A few days ago I wrote about how SEO has no future. There were a lot of people who agreed and then a lot of confused people. After writing the post I thought for a bit perhaps even I was confused about what exactly SEO is. So I decided to ask all the leading SEO experts what their definition of SEO is. Basically everyone is on the same page as me (or I as them) that SEO is the human interaction with a website that makes it rank than it naturally would have. Yes that is a huge broad definition… I know.
Lets take a step back. Back in the days of altavista and webcrawler it was pretty much a spamfest. Until one day this pretty badass search engine came out named Google.
Google’s mission has always been to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. Back in the early days Google claimed that there was no such thing as spam in their search engine index and if there ever was then its algorithm had failed. Then one day Google found itself very very deep in spam. Also legitimate mom and pops had no chance against the spammers who were back in action kicking Google’s butt just like they had done to every search engine before.
Google needed help. They needed a hero. It was now in their best business interest to let humans influence their search engine. Give them a bit of help on how they can better crawl their sites. Enter GoogleGuy. Google appointed a person dubbed GoogleGuy to police the forums and social sites like Slashdot and help the legitimate webmasters (in Google’s opinion) rank better in Google by the use of SEO. This worked pretty well and Google saw quite a business value in allowing humans to influence their algorithm. The only problem for Google was that this was not a long term solution.
Enter the Toolbar. This was (in my opinion) the single biggest thing that Google did to improve their search engine and they obviously saw value in it. They were paying people 1$ per install to keep track of what they were doing on the internet. Not to mention the half billion dollar deal with Firefox. With the toolbar they could tell exactly where users are going and there experiences with those websites. This mixed with Google Analytics (another awesome service) and they are getting much more valuable data about the websites.
The start of the death of SEO:
As Google started getting more and more data on sites the need for webmasters to help them greatly decreased. This Googleguy disappeared from forums but about the same time a engineer from Google named Matt Cutts appeared. His blog soon became the voice of the Google search team and instead of really giving tips and answering questions he laid down the law. In particular to paid links and paid reviews as well as other items which make Google look stupid.
The death of SEO is not going to happen overnight but it is close. I personally believe that Google will achieve their original goals and not allow humans to influence its algorithms. I know it sounds like SEO… well actually the definitions are the same thing. The difference between SEO and spam is what Google allows. There is no future in SEO and we will very soon all go back to being spammers. There is no black or white there is only SEO.
So what is the future on how sites will rank? I personally believe AdWords will be your entry point so that Google can get data on users experiences for key phrases then rank you organically accordingly. That seems to make sense.