Is SEO a Dying Industry?



According to Shoemoney, SEO has no future. I do not always agree with him, but in this case, he is dead right. Let me pull on my flame retardant suit before I explain why.

First, understand that the only reason SEO has ever worked is because search engines were not advanced enough to always show relevant information. I remember when I started selling online. At the time, I had only a few competitors in my industry and it was easy to beat them in the SEO game. It took only a few metatags and such, and within weeks, I was dominant.

That went on for years. Back in those days, a monkey could have dominated search engines rankings. We moved from metatags to inbound links with the right anchor text and continued our domination. How easy was it? I basically knew during that period how many inbound links we needed to achieve top three rankings, and the results were uncannily consistent.

Eventually, the search engines got smarter, and ended the concept of guaranteed SEO dominance. Some people are still in denial. I still have SEO snake oil salesmen calling me trying to sell me link trading services.

Here is why SEO as we know it is going to continue its death spiral. Search engines are too smart and they have a different agenda. They do not want to reward crummy companies that play SEO games–they want to give the top listings to the best companies. And they are quickly gaining access to the information they need to do exactly that. They will use traffic and buying stats to figure out who the top companies are.

Take my industry of health supplements. Do you think Google wants to reward the SEO contortions of unknown companies and affiliates with lots of free business? Of course not–they want to send their visitors to the top supplement sites in the industry.

Within a year or two, they will be good at it. I can predict what supplement companies will be showing on the first page of Google soon. They will be the companies that have strong brands and lots of business. If you are not in the top ten of your industry, you had better find a way to get there in a hurry if you want to be on the first page of Google.

Yes, this means that the rich will get richer and the poor will starve for SEO traffic. If you are not in the first category, you had better find a way to get there quick. The middle class is about to disappear.

In my last article, I wrote about the importance of branding on the conversion rate. If you want a long term SEO strategy, guess where your focus should be? Yes, your branding. Forget the typical SEO tricks; focus instead on building your brand to a position where Google WANTS you on the front page of results.

If you absolutely have to hire an SEO expert, hire one that understands this truth. I think, however, that you would be better served by largely forgetting about SEO and focusing instead on building your brand.

  • MikeTek

    Well-written post, Greg. You make a good case for those old SEO tactics falling to the sword of Google’s quest for relevance. I see this happening as well – and it’s a jagged pill that small businesses who’ve heard that SEO is some kind of “magic bullet” that’s going to drive their traffic and sales through the roof are going to have to swallow.

    I know of some local SEO firms here on Long Island who are still doing things the old way – stuffing keywords into title tags, padding pages with extraneous content, creating pages for no reason other than to target a keyword, etc. I even worked for a few firms who were doing this. Frustrating to say the least.

    Still, I think a point that is often missed in arguments like yours is that the importance of understanding what makes a site SEO-friendly is not going anywhere. I come across websites every day that should, by the nature of how long the domain has been active/trusted, the number of inbound links they have and the relevant content they publish, be ranked very well in search engines, but because they were built with outdated methods that render much of their relevant content invisible to Googlebot and other crawlers they are nowhere to be found. In that respect, understanding search engines and how to build an SEO-friendly website is not going anywhere – it is, and will remain, an importance part of web development and Internet Marketing as a whole.

    But I would agree for the most part that businesses are better off focusing on building their brand and being remarkable than tweaking Meta tags or stuffing keywords. Those tactics, indeed, are dead, and building remarkable content or a website that is usable will undoubtedly bring a better return for the business.

    In short, I’d say that if you define “SEO” as the old tactics of stuffing keywords into title tags, content, etc, it is indeed dead or dying. Most businesses, especially those with brand new sites, are going to have to really be remarkable to make it to the top for competitive keywords – and it will take a lot more than stuffing keywords and getting some inbound directory links.

