The SEO Apocolypse, More Theory than Substance

I could have also titled this entry, “More miscommunication than finality.”

Digging through my feed reader today I was blown away by the number of posts Shoemoney, Jeremy Schoemaker, had incited from his, “SEO has no future” post.

Yesterday he updated his thoughts in a new post:

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.

Shoemoney’s concept is based on the idea that data has replaced much of Google’s original reliance on providing webmasters with beneficial information on how to get their sites ranked better. This data comes from places like Google Analytics and its toolbar.

Shoemoney believes that the data that Google is now able to get their hands on is going to lead to a major SEO apocolypse, where the only remaining life forms will be spammers, or even white hat’s that have mutated into spammers.

I am not sure I am buying into this outlook 100%.

Now let me preface my tearing to shreds of his theory by stating that Jeremy is smarter than me, and he has the bank roll to prove it, and in this game that is all that matters. However, I am smart enough to take what I have seen through my personal experiences and deduce where my profession is going.

From what I observe in the Google SERPs now the three most important factors in their algo seem to be link equity, title tags, and domain trust.

None of these issues relate back to the data being kept by Google.

Shoemoney says at the end of his post:

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.

If this turns out to be true in the near future, how easily will this system be gamed, and how much sooner will the rankings be swimming in spam. Won’t Google be longing for the days of SEO when they have industrious marketers bidding and gaming Adwords on terms to increase organic rankings. This will effectively kill their natural search product, which fuels their Adwords revenue stream.

Let’s say Jeremy’s vision of the future is true. A search index refined by data. An algorithm that cannot be influenced by humans. Won’t quality SEO tactics benefit the web site owner in this world as well?

To increase your traffic volume, you will need high quality content, a large amount of links from high quality sources that can push sustainable traffic to your site, and to deliver the content on a clean well structured platform.

These all seem like the basic tenants of modern “white hat” SEO.

Do I think SEO will change. Yes. Of course. I would be naive to think that a technology based profession would not change on a daily basis. However, I do not see SEO, the art of optimizing a site for search, ever going the way of the dinosaur as long as we have search engines.

Also there are concepts such as the semantic web, which Google has invested in, which rely heavily on human contributors.

No, the SEO nuclear holocaust is not near.

But man does it make great link bait.

2 thoughts on “The SEO Apocolypse, More Theory than Substance

  1. Not to mention basing the entirety of one’s strategy and future around what Google is doing is narrow-minded. If Google could make it impossible for humans to influence search results (they can’t), there are other search engines which need to be factored into the visibility of websites. To deny this is very short-sighted.

    Link bait is about the whole of this entire topic. Link bait and disappointed headshaking. Let’s all get back to what we do best, making websites that work and can be found. We’ll leave the future of Google search to Google. If they blow up their reputation by turning it into gambling for page views, Yahoo and MSN will probably go frolick in the streets. Ask will have a party and Excite and Lycos and all those old guys might peek their heads out and try to be well known search options again. In the meantime, if we’re smart and do our jobs well, any major screwups on Google’s part will be a fart in the wind for us, even if it’s armageddon for them.

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