Big Debate: Does Search Engine Optimization Have Long Term Viability?

May 9, 2008 • 9:46 am | comments (5) by twitter | Filed Under SEO - Search Engine Optimization

In the middle of the week, my good friend Jeremy Schoemaker, aka Shoemoney, blogged that SEO has no future. He believes that personalized data will be more important, especially from the toolbar, user history, and analytics data. Social voting is becoming more important, and he explains that his sitelinks are the most trafficked pages on his site.

Well, the SEO community did not really want to hear that, so there have been at least three individual posts on Sphinn about it.

Marketing Pilgrim writer Greg Howlett says that search engines are getting too smart and that search engines won't want to reward companies for playing SEO games.

In one rebuttal, Ian Lurie talks about how SEO really does have a future. Smart SEO makes it easier for search engines to crawl your site. It helps create a long term content strategy. It keeps good businesses out of trouble. It ensures the discoverability of content on your site. SEO isn't about looking for loopholes but for keeping search engines happy.

In another response, Michael Gray also says that SEO has a future. SEO will have to clean up the mess of visual elements, especially flash and other technologies that are not search-engine friendly. SEOs have to explain viral marketing, content creation, and more. SEO is here to stay, he says, and there's nothing that anyone can say to stop that.

In a third response, Taylor Pratt says that SEO will exist as long as search engines exist. He says that while search engines are smart, SEOs are smart too and can work alongside search engines.

On one hand, forum members think that this is a great thing to start saying because then there will be less competition as newbie SEOs don't actually participate in SEO. Others say that SEO is not going to die but become more important, especially as big companies start partnering up with SEO firms and consultants for work.

Forum discussion continues at Sphinn, Sphinn, Sphinn, and Sphinn. ;)

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05/12/2008 06:38 am

The debate in this blog is very explanatory. By going through this this blog I came to a decision that seo will have future in coming days.

Steven Balusik

05/12/2008 11:17 am

The logical answer to this is matches the title of the third article that you have sited: SEO will exist as long as search engines exist. The reason for this is simple. SEO, in the end, is just another form of advertising. And, all advertising has a shelf life. SEO just happens to currently have far longer shelf life than any other form of advertising. So talking about "long term viability" is for advertising is subjective. After all, how long does a magazine ad last? How about a mailer? When you look at it that way, SEO already has a far superior long term horizon.


06/13/2008 03:43 pm

Well, although I agree that SEO will survive as long as search engines exist I'm afraid I have to disagree with Steven, in that traditional advertising (mags, tv, radio, press) has been going on for years and is still running strong. It's only that there are now new methods of advertising that derive from the digital/online revolution that complement age-old traditional methods. If we're talking about a type of media - this does not have a shelf life - the 'advert' can have a shelf life, but unless the medium/technology become obsolete - advertising methods will continue to exist and remain effective, as there is such a broad audience - everyone uses/appreciates different or several types of media. A point to note is that the internet is not a global medium as yet - there are many countries across the world that do not have facilities as yet so they still use traditional media, until the internet is accessible globally SEO will stay in good stead.

Ryan Nagy

06/22/2008 10:17 pm

Interesting post, way too brief, but thanks for posting the links to other articles!! Overall, the question is not whether SEO has long-term viability but how much importance it will play. Obviously, SEO does not exist in a vacuum. It exists in relation to user behavior, and emerging trends. In fact, SEO is not completely different from Social Bookmarking and Web 2.0 as even those technologies use tagging and other SEO techniques. Ultimately, the goal of all the various technologies is to be useful and get people where they want to go, yes? SEO - when done properly - is not just about high-rankings, but about enhancing user experience. I think that is a game that we are all willing to play. cheers - Ryan

Samreen Soomro

07/24/2008 08:17 pm

SEO is not just about getting high rankings or even bringing lots of traffic to your website; its about bringing targetted traffic to your website that would actually convert. So as long as people have something to "sell" on the internet, SEO would be required to bring potential customers to their websites and make them convert.

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