  • http://www.jaankanellis.com Jaan Kanellis

    Nope Shoe is wrong her here. SEO will always be around as long as web developers keep ignoring titles tags. As long as developers keep making one page Flash website. SEO is not dying because of “Google Toolbar data, Google User history, and Google Analytics data” it is just changing. Even with that data involved in figuring out what each person will see in the SERPs, you have to believe that some rich girl in LA will see the same Amazon book page ranking well as some poor college student in NY.

    You will also need to incorporate a universal search optimization plan going forward. Gone are the days of just text links that we click on. There will be more to it than that. Shoe has the right idea that traditional SEO is dying, but SEO itself is simply evolving. Could his post just be another long line of crappy link bait by people in our niche?

    Jaan Kanellis’s last blog post..SEO Analogies Help Us Understand

  • http://www.brentdavidpayne.com/resume/seo-specialist/ Brent D. Payne

    I’ve heard this for years now. Yet, SEO is still very much alive and needed more and more. How it has changed is that it is no longer about ‘gaming the system’ it is about properly communicating with Google and other SEs so they can understand what your page is about. Doing link building from proper sites that use proper anchor text, doing things such as nofollows on Ts&Cs pages, and just finding ways to better communicate with both the human AND the robot.

    SEOs will still be here 10 years from now. What they are doing will change yet again (i.e. we do a lot more community building than we used to do).

    Maybe, just maybe, we will have finally brushed off the ‘snake oil’ reputation that continues to haunt us from such a small percentage of the industry.

    Brent D. Payne

  • http://www.viperchill.com/blog/ Glen Allsopp

    What about long-tail keywords and keywords that don’t have huge brands around them? Is google going to look at which site is getting the most traffic before they return the results? Nope

    25% of search queries every day are brand new, how do they know who should be ranking above who. The basics might not have as much of an effect in the future, but they will still matter to some degree for a while yet.

    Glen Allsopp’s last blog post..Social Media Presence of the Technorati Top 20

  • http://www.favbrowser.com Web Browser

    Whatever… By the way, ShoeMoney blog is about? As I see there posts with t shirts and from his life only, Is this personal blog or?

    SEO won’t die and you know that, just another link bait…

    Web Browser’s last blog post..Opera Dragonfly Hits the Streets

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  • Jim Gianoglio

    From the third-to-last paragraph: “Yes, this means that the rich will get richer and the poor will starve for SEO traffic. If you are not in the first category, you had better find a way to get there quick. The middle class is about to disappear.”

    Interesting to consider how this would benefit the SEs – if the “middle class” websites are no longer able to rank on page 1 organically, they’ll have to rely soley on paid search. But would the “rich” websites eliminate their paid search campaigns because they’re always high in the organic results? I doubt it. So those lowly “middle class” sites would have to pay the piper an ever increasing price to be listed in the paid results. Even from Pittsburgh I can hear the cash registers in Mountain View chinging away.
    Enough rambling… just my random thinking-out-loud for the day!

  • http://www.idoseo.com David Saunders

    It may change as the Internet evolves but I really don’t believe good SEO will not go away.

    I think there (as you must) that there are way too many factors in getting a website ranked well.

  • http://blog.seoptimise.com Kevin Gibbons

    I’d also disagree with Shoemoney on this one.

    I agree that building a brand is very important online but there’s far more to getting good rankings than that. There’s too many websites who despite building well-respected brands just don’t understand SEO and aren’t targeting the relevant keywords to suit their business. As Glen pointed out there’s the long tail of search which needs to be optimised for, some websites may even have a good selection of high traffic, relevant keywords to target but perhaps these are unrealistic so rankings will be low and search traffic minimal.

    If there’s no thought involved in the websites structure from an SEO perspective it’s unlikely to maximise it’s potential in the search engines.

    Kevin Gibbons’s last blog post..I’m not a conspiracy theorist but…

  • http://www.360sell.com Sean Maguire

    Nice post Greg. I think the non-linkbait title would be “SEO will radically evolve over the coming years. Are you ready for it?”

    I believe the most successful search marketers, will be those that adopt and practice a holistic approach to helping companies build their business. This means a combination of strong content building (ie. copywriting), effective PR, PPC, etc.

