Maybe the wording of “SEO being Dead” is a tad excessive but as pointed out - the actual words used in the original article were deliberately chosen to grab attention. It is however the essence of that article that holds the real truth - a key fact that seems to be overlooked by many so called SEO "experts". The nature of "optimising a website to gain highest ranking possible in the search engine results" has definitely changed and for many different reasons.
The first is to deliver the most relevant results by the SE providers to the users query. The SE's also then set out to remove the "garbage" sites that showed up as top listed results as a result of manipulating site content to match the SE algorithm. Most of this was related to "black hat" techniques but over the past couple of years we have seen less and less black hat activity. We have however seen legitimate sites take serious nose dives on their rankings for no fault of their own other than their sites not conforming to the latest algorithm changes.
I would not profess to being an SEO "expert" as I am really not an expert on anything. I am however well experienced and can speak from a somewhat authoritative position and as such offer this as my personal comment.
Companies are at the mercy and whims of the SE providers and social media providers such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter etc simply because it is n in the interests of those organisations to make constant changes to their platforms - some by way of improved features but always to deliver a better return on their investment.
If your business is heavily reliant on such organisations for its marketing then you can't develop effective marketing strategies whilst relying on these 3rd parties who do not openly share their future plans
As more and more information and dis-information is added to the internet, search engines will need to become smarter, more intelligent and start to think for us as humans think and reason so as to deliver us what we really need when searching for information. Elements of artificial intelligence will prevail and the search engines of the future will bear little resemblance to what we use now.
The vast majority of SEO "experts" in fact are self taught hobbyists. Many have no marketing or business skills. They make huge promises with little by way of real results and accountability for their effort. In a similar vein, many web developers are not much better! There is a general lack of true professionalism in the internet industry that is full of overnight experts who proclaim they hold the magical truth and only after looking into their backgrounds closely do we see there is very little substance to their claims.
People are searching for meaningful, valid and relevant truth - something we don't always get from the search engines. Whilst the results can be manipulated there is no truth and the legitimacy needs to be proven. As such people will be guarded in their response to accept the results presented. Whilst we once accepted what we found on Google many now seek to substantiate what we find with corroborating evidence.
Whatever one does, if it does not follow the basic principles of marketing then it will not work no matter what flavour or spin we choose to put on it - SEO, SEM, PPC, Social Marketing, Content Marketing. Just remember, as easy as it is to create an illusion on the internet, it is also even easier to bring down that illusion with social comment.
SEO may not be dead per se, it has however morphed into something quite different and maybe less significant than its own former self. It is therefore the responsibility and challenge to all web developers, SEO consultants and website owners to keep abreast of the changes and to ensure that their SEO activities remain relevant and correct.
Written by: Greg Tomkins