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SEO Dead? Expectations?
Is SEO dead? Expectations from SEO?

 4:08 am on Aug 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

I've read many posts on this board portaining to SEO being "dead" or on it's way out. I'm new to SEO, and am glad that I came across this forum. What are the limitations of it, especially w/ google/google news? Most of what I've heard on here is that you can't really go beyond making a page "bot" friendly on crawlers such as google, and face large penalties if you go beyond that.

Is there anything the webmaster for a new page can do to get loads of links without "having tons of people link to you naturally."

It sounds like there's not much you can do beyond that, so is SEO dead, meaning is getting great results from SEO not going to happen any more as sophisticated engines (google) either grow larger or their abilities spread to other engines?

Overall, I'm just looking for some expectations of SEO.



 4:41 am on Aug 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, I don't know that I would call it dead. Since I started frequenting these boards I have improved rankings and traffic across a broad range of search terms by several hundred percent.

Conclusion - there are techniques that work, though they are far more subtle than they were just a couple of years ago.



 4:42 am on Aug 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

SEO will never be dead. I take that back it will only be dead when every form of media placed on a web site can be spidered by the search engine bots.

Can bots spider flash? Well technically they can, but they don't yet. Can bots OCR text in image files, no. Until this is completed along with a slue of other issues, SEO will be alive and well. And until that happens there will be a new type of media that the spiders can not get to that someone is using, hence, they will not be found.

So until bots can gather any form of data on any site regardless of the multiple options and index it all, SEO will be alive.


 4:54 am on Aug 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

SEO, to a large part, "died" several years back. Its just that a lot of people didnt realise it, heard about what the early SEO's were able to acehive, and jumped in the bandwagon while the wheels were starting to come off.

SEO only became successful because it was able to exploit weaknesses in the algos of the early search engines and directories (looksmart to av to excite to y! and odp to early years of google) as they developed and were tested.

The golden age of SEO ceased several years back as Se's have become more sophisticated.

SEO will always survive but it is not the opportunity it used to be. There is not much more (though there are some serious exceptions but again these are mainly short term and have to be continually revised) to optimizing for SE's now than there has always been for publishing any documents off or on line - descriptive titles, summaries, structure, usability/readability, citation and links to/from other documents (that happens in books and off line media too!), etc etc...

I always expect basic SEO to be central to our web promotion, but its not the short term opportunity afforded to entrepreneurs 5 to 7 years ago.


 5:17 am on Aug 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Having missed those early years, I can only say Chiyo's comments appear to be the case from everything I have heard. I do think that seo is and always will be a part of web marketing - but not the whole shebang by any means. It is important to rank well with SEs, but good copy that converts to paying customers, well designed sites that are easily navigated, providing content that actually satisfies the searcher's query - these are all just as important, and are not seo per se. You could have a site rank very highly and not meet these criteria. So...seo is not dead - but it isn't the 'end all be all' of webmastering either.



 5:55 am on Aug 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Conclusion - there are techniques that work, though they are far more subtle than they were just a couple of years ago.

This statement is the bottom line, SEO is no longer simple, but can achieve fantastic results if sufficient effort is applied. Having been around for a while I have to say that in the early days SEO was very easy, but on the other hand traffic and competition were also very low.

Some engines, like Inktomi, are still as simple as falling off a log to manipulate. Google is much more difficult, but who is to say that Google will continue to have 70% of the SE market? Yahoo will most likely switch, and I look forward to the first MS in-house offering as I'm sure it will have many flaws that can be exploited.

Smaller engines like Ask, AV, ATW and Teoma are very simple to manipulate, if only they generated more traffic SEO would be the hottest industry on the block....but, it is far from cold.

If I were to abandon SEO and switch to Google Adwords the cost would be about $100K per month for the same traffic level, and make most of my sites borderline profitable. The effort required to make SEO work is definitely still very viable.

SEO will only be dead when all engines are PPC for at least the first 3 pages....that will be a rainy day for everyone....but may happen in the future (several years away IMHO).

The sun is still shining....make some SEO hay :)


 6:12 am on Aug 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

As far as there being a market out there looking for SEO services, it's very far from dead. The demand is steadily increasing. People have products to move; they have sites that need exposure; they need traffic to get sales. Some try PPC - for the wrong keywords, which is costly with little return.

People are looking for stable sources of traffic, and looking for guidance and direction. The question is: where does straight_out SEO stop and entering into other areas of internet marketing consulting begin?

What about the site that gets plenty of traffic but isn't converting? Is the SEO's job finished at that point, or is it just beginning?


 7:34 am on Aug 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Good point, Marcia. I think many seos include this in their services - you practically have to in order to actually deliver a real and viable product to your client. But I consider these types of activity separate from straight seo. They are additional skills that an seo should know, but are not literally search engine optimization. Which I guess brings us to defining seo and defining web marketing. I think they cross...but shouldn't, since they are distinctly different skills.


