Andem - 1:20 am on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)
I definitely wouldn't say that SEO is a dinosaur or 'gone'. It is very much alive. Nobody knows exactly what Panda targets, but it seems to have been some kind of anti-spam algorithm with the dial turned to the max. With that said, it seems that more primitive spamming techniques are now back 'in' to an albeit small, but effective degree. As things seem to change each day, nobody except for huge names seem to be on the top of any particular search result.
What Google has become is truly mind-boggling.
I think this community really signifies that many of the wrong people that were hit, if I understand it correctly. If you're looking for "Turquoise Widget Thingamajigs" and you're the only person in the world that has any information (and/or sells this product), and you're on page 6 post-panda and #1 pre-panda, there are really some questions to be asked. Like how does a site that simply copied your content and/or rewrote it, has no relevant backlinks and really did nothing special SEO-wise, rank #1-10?
In my own experiment with a domain I purchased a few years ago, I basically used some blackhat software to scrape my own content and repost it. From there I used some of my own techniques with PHP to make the content seem different to a computer. The result: My own scrapings were ranking above the original source and still do to this day. Every Panda iteration sees traffic jump or drop, but I still get traffic to this site.
There used to be rules and order. Now it seems that SERPs are jumping up and down every few weeks without any real reason or cause. The Google Panda machine is losing steam and it seems that some backpeddling is in order.
But no, SEO doesn't seem to be dead. It just seems that WebmasterWorld and Google webmaster guidelines might not be the best source of information anymore.