Recently I’ve seen some predictions that with the direction search engines are taking, search engine optimzation is going to become obsolete in 5 or more years.
That’s not too risky of a prediction, since 5 years is literally the half-life of the entire search engine optimization industry. Five years is a lifetime in internet time.
Do I think SEO will die a slow death? I think a slowdown in the impact of current SEO methods is a more accurate assessment. That’s not much of a prediction either, is it? The rules for effective SEO change more often than the rules for just about any other industry I know.
The need to optimize content to be relevant and fixing all the bass ackward web designs and HTML that continues to be pushed out to the web by agencies will never really discontinue. Links are always good for traffic, so link building isn’t going away either.
If you’re a search engine optimization firm, you’ve got to love all those award-coveting, Flash-obsessing interactive agencies out there that keep SEOs busy cleaning up and fixing code so web sites can get crawled.
Rather than SEO becoming obsolete, I think it would be more accurate to say that other tactics like traffic building through social media will simply become more effective. At least until those channels get replaced by something else. What won’t go away is the need for good marketing: Creative, smart, problem solving marketing never goes out of style.
As long as there are web pages and links and search engine spidering, there will be a need for optimization of some sort. The impact might be a lot less than other tactics, but the need will always be there.
As more and more online marketers are discovering, search engines are not the only way to drive traffic and sales via the web.