    I do agree that the hollow manipulation path to SERP success, (i.e. links with little to no company substance on arrival to page), will go the way of the dinosaur over the coming years. But then – we all knew it was about content anyway. If you’re strictly a “link-builder” with no regard for content – I think in two years – you’re in trouble.

    It’s the internet marketing continuum – Content builds brand, brand builds traffic, traffic builds sales.

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    You certainly love to dive into the fire! :-)

    I saw Shoemoney’s post yesterday and here’s the comment I added to my Google Reader link:

    “I have to agree that there’s no future in “current SEO.” The smart marketers are including social media, usability, viral, and much more. I know I am. :-)”

    It’s all about semantics. Current SEO practices will die out. Then again, the same can be said of the SEO practices we used in 1999.

  • http://www.favbrowser.com Web Browser

    SEO will die only if there won’t be any more search engines. Will this happen? You tell me.

    Web Browser’s last blog post..Firefox Security? Here We Go Again

  • http://www.360sell.com Sean Maguire

    @Andy – Well, as a matter of fact I am one of those “All In” types. I find it much more satisfying. I hope you don’t mind if I spam your board for awhile! ;) Have been lurking and admiring for some time.

    As for this post – When someone calls a spade a spade, what can you say. Didn’t really enjoy Shoe’s post – but this one is quite insightful. All SEO’s should take note and embrace the challenge of improving / diversifying their business models.

  • http://www.samuellavoie.com/ Samuel Lavoie

    The shoe’s post is a great example of how a viral content can work and create discussion..

    @Jaan agree with you, Shoe is right on traditional SEO.

    SEO the way some companies doing it right now is dying soon IMO, ie. linkbuilding, bad website, no content, to much ppc, etc..

    On the other hand, SEO is more going toward Information Architect, UX, copywriting skills, front end web development… all that through better internet strategist.

    Samuel Lavoie’s last blog post..Intracom 08, April 29th in Quebec City

  • SEOfanboy

    This guy wrote for shock value, he doesn’t know what he is talking about. Andy, send this guy to a Bruce Clay SEOToolset class…stop having him write these sad articles that try to get some check value linkbait.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jonathannelson Jonathan Nelson

    First off, I believe SEO is part of the future because it’s a philosophy. It may take on a whole different name or form, but it will never die. There will always be an application or process that can be optimized better.

    SEO has always been about putting yourself in front of the right people at the right time. This cannot be accomplished by merely using traditional ‘building your brand’ techniques. It takes a seasoned search engine professional to formulate a custom strategy that will ONLY work for a specific line of business.

  • http://www.srclarke.com Todd Mintz

    Like I said in Shoemoney’s comment thread, he (and you) are defining SEO way too narrowly. Sure, it will become much harder to “trick” the engines but SEO isn’t about “tricks”…it’s a holistic approach to maximizing the potential of your website which can include any number of tecniques.

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  • http://blog.shareresults.com CT Moore

    I think that it’s just a case of search engines growing up along with the internet. Now there are actually other tools and indicators available to SEs (and everybody) with which to gage a site’s importance. As for as actually internet usage/users go, moreover, these newer tools and indicators are much more representative of a site’s authority than a mere link.

    So is SEO dying? No. Is it growing up? Absolutely. It’s just getting more nuanced and complicated, as life generally does when you grow up.

    CT Moore’s last blog post..SEO Needs to Grow Up Along with Google and the Web

  • http://www.ourmonmouthblog.com Our Monmouth

    Bold prediction but I must disagree. What I do agree with is that if Google keeps on applying different rules to different businesses SEO techniques will be less effective (ie rich get richer). The search environment changes and so to will the practitioners, if they don’t adapt, upgrade skills, and stay current then careers will be shortened.

    Our Monmouth’s last blog post..10 Endangered NJ Historic Sites

  • http://freeipodsetc.co.uk wii guy

    It’s an interesting thought. In my personal opinion, as long as there are search engines there will be people who are trying to manipulate it. Of course the face of SEO will constantly change due to the fact the search engines will constantly change their algorithms.

