Seo is dead

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When I was in San Jose last summer at the SES convention, I attended a session which dealt with contextual advertising. In the panel was Jason Calcanis and when asked about SEO he said to the audience that he thought “seo was dead”. I was pretty shocked to hear this self made millionaire announce such a thing. He had a few naysayers in the audience point out how other sites ranked better then his for X model of cellphone or X model of gadget but Jason stood his ground on the “seo is dead” stance.

Its been 5 months since I attended that conference and I have to say I agree with him. The search engines are improving at such a rapid pace. You may be able to rank for x or y #1 tomorrow but eventually you will get called out by Google or yahoo.

I have never tried to do 1 seo thing with this blog yet it ranks consistently for whatever I write about. I guess natural linking just wins in the end.

31 thoughts on “Seo is dead

  1. Nitin Malhotra

    Uumm.. I’ll have to disagree. You might not have tried to do an SEO, but WordPress itself is pretty well designed for SEO. I think that the SE’s (esp. google) are getting to the point that sites and webmasters that have great content and great natural linking can usually beat and/or at least compete with SEO’ed sites with content that isn’t as rich. But, IMHO SEO still has its place and can still be very powerful in the right situations. In another 12 months … who knows … I might be a covert by then too ;)

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  3. Lorelle

    I also disagree but agree. SEO means “Search Engine Optimization”. It has come to mean “do everything you can do to greedily attract search engines” but the concept of designing websites to meet web standards and be optimized to be friendly to search engines, and in turn users, is still a viable consideration based on the original intention.

    The process of begging and spamming to get search engines’ attentions, of abusing link exchanges and comment spam, these things are over. The brains behind search engines are killing these techniques off. This is what is dead. Clean, lean, and accessible is in and that is truly SEO.

    1. jshipman

      Ah, but then are you optimizing for the search engines or for users? In a few years (if note sooner) SEO experts would be a field deemed passé and I see quite a few of these guys turning around and claiming to be usability experts.

  4. Mike Dammann

    I agree 100% At least seo as we know it is history. Seo as in short sighted and specific tactics targeting the search engines. It’s now all marketing in general. Do things well, and the side effect are rankings. The overall quality of the SERPs will increase. There is of course still room for some tricks, but they will less and less be able to dominate.

  5. Jellyfish

    I would have to say that SEO is still very much alive. It is just in a different form than it used to be. You cannot simply sign up to a huge link farm network and instantly be number one. However, if you use several proper techniques and build content and steadily build links you will notice a huge increase.

    I just thought the mantra of the current SEO days was that content is king. Am I right?

  6. Domain Blog

    Hiya ShoeMoney:

    I think that anchor text SEO is dying, but there are still other SEO techniques that work very well and will continue to work for some time (they’ll work until everyone else catches on and ruins it, you know how it goes.)

    I used to spend a lot of time on SEO. Now, it takes up less than 5% of my time. The best way to make a site popular and therefore profitable is to spend as much time as you can writing top quality content, plain and simple. Today’s sites that have the best unique, high quality content are the site that will still be arond 5+ years from now.

    As always, IMO.

    AmCy

  7. Russell

    I fail to see the point of the post. SEO is not dead. WordPress blogs are very SEO optimized, hence your blog ranks well.

    I have many blogs and all are at least PR4, with one in particular being PR5, and having over 200 pages that are all PR5 also.

    I’m wondering how many PR5 pages I need to get the homepage to PR6?

  8. G Money

    Any blog with pingback can get a PR 4 … it’s not even work.

    And I agree with SEO being dead … i used to rule my projects using every seo/mass linking technique i could throw … outside of adding real content everyday. Now … all those efforts are in the toilet and todays adsense spoils are worth 5% of what they were last July.

    Not to mention that even if I found a trick now … it’s definetely got a stopwatch associated with it.

    If you are serious about your business, you can’t rely on natural rankings cause you could make up one day to utter destruction.

    I’m even starting to believe that google adds a certain amount of randomness to it’s results just to disrupt us.

  9. Pual

    Ok, like I wrote on my own blog, I’m new to this – I pingbacked, but neglected to include your blog url in my comments, Shoemoney. My paltry contribution is to only say I’ve learned something here, at DP, and your contributions there as well, something I will embrace as a matter of course: only quality endures. All else passes.

    This has guided my doings in other areas, but being a babe in the woods to web based businesses (my first Frontpage code was written – did I say code, I should have said “page view” in the WYSIWYG editor – it was laid down 11/7/05, mere weeks and grey hair ago), somehow I thought this was a different realm. I am not sure, with what I know, that SEO is “dead,” but I would say that absent quality content, any scheme has a very short life.

  10. Jim Westergren

    I have to disagree with you on that one.

    The general guy making a web site has no clue of vital things. For example omitting the title tag, having text in images or not getting and not caring about getting any backlinks at all.

    Or let’s take another example – the online store that prevents the spiders from spidering the URLs because no mod_rewrite was done and maybe has session IDs in the URLs.

    SEs are getting smarter, yes, but that does not mean that it is no longer needed to help a site out for the search engines.

    And btw, WordPress is already pretty much SEOd.

  11. George

    “I have never tried to do 1 seo thing with this blog yet it ranks consistently for whatever I write about. I guess natural linking just wins in the end. ”

    Exactly my issue. I hate that my low reasership blog can get #1 in Google for somethign I struggle to get a full site ranked for. I still say it’s a flaw that Google ranks older sites better.

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  13. Sherwood

    Anyone who read Wired in the 90′s probably saw Jason’s name go from obscurity to fame and back again… and now back to fame. Lesson: no such thing as “dead” in technology – just versions and incarnations. SEO today, MyS-O tomorrow ;)

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  15. ADAC

    Well, it’s almost two years after the original post. while a lot has changed, SEO still gets the job done.

    It will always be important to make sure the basic optimization is done. Even Google has many guidelines on how to be sure the search engines (especially Google) knows what your site is about. And they even recommend link building. You just have to be careful that you don’t go too far so that they consider what you do as spam.

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  17. Russell

    I have a question
    In general let say a site is ranked #1 on google, yahoo
    What is percentage role of content writting (10% 20%… 90%) ?
    What is percentage role of link building (10% 20%… 90%) ?
    What is percentage role of other SEO tactics (10% 20%… 90%) ?
    If we talk about role of all SEO techniques in terms of percentage.

  18. seo fleet

    greate

    Its been 5 months since I attended that conference and I have to say I agree with him. The search engines are improving at such a rapid pace. You may be able to rank for x or y #1 tomorrow but eventually you will get called out by Google or yahoo.

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