If you want to know why SEO will never die, I don’t need to give you five reasons or a 2,000 word essay on the subject (though I will do so anyway because otherwise you’ll feel cheated having dropped by the Quantum SEO Labs blog for a long, thoughtful blog post only to see a single sentence). The answer is quite simple: human nature. Okay, so for those who wanted the longer version of the answer, here it is:
Shortcuts are Easy
While I consider myself an SEO expert as does Yasir, both of us will admit that ultimately, SEO is all about a shortcut. In theory at least, according to Google, SEO should consist exclusively of on page SEO. This means making sure you have quality content which is also interesting to read and which has good keyword density. And that’s pretty much it – Google doesn’t really want you to do much beyond that.
The thing is, people who want to succeed online know that they can’t rely on just doing on page SEO. In essence, the purist form of SEO would be link bait, where you write such compelling stuff that people naturally want to link to it and thus you get the backlinks that you need in order to rank highly on Google. The idea is after all that the more links you have, the more “votes” your site has and thus it deserves to rank higher.
The reality is that because we all know this, we all try to build links in addition to trying to attract links to our content. It’s in essence a kind of a shortcut – we’re not going to wait for the crowds to beat a path to our door but will instead bring our great idea to the crowds and thus try to get them to make a purchase from us.
Human nature (remember, I told you it’s all about human nature) is to look for shortcuts and thus we try to find ways to get our message out quicker. Thus SEO will never die because quite simply, people will always be looking for ways to get more traffic to their websites and thus will always have a need for some kind of SEO services.
You Can’t Outprogram the Human Mind
Yes, it’s human nature again, but from a different perspective. You see, Google’s latest Penguin update was meant to try to find a way to get around people who do much SEO work. Thus those who are found to have lots of off-site links are penalized. As I said in an earlier post, I think this is patently silly because the fact is that Google Bowling is going to be making a comeback thanks to this policy, but that’s not the point here.
The fact is that even if Google tries to program their systems to recognize artificial interference on the part of SEO experts like me and Yasir, they simply cannot program for human ingenuity. Already we have a guide up here to beating Penguin and dozens of other sites also have similar guides up. In essence, while the rules now require more manual link building efforts than before, you simply cannot program out the ability of human beings to think and come up with ways to beat the system.
Or, to put it another way – there is no such thing as a lock designed by man which another man cannot find a way to pick. Now I know what you’re saying – what if the computers start programming themselves ala SkyNet? Well, first off, we’re a long way away from seeing an Arnold lookalike coming back in time to try to kill the leader of the humans before he can lead the revolt.
Second and more importantly, computers will always be hampered by the fact that they were originally programmed by people. Even if the computer computer could program itself, it still has to work with what it originally was fed, which is the ideas that a human being fed it with. Thus, the idea that computers could ever put together a foolproof system to distinguish between natural link building and SEO is simply foolish. They can make it more difficult and make more work for writers and SEO experts who will do more manual work rather than relying on spun junk, but they can’t eliminate SEO completely.
Like I said – it always comes back to human nature. The fact is that people are inherently lazy. We don’t want to do more work than we absolutely have to do and we’re often happy to pay someone else to do the grunge work that we simply can’t be bothered with doing on our own. Thus there will always be a market for SEO experts because people will always need someone who can keep up with all the changes and make the necessary adjustments for them.
Think about this: being an SEO expert is an awful lot like becoming a medical doctor. Your medical doctor spends nearly a decade in training before he or she becomes a full-fledged doctor who is free to take whatever jobs they choose. And even then, they are restricted by the specifics of their training, meaning that a general practitioner is not going to be performing brain surgery.
Becoming an SEO expert is much the same. They say it takes 10,000 hours for a person to truly become expert in any given subject and that’s about right. A good SEO expert has had the thousands upon thousands of hours of experience in link building and doing it just right so that it looks natural. This means that effectively not only will SEO never die, but SEO experts will always be needed and likely will be needed even more so in the world going forward.