    Due to the incredible volue of information on the net the use of search engines will never disappear. They are hear to stay and so is SEO.

    wii guy’s last blog post..See how fast you can type

  • http://www.zello.us Vi Wickam

    Here’s how I stand on this argument. SEO is easier than ever if you know the rules of engagement.

    Spammy crap never works long term. It never has, it never will. Google doesn’t want spam sites on the front page for any search!

    If you want to win at SEO, Greg has the right idea: You must be the best result for the search query. I repeat, you will never fool google for long.

    Where I disagree is that google will discriminate against highly relevant smaller sites. The biggest site isn’t always the most relevant, and most the time…it’s not!

    If you want a wide selection of G. Loomis Fishing Rods, you should go to the G. Loomis Superstore – http://www.gloomis.us, not Cabelas. Niche stores are still alive and well on the Internet, and being focused is still the best way to beat the big boys online.

    My 2.5 Cents (adjusted for stagflation),
    Vi Wickam
    Zello Partners
    http://www.zello.us
    Online Marketing for Real Business

  • http://www.newhomessection.com Jayson

    WOW – I heard about Shoemoney’s thoughtless statements about SEO and I’ve now read yours. I’ve also read everyone talking about how the Googler uses stats like CTR, bounce rate, time on site etc.. to determine how a site ranks (I think it’s extremely small if any). Any proof of this? ANYONE? … Yeah probably just speculation.

    In addition, let’s say that this is true… how easy is it going to be to game that? Shouldn’t take long for a few companies to spring up that hire people to visit sites, visit multiple pages and leave a browser open. Maybe the exact opposite – talk about negative SEO.

    You better become a top 10 branded site???? Okay here’s the deal with that, I know about the top 10 branded sites in several industries and I go to their website directly… I don’t use a search engine to find them and I never will. I use a search engine to find out about stuff that I don’t know. Makes sense right? SE’s would do themselves harm if they returned the top 10 sites that everyone knew about with each search query..Should I just jump to page 2 and 3? I think it was your article the other day stating that sites are enjoying high conversion rates because people know about them and that many of those conversions are from direct traffic.

    Here’s the deal with your definition of SEO. You’ve seemed to have mistakenly lumped SEO in with spam – I’d think anyone that says they are an SEO knows that link building (on the surface) and keyword stuffing etc. is out and has been for a long time. There’s much more to SEO than you seem to realize. Thanks for chiming in Andy with some newer techniques as it appears that Greg is aimlessly wondering around in the late 90s.

    I got an idea! Let’s spend all of our time branding as opposed to giving users something to be impressed with…yeah that’ll work well with the Googlers new “stats based algo”…. Should I spend a million dollars on a 3 month TV campaign just to increase site traffic and neglect to build more than a home page? Maybe I should spend millions on branding and then create a website with information that’s next to impossible to find, access and understand.

    Greg, if your assumption is correct, the Googler will destroy the “information highway” and create an information wall. I bet a lot of search engines hope Google would be so careless…talk about an easy way to lose market share. JMO

  • http://www.vitabase.com Greg Howlett

    Too much here to address everything. However, let me address one thing that seems to keep coming up.

    I am accused of defining SEO too narrowly. Actually, I see SEO very broadly–really a holistic kind of thing.

    However, my impression of the SEO industry is that they are the ones still stuck in the past. When they call me, their strategies always show their ignorance. They are still hung up on things like link trading and adding content (like a few articles are really going to make a difference).

    For an ecommerce site in a competitive niche, throwing up a few articles and trying to get a few inbound links is a futile strategy. Adding so-called long-tail keywords is close to worthless too.

    Taking these kind of approaches work about as well as trying to increase conversion rates by adding a privacy page. Yes, you should do them, but don’t expect dramatic results.

    My philosophy is if you are doing thing right as a business, SEO is a natural result. On the other hand, the SEO crowd largely believes that if you do SEO, you can get a lot of free traffic. They were right in the past but wrong today.

