The imminent death of SEO has been a hot topic amongst SEO professionals for quite some time now. Some SEO professionals worry that their careers are in jeopardy since search engines are continually making improvements to their technologies. Search engines are in the process of completely revamping their ranking strategies to fight spammers and improve user experience. For example, Google is currently improving intent and behavior-based search in order to provide more relevant search results. So what does this all mean for the future of SEO? Is the death of SEO an inevitable outcome of the advancement of search engines?
People have been predicting the end of SEO since the very beginning. While it’s certain that things on the SEO front are always changing and that search engines are getting smarter, SEOs will continually adapt to these changes just as they have in the past. As long as search engines list websites without requiring the websites to pay a fee, SEO will exist.
Google’s Improvements and What They Mean for the Future of SEO
In the quest to fight spam and improve user experience, Google is in the process of implementing a series of changes in behavior and intent-based search. Every person who conducts a search for a particular term will have different results based on their location and search history. As a result of these changes, SEO has to switch from only targeting keywords to focus more on increasing traffic and conversions. A possibility is that link building will become far less important in the future of SEO because Google will determine the value of a website based on how visitors engage with it. The ultimate goal of websites will be to provide compelling content that entices visitors to read, share, bookmark, and so on.
Social input through voting is another feature that search engines are tinkering with in order to provide user-controlled rankings. Search engine users might have the chance to vote for sites they like and sites will get ranked based on such votes. The model will be similar what’s seen on social voting sites like Digg and Reddit. Of course, search engines will have to find a way to ensure that votes are made naturally in order to prevent black hat SEOs from fooling the search engine bots.
Google and other search engines are raising the bar in SEO. Initially, this will make it harder for SEO professionals to do their job but the end result is positive. Spammers and black hat SEOs will have more difficulty succeeding in their unscrupulous efforts and search engine users will be provided with content that is more relevant.
Humans, Not Machines
As always, the aim of webmasters and SEO professionals should be to appeal to humans. People spend so much time trying to trick the search engines that they forget who they are ultimately serving: people! Your site should be optimized but your priority should always be to fulfill needs and provide solutions. Considering the direction that SEO is going, human actions and behavior will ultimately determine rankings. Your SEO success depends on your ability to engage people through great content and social media marketing.