The end of SEO

Well, of course the end of Search Engine Optimization is not near in a broad sense, but we could be well up for some “SEO, but not as we know it”, quite soon. Despite it being fairly successful, especially in recent times, I’ve always been skeptical about “pure SEO”. That is, SEO for just the purpose of doing SEO, optimizing your website just to look good in search engines. I’m not denying the value of good SEO, after all you want your nice articles and information to be found, but that is the point; nice information! All too often optimization tactics are used as a way of promoting content that is of little value as much as possible. In general I would say this applies to advertisements and advertorials, the value of this could be disputed, but way too often I’ve seen excellent SEO trying to drag me to a site with content that was just promotional and of no (other) value to me.

What is up with these people that create special landingpages aimed at subjects that their website is not about, or that have dynamically generated pages aiming at often used keywords, just to drag you in? Keywords and descriptions that don’t suit the article can be really annoying, although I can even understand the need to place keywords that border the actual subject. Disappointment as a conscious (or worse, unconscious) part of your SEO strategy is never a good one, that is a thing I’ve always believed in. Sure, it does or did work, but only at the high risks of making a bad name for yourself in the long run.

Thus I’ve always been saying that “I don’t believe in SEO”, a bold statement of course, especially for someone who does know the value of keywords and description in a metatag. But as it turns out it does suit my purpose; have people think about what they’re actually doing. Should you be focusing on good content or on good SEO? It’s about the message in the end, not about what you try to make it look like. Of course one could say both but I think good content management encompasses the latter; decent and solid SEO. I write a title because it sounds good and appealing, not because it looks good on google. (Though one could argue that for promoting on different platforms a different phrasing could be helpful due to the audience.) Good content may not promote itself, it’s a hard time promoting bad content, most organizations would benefit more from good content management than from the SEO they say they want or need to deploy.

Search Engines will go for the Content

Fortunately search engines have come to my rescue and they are valuing content more and more by just that; the actual content. It’s nice marketing talk to speak about providing a service to consumers just waiting to find your product, but maybe it’s just not such a good product if you have to SEO the electricity out of your website to get decent promotion. Please, please just give us nice and good content or in the end google will get back at you and turn your SEO tricks against you. I’ve said it may times and even included it in my Social Network model; original content is and will be king!

This approach is not only been appreciated by companies like Google, and mind you I’m not trying to imply they heard me talk, they’re just on the same track here, but it’s also gaining attention in the SEO business itself. Naturally, one could say, as SEO experts are the first to suffer if SEO is less valuable, right?

Being an “SEO expert” has always been a strange thing, such a narrow idea of a job description; I can understand content management, editing and even promoting, but why limiting yourself to specific search engine tactics? Indeed this is the same thing Robert Scoble mentions in his article about SEO in 2010 when he mentions move to naming oneself an “online marketing company” would be wise. So yes, like Scoble says; search engines will start to value your content more and more on the basis of the content itself. The only thing you have to ask yourself: is the content I’m offering really worth to be found? But then again, you should’ve always been doing that already.