Of course, this also means that you have a job to do in figuring out which SEO experts really know their stuff as opposed to those who are just pretending that they know what they’re doing because they bought an SENuke license (which is a wonderful program in the right hands. In the wrong hands, it’s a great way to get your site permanently deindexed).
Unfortunately, there are no licensing requirements for an SEO expert in the way that there are licensing requirements for doctors and as such, you’ll be forced to rely mostly on the word of other experts (experts in SEO and frankly in any specialty tend to know and recommend each other) and your own knowledge. Look for blogs like this one on the websites of SEO experts to decide whether they know what they’re doing or not.
Yes, yet another study of human nature. The fact is that it’s ingrained in us almost from birth that life is a competition and as such, we need to find ways to beat the rest of our competitors and come out on top. This means that it’s not enough to have quality content on your website – you need to find a way to get that quality content in front of the millions of people hungry to read it and that means basically doing SEO.
SEO after all is the primary way that most of us will get our sites to be number one. Even a place like Microsoft needs to do SEO work in order to make sure that their sites rank highly for specific keywords that they want to rank highly for. As such, for the little guy like us, we need to do that much more SEO in order to satisfy our need to be number one.
Of course, a good SEO expert will also tell you that you need to do a lot more than just build links to be number one. They’ll also tell you to be realistic, meaning that just as the first time author shouldn’t count on being another JK Rowling (who by the way was told not to quit her day job since children’s books generally don’t sell all that well), you shouldn’t expect to rank for a highly competitive keyword right away.
Basically though, as someone who is determined to be the number one person in their niche, you will need to do SEO work (or more likely hire a pro to do it for you) in order to get to that point.
New People will Always Try to Make Money Online
Finally, probably the best reason for SEO never dying is that new people will always be trying to make money online. And no matter what anyone tells you, SEO is an important part of doing that. Yes, you can make money online doing things which don’t require SEO. I’ve written about that here and in numerous other places. However, SEO can and should form an important part of your strategy when trying to make money online.
This means that people who come into the business of making money online for the first time will need to break into the market and thus will need to either do SEO themselves (usually a very bad idea because they don’t know what they’re doing) or they’ll need to hire a professional to do the work for them because let’s face it – they want to make it to number one as well.
Now all this of course also means that new techniques and knowledge of SEO will always be in the offing because people who are interested in making money online will have that much of a tougher time breaking into an ever more crowded market. So, as I’m going to discuss below, certain SEO techniques may die out (and indeed some have died out), but the concept will never go out of style.
All This Aside Though
Okay, all that aside though, the fact is that SEO is changing and will continue to change. The recent Penguin update is just the latest in a very long stream of different updates designed to make it harder to game the system and try to pull off the various shortcuts that people keep trying to use.
Thus the old methods of doing SEO may very well die out. After all, does anyone really waste time trying to stuff their meta tags with irrelevant keywords? On the other hand, while SEO may change and it’s even possible that what we call SEO today (i.e. link building) could cease to exist someday, it will simply be replaced with a new way to try to build your rank up in the Google and other search engine rankings.
What will the future hold then for SEO? Hey, who knows? I don’t think Google is going anywhere anytime soon. Then again, had you asked me ten years ago if Alta Vista would be forgotten and if Yahoo! would give up on the search engine business, I would have laughed in your face. The one thing we know for sure though is that there will always be a need to search through the web and find the information which is relevant to whatever it is that you need to know and that means that SEO will always survive.
So bottom line, no, SEO is not going anywhere and it never will go anywhere. I mean, that is as long as there is an Internet, there will always be a need to search it and there will always be a need to find ways to get to the top of the search engine results rather than languishing on page 967.
Well, unless of course there is a catastrophic event which destroys all life on earth (the Mayan calendar does end in a few months after all). Or which simply destroys the Internet (which would mean all electronics have probably melted down, leading to a new dark age). In that case, all bets are off and I call dibs on the life raft which humanity builds to survive!