The Death of SEO as we know it

A little firestorm has been developing since Ken Krogue a contributor at Forbes Magazine recently penned an article titles “The Death Of SEO: The Rise of Social, PR, And Real Content” and followed up with another excellent article on feedback with some additional thoughts.

In these articles he spoke about a lunch date with an SEO consultant named Adam Torkildson who told him that “Google is in the process of making the SEO industry obsolete, SEO will be dead in 2 years.” The feedback to Ken was immediate and rather vitriolic. I am sure no one in the SEO industry wants to hear this, but let’s be honest. if you are outside of the SEO industry, Google’s move makes complete sense. After all, wouldn’t each of us be better off without link farms and companies touting nonsense SEO claims, wouldn’t it be better for everyone if when searching Google the results were based off matching content, rather than little tricks?

“We hardly do any of the old SEO stuff. It still brings results, but not like it used to. Google is pulling the rug out to provide better search for their audience. They are routing out the counterfeiters. Now it must be real, valuable, content, and lots of community value and interaction” – Adam Torkildson

In the good old Google days, it was important to get links from as many sources as possible, the bigger the site that linked to you, the better your rankings became. The more links the better, it was all about volume first and quality second. Then followed SEO link farms and all the nonsense that came with these sites and today every man and his dog talks about the importance of SEO. I am in no way saying having good SEO foundations is not important, but hiring companies to enhance this – well, I always thought it was just a waste of money.

In recent years Google has been continually updating its algorithms to look for relevant content within websites to match natural search strings. Users of the search engines are also getting better and better at inputting better search queries, so it makes sense to everyone!

The article highlights the important not only of unique targeted localized content, but with the additional of social media links, likes, shares etc. Google also has the power to enhance the strength of its +1 likes, shares etc and because Google Plus is an open platform it obviously makes sense as a business to be all over Google+.

You can make the claim that Facebook is more powerful, but this depends on how many followers you have and if you have less than 1000 then you are pushing waste uphill.

I will go further to say that Google+ will – within a few short years become much more relevant and powerful for businesses, considering its deep business ties to solutions most of us use such as Gmail, Google Plus, Google Places, Google Maps, Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics.

So how will this effect you? Even if this linked article is only partially correct, if you are using software to enhance your SEO, then I would wean yourself off this over the coming months (at the very most a year). If you currently rely on a sound Google Standards based system for your content and continually write your own unique targeted articles then just keep doing what you are doing. You may however think to hire a Social Media Expert who can manage your social media sites or at the very least train someone in-house to do the same.

The final part of the article was about PR, I am not sure on this, as it is outside my area of expertise. So do yourself a favor and read the article and the comments, it is quite enjoyable.

Part One
Part Two

Comment from Adam Torkildson

Thanks for the followup article Peter. When Ken and I had lunch, it was back in March, just about 30 days prior to Penguin. My prediction was based on lots of different things, among them being the fact that google is trying to personalize, localize, and mobilize (not sure if that’s a word..) their search results and properties. Google is definitely pretty far away from being able to personalize everything, and make their search results 100% accurate. But they are working on it very hard, and by invoking Moore’s Law in their behalf, if their algorithm today doubles in effectiveness 2 years from now, most SEO’s will be out of a job just because of that fact. Add to that fact that doing SEO today is really more like doing Online PR and Content Marketing, and you find that the phrase ‘SEO’ will simply fall out of common use and will be called what it essentially is: Online PR and Content Marketing. I’m giving a keynote address to the New York chapter of the PRSA in November about this, if anyone wants to hear more.

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