It’s good to see a post from Mani Karthikon Search Engine Land following an article published in SiliconIndia saying that SEO is one of the skillsets that will no more get you job.

I first disagree, and then agree with what Silicon India publishes. Similarly, I first agree, and then I disagree with what Mani puts his opinion forward. I have published my opinion on the comment section of Search Engine Land, and I also feel that I need to extend this discussion further. Hence, I decided to publish a full post on my blog.

Mobile Is Killing SEO: There is growing trend in mobile usage. The users’ search pattern is getting different. Mobile users are mostly logged in, and keep chatting, checking mails, updating on FB, and tweeting throughout the day. Well, they are socially engaged. It’s true. What perplexes me is how ‘we’ ensure that a particular keyword ranks if users on mobile devices are logged in? Google under SSL/HTTPS frequently tends to show personalized results. A few days back, Google has come up new content recommendation for mobile users.


Image Courtesy: mobileresponsivewebsite.com

The content recommendation works for logged in users. Furthermore, mobile users tend to get more personalized results behind secure log ins. Add to this apathy, Google never shows search queries, and mask them as ‘Not Provided’ in GA, even if keywords for optimization purpose matter to SEO professionals.

Social Media Is Killing SEO: The traditional algorithm of Google and its search results are primarily based on ‘Links’ from authority domains. This has been manipulated for a decade. Going social, and considering number of likes, re-tweets, +1d in G plus, users’ ratings and reviews, etc. look more prominent as valid social references of a quality site or post, for such site/post represents the quality content that creates utility for both socially and commercially engaged users.

Image courtesy:alphaspirit /Shutterstock
Many people in the industry believe that social is not about shares, and likes. If social is not about shares, and likes, then how Google considers these as valid references for measuring the quality versus Kolaveri (hype)? Engagement in social media comes from metrics like ‘shares’, ‘comments in thread’, ‘likes’, ‘re-tweets,’ ‘Influences,’ etc. Do you believe the value of a STAR cast on an advt. you see on TV, and then make decision to buy a product or you read the reviews of a product, ask your peers, and then make purchase decision? Social reviews, and recommendations based on likes, and shares are our Zero Moments of Truth (ZMOT). Not sure how SEO fits in ZMOT?

Technology Is Killing SEO: Regardless of technology you use to develop your website, almost all of them have a library of various SEO plugins that address SEO technical issues within no minute. PHP, .NET, WordPress, IBM Web Sphere, and Magento have excellent SEO plug ins, modules, and extensions that address the complex SEO issues of a CMS based website/portal.

For example, if yours is an ecommerce site built on Magento, buy or download free versions of SEO extensions, and install them to address SEO issues related to domain canonicalization, duplicate pages, URL pattern, handling dynamic URL parameters, Robots.Txt, Header Tags, Site Maps, etc.

Google Is Killing SEO: Panda, Penguin, and Zebra, hopefully some more animals to bring in at Google zoo to drive SEO out of its reach! The logic seems simple -Quality, Quality, and Quality! Quality comes from users, and users are socially engaged via multiple devices. Yes, the search engine is taking a paradigm shift from showing automated algorithmic results to incorporating social KPIs which are indeed more semantic and realistic.

Image courtesy: Webimize.net
The way reviews, and likes are evolving as key metrics, the way users’ search behavior across the devices is changing, the way ZMoT is gaining momentum, Google is changing its algorithm to value users’ recommendations and engagement more than valuing inbound links from different domains.
If Google continues to value the traditional ranking algorithm, Facebook will change the whole search game. Google has no option but to drop its legacy algorithm and care for more social signals. This is what Google these days is doing. No wonder to know that Google no longer has a Search group. It’s now called «Knowledge.» This proves that the search engine does not want SEO to be alive for ever, of course, for its valid reasons. That’s why the giant keeps recommending on users’ experience and quality content.
It seems logical that socially archive content and content freshness based on number of ‘likes’, ‘tweets’, ‘shares’, ‘influence,’ etc. look more prominent than showing results based on the traditional ‘archive’ search results based on manipulative inbound links, and stale content. Google discourages such old tactics of link building, and officially announced that press release or artificial links will not help in SEO.  And, this is where «future Google» is hopefully moving towards, and is giving enough indications for social signals.
When AOL acquired Huffington Post, we saw a closure of offshore SEO unit based out of Bangalore, India. Huffington Post never believes in SEO but a leading proponent of quality content. Furthermore, Forbes published an article” TheDeath Of SEO: The Rise of Social, PR, And Real Content that quotes Adam Torkildson, one of the top SEO consultants in Utah,  «Google is in the process of making the SEO industry obsolete, “SEO will be dead in 2 years.” Matt Cutts’ recent video gave hints about Google Penguin 2.0 update, and diplomatically says “some of us would be in for a long summer”.

User Is Killing SEO: SEO is dying because we are going more social, and Google is going where trends are moving towards. Practically speaking, the trends are upward, as growing number of mobile users is increasing by leaps and bounds, minutes by minutes, hour by hour, and day by day. Social media usage is growing at phenomenal rate. Users’ search pattern, their needs, their queries, their privacy, and their expectations are changing.

Let’s embrace this change, and accept the reality than simply satisfying ourselves with X, Y, & Z analysis to prove SEO is not dead.

End of the Tunnel? The death of SEO never means that no new life is born. We need to be reborn with new set of skills. We need to upgrade skills in a new transitioning digital economy. Remember, the ‘search intent’ of human beings can never be lost. As long as there is search intent, search engines continue to add value. It’s just that we need to explore ourselves to fit in a new digital ecosystem.

Image Courtesy: Doodle Lounge
Take a leave, and think. Else, enjoy a long summer vacation. :) Good luck!

Is SEO Dying? Yes, It Is! — A Responsive Blog.

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