assume an average of 1-5 years) that's pretty astounding. Now think of how many new websites are created every year...new web pages!..new blog posts!
If you were looking to buy the book Vita di Alberto Pisani by Carlo Dossi in Italian, and you didn't have the internet, how would you find and purchase it? Perhaps I'm naive, but I think accomplishing this task would be quite difficult and take days, if not weeks or months to complete. Now think of how you would accomplish this same task with the internet as a tool. How would you do it? Amazon? Google? Ebay? Regardless of how you find it, I can almost guarantee you would use a search engine.
My point is that as we see an exponential growth in information, we will see a similar growth for the need of high quality search engines that can sort through the infollution and serve you the results you are looking for. Therefore, search engines will never die.
Now that I've done some sufficient marketing for the search engines (you're welcome Google), I'm going to expose their two big secrets:
First, search engines are not perfect and they never will be (okay, not really a secret). They will continue to improve and become more relevant, but I don't believe they will ever be able to serve up 100% relevant results to every user 100% of the time. There are simply too many variables, including human factors that can not be mathematically factored into an algorithm, that will force search engines to remain imperfect. One quick example: if I am a developer and do a search on "Java", Google will serve me results about the Java programming language where Google may serve someone else results for Java the island or Java the drink. While it is incredible that Google can do this, what about the programmer who one day does a search for Java and is instead looking for the island or the drink?
The second secret of the search engines is that they need SEO's and they always will. I'm not talking about black hat SEO's who use manipulative tactics to get irrelevant results to rank higher in the search engines. I'm talking about SEO's who help sites to abide by search engine policies and create and serve up clean, compelling, and relevant content. The search engines can't do that themselves. They need people to do that for them and they always will.
Some people may contest that what I am describing here is not SEO, but that SEO is link building, changing title tags, code clean-up, etc.. I would strongly disagree. Those are simply the current SEO tactics. Like hundreds of other tactics, each of these may eventually disappear and be replaced by new tactics, but the practice of SEO will never die. As long as search engines are around---and they always will be---search engine optimization will be around.
So, to all those who are restlessly anticipating the death of SEO, I use the words of the masterfully depicted grim reaper: "Face it guys...SEO isn't coming."