 8:59 am on Aug 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Correct. The situation is that most of the SEO people out there and the budding SEO technicians seems to be using a couple of SEO tools and sometimes they get success with their spamming techniques not aware of the facts and figures that eventually their things will actually land thier websites being blocked if they use excessive spamming.

SEO is a continous study. This is because Google is continously making it's algorithms better and better to get better results and NOT JUNK.

Even today, most of use Google.com ONLY for their Search Requirements. Isn't it! How can SEO be DEAD if the work done is fair!

michael heraghty

 2:57 pm on Aug 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Good points nakulgoyal, and I think even GoogleGuy would agree. Google encourages fairness; if you play by the rules and put in the hard work (e.g. lots of content), you'll get results.

But it's also true that there aren't loopholes as there were a couple of years ago, and there's no longer any "quick fix".

Yet it's precisely *because* of this latter point that SEOs are needed -- if only to advise other companies on how to put together effective sites.

I see the future of the SEO role as being a consultative one, rather than (just) a hands-on one.


 4:20 pm on Aug 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

AFAIS there's a lot left to do, at first doing the basic homework.

Last week I spoke with a new client - really big company. They told me they would know everything to make their pages visible in search engines.

So I asked them about a small example - all their pages have headlines looking like H1, but are like this:
<p class="headline">Companyname - at home all over the world</p>
I asked: Why did you use p tag and class="headline"?

They explained me - very proud - that using CSS was a trick to do better in SE's.

I was speechless :)

Now I'm figuring out how to convince them that they need help, for clean HTML at least. And also "at home all over the world" might be a top selling proposition if it comes up in SERPs by accident ;)



 11:31 am on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Today I'm absolutely snowed under with work. I agree it is harder than it used to be, but there is still a massive opportunity to earn massive amounts of cash, if you can put in the time and effort required.


 11:34 am on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

If it is dead nobody told me...

There's a lot of work out there and companies are taking SEO very seriously at the moment - which means that the fees you can command are much larger. If you know what you're doing there's to be made.


 11:58 am on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Not dead - it just evolved to SEM


 12:15 pm on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

SEO is not dead!

It's just that a number of SEO agencies tell prospective clients "you can't get that keyword without PPC".

I know that's not true.

So do the clients I work with.

Please help in the future by continuing this "SEO is dead" equation....

It only does me favours.

Keep up the good work.



 12:23 pm on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

The king is dead. Long live the king.


 12:34 pm on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yea, SEO is dead, now all you guys quit already and let me have the first spot on any term I desire!


 12:35 pm on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>If you know what you're doing there's to be made...>>

...and $$$ and and...

Albert, you should ask them three things:

- how do you do your offline marketing for your products and services
- do you research your target markets for supply and demand?
- why don't you do it for your online market?

This is how you could start showing them a couple of nice examples where they miserably "optimize" into the wrong direction...the rest is math and selling your skills.

In conclusion to this interesting discussion: online content will have to be MARKETED, like in the offline world. And there will have to be tools and techniques applied to achieve maximum exposure of your products (content) to your potential clients (web user).

Large firms have just started to publish their brochures and technical data sheets online. They now need to understand and learn how to get their online marketing in shape to succeed and achieve maximum ROI.

There is one demand growing now: SEO experts need to understand much more about their client's environments to be of real value. They will have to become marketers themselves (in case asked to do the job) or marketing consultants for online content marketing (if the clients want to be educated to do it themselves).

In both new worlds there will always be $ tb made if you REALLY understand your client's strategy. If they don't have any, drop them and look for someone more rewarding to work for/with.

Cheers, Jens


 12:45 pm on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

SEO or SEM or Google optimization (as Brett likes to call what we are doing today) is very Hot field right now. Just be a regular member in this forum for 6 months and you should know your stuff. But at the same time it's becoming difficult and difficult to rank in some categories bcoz of the competetion and money muscle being thrown in.

How much time does it take you to select a site from a directory. Compare that with the amount of time it takes to search on Google. Time is money and search engines are the solutions people will be looking for to search for their requirements.

Most of the old SEOs have stopped working for others. Many of the others have Got it {enlightened} and are now into some high level stuff which will provide back end to their new ventures. Some among them have invested their money in online assets which can also act as PR Networks. They will take SEO to their next levels. If google or other engines have upgraded their algos so have the techniques used by many of the SEOs :)

So when someone says "SEO is dead" they might be implying traditional form of SEO is dead. As 4eyes says
Not dead - it just evolved to SEM

And just to give you an idea of the importance of SEO I would not be surprised if there would be Reverse SEO services available in future.