    Now here is the thing. I have never worked with a SEO that really understood what I am talking about. Yes, they give the idea some lip service and parrot what they read on blogs, but they really do not understand the relationship between running a business and SEO.

    I do think some good SEOs are out there, and if I were going to hire one, I would look for one that was a great business person.

  • http://www.leadsexplorer;com John Stewart

    Content is king.
    SEO can cheat the findability for a while, but not over a long time span.

    Traffic in B2B is not leads.
    We have traffic thanks to content, now we need conversion.
    http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details/leadsexplorer.com

    Still the question is:
    Google makes money on Adsense/Adwords.
    So how does this fit together with being found on the Internet? Does Google take into account the money spend on their advertising systems or not?

  • http://www.newhomessection.com Jayson

    So a 1-3 % increase in conversion rates isn’t dramatic? (privacy policy)could be millions for some and thousands for others.

    I get at least 60% of my traffic from long tail keywords – not too mention that long tail keywords often provide better, more qualified leads.

    We helped a small, successful business and business woman have the best quarter ever through a 300% increase in organic traffic. Doesn’t mean anything though, right? She should have spent 100 times as much on branding only to find that consumers now search for information using search engines and guess what? She’s not there.

    I’ll tell you right now that a good business man doesn’t think that focusing on branding alone is a good strategy. Don’t you think that top placement in Google helps with credibility and branding? Don’t you think that a user friendly website and earning great links from authority sites helps with branding?

    Throw something out that 99% of the businesses out there can afford… I doubt Nike and Walmart are subscribers.

    Maybe you’re forgetting that SEO is a part of a “holistic” branding strategy and that, for small businesses, branding on its own is futile or at least out of the question.

  • http://management.curiouscatblog.net/ John Hunter

    It seems to me the answer basically depends on the definition of SEO. If SEO is specific tactics used in 2007, then it may be in trouble. If it is about how to rank well in search I don’t see that dying out. Even if simple tricks don’t work, there will just be more complex strategies that are effective. That business will likely remain as long as search is a significant factor.

    John Hunter’s last blog post..China Outsourcing Manufacturing to USA

  • http://www.brianchappell.com Brian Chappell

    Calcanis and Shoemnoey should go bowling one night. They both thrive on creating controversy. I am not even going to give his site the click.

    If your an SEO and have not realized you need to grasp ahold of the changes ahead, then you might take a deeper look outside the conundrum so many get sucked into.

  • http://www.lasvegasmedia.tv/ Donovan

    Greg I think the title should be changed to “Is today’s seo techniques a dead end?” I think the two most valid points are that the results are changing to reflect the best sites and branding is in (it always has been). But from my understanding this is what a quality search engine is suppose to do anyways. Me, like others I’m sure, when searching want quality results and if it means only the rich will have the best results then you should follow their lead.

    To sum it up, I don’t think that the seo industry is dying, I believe that almost like every other industry “professionals” need to constantly keep pace with the trends and in our business the search engine algorithims are what sets ours. So as you mentioned above the search engine’s are getting more advanced and are able to detect what belongs and what does not, we will of course will adjust our methods for staying in the game and if that means going from link building to jumping through hula hoops to rank #1 then that’s what you do. I believe the search engines will always have a paper trial on the reasons why sites are ranked the way they are which can be mimicked or out done.

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  • http://www.seodesignsolutions.com/blog/ Jeffrey Smith

    Man, 2 blogs in one day attempting to perform a eulogy for this burgeoning new industry.

    What is it with the kool-aid those cats are drinking?

    On the contrary our firm has more leads flowing steadily by the hour as a result of “the marketing revolution / exodus” both enterprise and small business alike are taking from traditional marketing and exorbitant advertising rates.

    Cost per sale is the new language, SEO is evolving, but not dying for sure.

    Jeffrey Smith’s last blog post..Building Link Popularity for Your Website One Link At a Time!

