The phrase “SEO is dead” has been thrown out a lot lately, whether it’s people trying to bait clicks, journalists looking for stories, or other forms of media trying to convince businesses that they shouldn’t waste money with SEO. For some reason, the phrase “SEO is dead” keeps getting pushed out to the masses. I’m here to tell you that while certain SEO tactics may die, SEO as a practice never will.
Google Is Growing
Let’s take a look at some of the basics. The internet is huge! So big in fact that even Google stopped counting the growth, and it’s continuing to grow exponentially. Believe it or not it’s been almost 7 years since Google announced they passed the one trillion mark. Google also suggests that URL variations make the potential indexed page count theoretically infinite. Pretty crazy right? Let’s take a look at something even crazier… Google has gone from 26,000,000 pages being indexed in 1998 to hitting the trillion mark in just 10 years. Almost a shocking amount of growth! Anyone who tells you the audience isn’t there for SEO’s is lacking a basic understanding of internet functionality.
There are two types of people when it comes to search: people who want to find things and people who want to be found, and occasionally people will want to fit in both buckets. However, one thing is clear, as long as search exists there will be people wanting to have a prominent position in the search engine result pages. As long as there’s search in the world there’s a need for SEO.
The desire to be found isn’t a new phenomenon
Businesses and people have always had the desire to be found and generally look to the biggest medium at a given time to do so. The medium is always changing. Just ask Yellow Pages or your local newspaper. Not that long ago, if you were a local electrician or plumber, you advertised in your local paper and you absolutely had to be in the Yellow Pages.
This is the same for people’s relationship with Google today. If you want to be found, people have to have the ability to find you in the Google search results. For SEO’s I’ll put it like this – whenever there is a system that basically controls (or in Google’s case… borderline monopolizes) who will be found and how, then there will always be a need for people who understand that said system well enough to help those who want to be found, to be found.
SEO used to be a scene out of Mad Max, a free for all world with no rules and some would even describe it as chaotic. The “black hat” tactics of the past totally worked and it was more of a game to see who could best manipulate the system to get quick rankings. Now there are rules to follow, data that needs to be structured, and we actually need to put quality information and content in to a search engine friendly system so that it can best be crawled, indexed, and found in the new algorithm shifts of the search engines.
These systems will continue to evolve and the algorithms will continue to get more sophisticated, but as we true SEO’s know, the process will never be perfect. As long as search exists, and as long as Google exists, there will be a need for experts who know how to best optimize content and information so that it can be easily found.
Google is in its infancy and it will only continue to grow. However, with an ever changing market and natural evolution, it’s safe to say that you and I will likely outlive Google, or at least outlive Google’s dominance. If Google were to die, SEO wouldn’t die with Google, it would just shift practices to understand the next big player’s algorithm. In fact, a study by LinkedIn reports SEO was a top 5 skill for people who got hired in 2014.
No one knows where search will be in the next 5 years, heck, it’s hard to predict where search will be next month! But as long as there is a need to be found, there will be a need for experts to give insights and to help those people get found.