Lee Odden

3 SEO Predictions I made in 2005 – Was I Right? What About Search in 2025?

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, SEO

Future of SEO

I gave my first public presentation about online marketing just under 10 years ago for MIMA (Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association) called “Search Engine Smarts – Organic, PPC, SEO, Blog – What Does it All Mean?”.

It was at the J.J. Hill Library in Saint Paul early one morning and about 60 people showed up. To say I was nervous is an understatement.

Back then TopRank Online Marketing was focused mostly on search marketing. My, how things have changed.

Or have they?

In the presentation there’s basic advice about SEO such as:

Use keywords in content: Research keywords and ensure their presence in unique title tags, on-page headings, in text links between pages, as image alt text and within the body copy – but don’t overdo it.

Relevant, fresh content: If no one can find your site, it doesn’t matter how great the design and functionality are. Add relevant content regularly.

Link out – link in: Link to a few authoritative, information-rich sites. Never stop working to attract links from related web sites.

SEO 2005

But there are also a few predictions about what’s next for the non-technical or content side of SEO:

  1. Search engines will continue to improve relevancy and implement more robust “quality improvement” initiatives. Companies will need to be careful about the SEO tactics they use.
  2. Search Engine Optimization will continue to divide between content optimization and algorithm hacking.
  3. Effective link building will increasingly involve contextually relevant links from editorial sources such as articles, press releases and blogs.

While there’s a LOT more to optimizing for search than these three things or the SEO 101 advice offered above, I’d say our point of view about search optimization back in 2005 is still pretty relevant for SEO in 2015. Except maybe for the reference to links from press releases of course, but that didn’t really go away until 8 years later.

The trip down SEO memory lane is interesting, but what most marketers want to know is:

“What will search marketing be like 10 years from now?”

With my focus on content and integrated marketing over the past 7 years, I’m not the specialist in search marketing that I used to be. But I do believe search in 10 years will be a LOT different than it is today. Keep in mind here, I’m a bit of a Sci Fi fan 🙂

The seeds have already been planted in terms of the human to digital information interface going more voice than text. Whether the communication method is voice or neural, in 10 years the means of asking questions and receiving answers will be far more contextually relevant and personalized.

The future of search won’t just be about asking a Siri like entity for information or thinking about questions and receiving answers in a micro heads up display (more contact lens than Google Glass), but the application of predictive search answers. In other words, a big data sourced understanding of individuals and situations so specific, that technologies will deliver information with amazing accuracy and relevancy before we need it.

If that’s the case, will it still be called search?

The notion of an all out predictive information scenario is exciting and a little creepy at the same time.

The pressing question about the future of search optimization: What can marketers do to optimize the performance of their digital information as it is presented to buyers in a predictive environment?  How can we be the best answer when answers are delivered real-time as customized content to each individual unique to their history, experiences and preferences?

From an organic standpoint, I think it will become much, much more difficult, Paid inclusion, syndication and performance will continue to become a ubiquitous part of online marketing.

Customer insight is King. That said, I continue to believe an understanding of the relationship between the people that buy and their preferences for information discovery, consumption and interaction is the key for brands to be the best answer – whether that answer is delivered as a response to a question or predictively according to a set of circumstances.

Those marketers that develop sophisticated means of customer insight and organize that information in a way to inform a continuous cycle of content, interaction, measurement and refinement will be the best prepared to serve customers through whatever search looks like in the future.

“Be the Best Answer” is Timeless. Whether your brand content is recommended through an Internet of Things device or a neural implant connected to some kind of cloud based artificial intelligence, you can’t go wrong with a “be the best answer” approach to information marketing.

What are your predictions about the future of search marketing? What do you think marketers should focus on into 2015 or 2025?

Update – Nice to see this article from MediaPost 3 days later: IoT Calling On Search Engine Optimizers To Optimize Smart Devices

Photo: Shutterstock

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. “From an organic standpoint, I think it will become
    much, much more difficult, Paid inclusion, syndication and performance
    will continue to become a ubiquitous part of online marketing.”

    I think you are absolutely right on this one. We’ve already seen thing shift from a Keyword & Page algorithm, to a Keyword+Links & Page algorithm, to a Keyword+Links & Page+Domain Trust algorithm, to a Semantic Keywords+Links & Page+Domain Trust algorithm.

    Social signals will continue to evolve and eventually redefine your audience reach (circles), and Voice Search will evolve and help Google connect how people verbally communicate to he intent behind their searching habits.

    • Thanks for sharing that James. I think voice to device interface for search is where we’ll see a lot of traction in the next few years. I think there will still be a need for text input/output though.

      Influencing the output and recommendations is where the opportunities are – and I have no doubt the true talent in the search optimization world will figure them out 🙂

  2. Jack me in Johnny Mnemonic! I’m ready for my neural implant please 😉 Dude, you always have the best posts. I think your predictions are right on. I also think 3D printing is a precursor to the replicator; and that a replicator is the missing link to the world being able to rise up on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (aka: solving world peace and achieving that Federation-like sweet life) but that’s another post… Thanks for letting me geek out Lee! #scifiFanGirl4Life

  3. You are always right, great job. Long live the SEO.

  4. Avatar chrismarklee says

    I read that this Christmas most ad money will be spent on Facebook. This is a strong trend. I have been building relationships for my local Income Tax business with my Facebook business page.

    Owner CEL Financial Services

  5. URL optimization is very important part of SEO. To rank better we need to make seo friendly urls so these tips are very useful.