  • http://www.webdesignmedia.co.uk Ralph

    Let’s see the positive side of it. I don’t see SEO dying anytime soon but for sure it will go through some big changes as search engines are constantly changing. The SEO guys out there will need to catch up fast if they want to stay in the lead, this theory goes for everything even in the offline world.

  • http://ankitrawat.com/blog Ankit

    SEO Exists till n until Google Exists !!

    Ankit’s last blog post..Yellow Warning Message from Google

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  • http://www.larrylim.net Larry Lim

    I’m an SEO consultant, gradually moving towards PPC services.

    While I agree that it’s getting more difficult, it really depends on the marketing objectives, e.g. optimizing a local company for country search.

    Take my case for example – I have virtually no chance of getting top rankings for “SEO” on google.com, yet I’m ranked in the top 5 out of 315 million results on google.com.sg.

    Since I’m targeting the Singapore market, it’s exactly what I want because Google redirects Singapore users to google.com.sg by default.

    Larry Lim’s last blog post..Are Freelancers 2nd Class?

  • http://seo.feuxi.info Loki

    SEO is not dead, it just smell funny….

    For sure, lot of old SEO tricks are dead, some can still work to promote a page on a specific keyword for a short period of time (e.g. SEO contests) but will get the whole site penalized on the long term.

    So forget about tricks and start thinking about marketing strategy, in which understanding how search engines work and evolve is still an important piece of the global picture.

    Loki’s last blog post..Le PageRank

  • http://www.greatpriceshere.com Nicole

    Thank God for some plain speaking in the blogsphere for a change. The concluding advise is also absolutely bang on target. Great post.

  • http://dailyrevolution.net Brian Donohue

    In Mitch Albom’s now-classic memoir on the death of his teacher, Tuesdays With Morrie, he tells the story of an evening at a college basketball game. The crowd started chanting “we’re number one!”, loudly and stridently, until Morrie stood up and shouted a question: “what’s wrong with being number two?”

    The chant stopped as the kids suddenly turned within and asked themselves a question that had probably never occurred to them.

    Brian Donohue’s last blog post..Guns, God, and GTA IV

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  • http://www.PremierNetClicks.com CSSteve

    I am afraid you and Shoemoney have totally missed the mark here. The concept that SEO is dead or even dying because search engines are “too smart” for it to work, demonstrates a lack of understanding. What you are missing is that these new smarter search engines are exactly what makes SEO more successful and more necessary than ever. Google, Yahoo and the others have no desire to develop and impenetrable hierarchy. The world you describe is a world where only companies that are large and successful deserve good search results. As if only Coke and Pepsi should be selling soda pop and all new brands and flavors are just scam artist trying trick consumers into accidentally trying their product. That type of innovation stifling corporate dominance is not what the internet is all about. In fact it goes against the free market in general not to mention downright un-American. If the search engines ever did take that path, you can bet they would lose market share. If anything has proven true about internet users, it is that we don’t like to be force fed the same old mainstream propaganda. That is what the television is for and the search engine owners know it.

    I think anyone can appreciate the value of branding. But let’s get real here. You are putting the cart before the horse. All the branding in the world will do you no good without great exposure. Most of us will agree that there is no better exposure in the world than the 1st page or a relevant search. So before we declare SEO dead, let’s take a good look at just how well they work. The internet search is not so incredibly popular by accident.

  • http://www.businesshost.it JeffBHost

    Anybody that says that, has to go back to basics.

  • http://dailyrevolution.net Brian Donohue

    Here’s a problem in our era of Karl Rove dialectics: the very wise observations of “CSSteve” are brushed aside with a brusque, evidence-free, “go back to basics” dismissal. Could it be that what CSSteve is saying is what I encourage my counseling clients to reflect upon: that when we nurture the substance, the core truth of a relationship, a product, situation, or the individual self, the image (“branding”) will take care of itself? It would appear that this is precisely what consumers and (this year) voters are saying: we want substance, meaning, durability — not 8 years’ worth of spin and veneer.