 12:51 pm on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

I believe SEO is dead as AN ART FORM. The rest has evolved into SEM, as 4eyes points out. When I started with SEO towards the end of the last millenium, there were lots of engines to optimize for - each with a respectable market share and necessary to pay attention to.

Now, only one SE has a truly respectable market share, not just globally, but in each and every national market. Recent mergers will probably create one more, but that's about it. Paying attention to others, will just increase the cost without adding much revenue.

So, the recipe today is to optimize for Google and get to know every nook and cranny of Adwords and Overture. There is still an SEO consultancy business there, but not anywhere near as demanding as it used to be, when algorithms changed quarterly and brought you back to square one.


 12:59 pm on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

<<There is still an SEO consultancy business there, but not anywhere near as demanding as it used to be, when algorithms changed quarterly and brought you back to square one...>>

renke, how about companies that ask you to be educated about making their content more SE friendly as they develop it and thus make themselves independent from future cash out to consultants?. Kindalike SEO-Self-Onthefly?



 1:03 pm on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't think that SEO is dead at all. Our role has just changed over the past several years. Although it's still important to optimize a site (those titles and descriptions need to encourage visitors to click through!), SEO has gotten a lot more complicated. And to be successful, SEO has to be a part of an overall Internet marketing plan.

In my opinion, the most important role of the SEO professional is ROI. I think it's extremely important to keep track of ROI figures and weigh the cost of PPC vs. organic SEO. Some keywords just cost too much to play the PPC game, and it's worth taking the time to optimize a site and bring in organic traffic. Keeping Internet marketing costs down and increasing ROI is the true role of the SEO, and each client will have a different ROI strategy based upon industry, audience, etc.

I think SEO will always be in demand. The search engine industry is so dynamic that it's worth most clients' money to let us keep up with the changes and then pass on our recommendations.


 1:11 pm on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

>how about companies that ask you to be educated

That's what I did a lot of, charging top dollars. The thing is, that the companies often find afterwards that they haven't got anyone with sufficient time on his/her hands on their staff, so this type of consultancy tends to evolve into an hands-on thing, where you get paid X dollars to provide Y hours per month of hands-on work or additional advise for them.


 1:22 pm on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

renke: support your observations, but there is some size cutover, larger corporations tend to have teams of editors and publishers for their web content and want them to be educated rather to spend the hands-on fees to externals.

I just landed such a deal with a solid value proposition for both parties. They have to understand though (and this is where your selling job kicks in) that they need to build that expertise, anyone who does not support that view would be considered a customer for an outsourced service.

Can be very rewarding, months of work, meeting tons of people, transfer your expertise into their groups, they are always very grateful and it helps to build a very solid client base.

Cheers, Jens

cyril kearney

 1:34 pm on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree with chiyo. SEO is long past its prime. Some early SEOs that kept up with the SEs changes can still do a creditable job and are worthwhile but by and large SEOs are part of the world of scam on the Internet.

Some sites that do SEO also work with their clients to maximize the returns on the dollars spent with SEs. The good ones understand the business and are worth their weight in gold.


 1:35 pm on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

What is SEO?

The purists seem to think it is obtaining top listings without paying money and manipulating the listings (in the nicest possible way).

I think it is obtaining top results whilst paying money and manipulating the listings (in the nicest possible way).

Others call this SEM - add PPC to the above mix and I too would call it SEM - but without PPC, surely it is still SEO and it seems to be very far from dead to me :)


 1:39 pm on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Also remember that organic search results listings have longer session times, higher conversion rates, lower "back button" rates and are more cost effective (if managed correctly) than PPC. And if you don't think that there is a market for this, then you're not talking to the right people. Big business and small business are all taking SEO seriously - it would be murder not to.

Web Footed Newbie

 1:51 pm on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Have we forgotten our manners?

Welcome to WebmasterWorld, Jarondi!

It's your first post, and you created quite a thread, congrats!
WFN :)


 2:02 pm on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Have we forgotten our manners?

Jeez! And me - a former Moderator - missing that. I am truly ashamed of myself and shall now go and join my forefathers. Meanwhile, Jarondi should be able to enjoy the fact that he/she has got to be the first Newbie ever to create a thread that got top billing for the first post. Not a bad achievment and not bad start!


 2:06 pm on Aug 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Most of the old SEOs have stopped working for others. Many of the others have Got it {enlightened} and are now into some high level stuff which will provide back end to their new ventures. Some among them have invested their money in online assets which can also act as PR Networks. They will take SEO to their next levels. If google or other engines have upgraded their algos so have the techniques used by many of the SEOs :)

I like the way you think :)

I'm on my own now for over 3 years. No longer doing SEO for others but definitely a major plus for my online businesses and for the first time in my life I no longer have a boss :)

Is SEO dead? Hardly, if you know what you are doing.


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