    Brian Donohue’s last blog post..7 Heaven

  • http://www.designandhostingservice.com Kyle Watters

    SEO has way more things involved other than just Links and the links you do have both out going and incomming links must be strong to help you. Weak links will just bring your site down. Links are only one part of SEO.

    Establish your web site objectives, take a look at your META’s to make sure they are done right as well as check existing search engine ranking, web site traffic, results, and determine where the gaps might be.

    Study your competitors and determine what they are doing right and where you can improve your efforts.

    Examine your web site’s content for quantity and quality – whether it is relevant and appropriately keyword-dense for your search engine ranking goals.

    Ensure that each page of your web site is optimized at the structural and code levels.

    Maintain consistent branding and usability throughout your web site – although it’s now optimized for search engine “robots”, everything still has to look right for the rest of us!

    Well written content is the key. You must have rich content that is relevent to your product and your keywords, discription and title must also be relevent.

    Doorway pages, domain cloaking, keyword stuffing, link farms or other gimmicks to make your site seem to be more than it is will get your site blacklisted by the engines.

    This is just a little touch on SEO as there is even more involved however I do not have time to talk about it right now.

    If you would like help with SEO come and visit us at our website.

    SEO is not even close to dead. I have tried sites without it and with it and sites without it had barley any traffic. Sites I did SEO to had hundreds and thousands more targeted traffic.

    Thanks for reading and have a great day.
    kyle

  • http://www.bnrsearch.com Frank Reed

    Wow. Nothing like an extreme view to get some reaction from folks. Personally, I think Shoemoney is a sensationalist who has done just what you suggest Greg; built his brand. Many times hype trumps content / reality. This is certainly a case in point. To say SEO is dying is pretty ridiculous. To say it is evolving is realistic. I like reality personally.

  • http://themailbot.com Nicole

    I certainly hope it’s not a dying industry.

  • http://buildecommercesite.blogspot.com/ Nate Desmond

    Thought provoking article, but I disagree. SEO is not about trying to force or trick the search engines into putting your site high in the SERPS. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, not Search Engine Tricking. However, I also believe that Black Hat SEO will also continue to evolve along with the search engine’s algorithims.

    Nate Desmond’s last blog post..Give Your Business a Great Name!

  • http://www.eastofedenleathers.com Sherrie

    I disagree and even making that comment is similar to Bill Gates saying that 1 MB of memory would be quite sufficient, within a year he was proved very wrong. SEO will evolve and to comment otherwise is asinine. I have have been doing this for many sites since 1998 and it has already evolved.
    I have to think that you must just say whatever pops into your head in order to have something to say, stop being a talking head.

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  • http://N/A Numetrick

    Hogwash!

    Google and other engines alike are investing(will be investing)in technology that will soon be able to crawl and index complex scripts for information such as Javascript and Flash.

    Like others have said the pinnings of SEO will change whereby SEO’s will need to focus on wider communities, information architecture and usability.

    It wont be so much about on page factors anymore but more about content and user experience. How useful is the information on your site and how user friendly your site is. These factors will decide/continue to decide who gets the link from other webmasters and more importantly so linking will still have a weighting.

    How else can an engine decide how important a brand/website is other than finding a means of checking references towards it.

    If its not links it will indeed be something contextual or referential which helps engines gauge relevancy.

    The whole point of search is that it is supposed to give un-baised search results when it comes to organic listings. So why would Google and other engines go out of their way to promote a large brand purely because hey have a prominent brand? This is a poor user experience by any means and users will soon find alternative methods to find information once they catch on.

    Going even further if SEO’s are not optimizing for SE’s they will be optimizing the next type of web search facility, platforms are constantly evolving.

    SEO dead? do some homework.

    People are already aware of paid search and how manipulated they are…if organic results become like this people will soon abandon them.

    D

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  • http://www.igwebs.com/igblog Jim

    Hogwash indeed.
    As one who is not fond of SEO per say I would have to agree with nay sayers. As long as there are websites, search engines and the desirte to rank high on the search results,I hate to say it but SEO’s will exits. The reason is there will always be those who want to take a pill to remedy anything. In other words, take the easy way out. However, SEO as known today or practiced today will die or will evolve as have other industries before it.

    Jim’s last blog post..SEO Made Easy!

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  • http://www.axcelinternet.com Axcel

    Nice linkbait topic and I agree with everyone who says seo isn’t going anywhere, as I’m sure you know. It will just continue to evolve.

  • http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/080514-070719 Branding is Dead

    On the contrary, Search has killed Branding. Why would I go back to a specific store if I could just go online, search, find and buy.

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  • wayne

    This posting is ridiculous. Reminds me of the tale that we are running out of oil in the next years that has been told for nearly half a century. But surprise, suprise we are constantly finding new oil (brazil, northpole, etc.) or the increased price makes other oil sources (oil sand) profitable.

    As long as Google doesn’t start to serve all the trillions of search request manually, people will be tweaking rankings. An algorithm is still an algorithm.

    I recommend you to stop believing all the Google propaganda and just have a look at the SERPs and why sites rank or not. I took Google nearly 10 years to only get rid of the worst forms of spam.

    Btw, Googles business model is not to run a search engine – it is about selling ads.

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  • http://www.ezbusinessneeds.com Singapore SEO

    I will not predict the future of SEO and put them in words. No one will know what might happen in years down the road. SEO might be dead or it may have a total facelift, who knows?

  • http://www.80millionmoviesfree.com franki

    It may change as the Internet evolves but I really don’t believe good SEO will not go away.

  • http://realestatetwincities.net Kermit Johnson

    I think the best advice is to just keep adding quality content because Google will soon be intelligent enough to just look for that. Google will be very good at figuring out what is natural.

    In my industry, real estate sites that provide inventory and meaningful content will be the ones that survive.

    Kermit Johnson’s last blog post..Blaine MN MLS #3583203 is the Best Value in the Whole Anoka County Area!

  • http://www.website-content-providers.com Misty Cryer-Davidson

    SEO as we “used” to know it is definitely dead. The search engines are more concerned about content and tags that tell what the webpage is about. Link popularity is still valued, but reciprocal linking has pretty much gone to the dogs.

    Misty Cryer-Davidson’s last blog post..Internet News that you can trust!

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  • http://i-trepreneur.com Internet Entrepreneur

    I agree that Google and the other SEs will be paying more and more attention to the ‘social voting’ system (which by the way can also be manipulated), content will become King again and you will need to provide more incentives in form of usability and interactivity so that people would link to your site (create your Brand awareness and loyalty). The interactive elements such as widgets, Flash and Java elements, AJAX, podcasts, etc. will most probably become ‘indexable’ at some point and will certainly require SEO. Internet will change, search engine algorithms will change, and SEO will evolve as well. May be at some point it will become more like Hi-Tech Marketing or smth like that.

    Internet Entrepreneur’s last blog post..Will the SEO era come to an end in 2 years?

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/YouGov-Surveys/28215144078 YouGov

    It probably is, at least by its historical definition. I think the industry will always be necessary as the workings of search engines is not really common knowledge in the lay community, but its role is likely to be providing information more than active optimisation.

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  • http://QuebecCityCondo.com dominick

    At first I thought SEO is an dying industry too. But, after all, Greg and Shoemoney explain it pretty well. SEO is just going through temporary obstacles, if SEO can break through this obstacle, SEO can soon be in another level.

  • http://www.myflowerhaven.com.sg/ Send Flowers To Singapore

    Is SEO dea? Absolutely not! Infact on the contrary, it's thriving. With so much traffic going into SE, and businesses realizing online is a much smarter and trackable way to advertize, there'll be more and more businesses vying for Google/Yahoo top spot. What's changing is that it's going to be harder and harder to rank well with many more competing sites.

  • alandot spiders

    I will not know the future of SEO No one will
    know what might happen in years down the road. SEO might be dead or it
    may have a total facelift, who knows?

  • michael bian

    I believe is wasn’t..