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Well, i love to look at the things as macro. What is an SEO first? It is Search Engine Optimization. Optimizing web sites for Search Engines. What is a Search Engine? An application developed by big firms to find information on internet. So this job would not exist without a search engine. Actually without Google. So how would we know if people will still use search engines in the future to find information on Google? Actually, when I think about the things that SEO people do, it comes to me too simple to offer a rewarding career. And it is very easy to play and manipulate the results. Get links, build reciprocal, submit articles, write the content at the top of the page so that Google will give more value, etc. etc. the simple tasks a 7 year old can even do. Do you think this will remain same. Do you think the web pages will still be found according to your back links in the next 20 years?
These are the tasks a person from Far East can do for $50 / month as a full time employee. Google is still in his baby steps and they are always looking to change the things. They know that if they dont change their algo nobody will want to see their results at the top from sites who has 10000 links from unrelated resources.
What I am thinking is SEO will go but Internet Marketing will remain and will offer more rewards. Since there are a lot of things involved in internet marketing harder than just building links and writing the content at the top of the page. I think email marketing, PPC Marketing, web analytics will become more popular.
These are all my ideas and they may sound stupid, but its just what i think and just wanted to share with you. I know there are a lot of people in my shoes and they have this confusion. If we discuss in detail we may have a better understanding of what is coming up in marketing industry.
Does it sound too silly?
SEO alone is most certainly missing the point, and whilst as a field of work it is important, it does need to be viewed as part of the bigger picture.
As an example, a pure-SEO approach neglects important factors such as stickyness, traffic from social sources and the effects of offline marketing. According to pure-SEO, PPC ads are essentially useless due to them not passing PageRank.
What you will find in reality is that any good SEO professional will look at the bigger picture. The services you will be offered will include things which have nothing to do with search engines, provided those are viable routes to site success.
At the end of the day it is probably just that the term SEO no longer means Search Engine Optimisation but has evolved to become a much larger field of which Search Engine Optimisation is only a part. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that's happened, e.g. look up the origin of the word 'orthopædic'.
MFA web sites are the pure example of "SEO" whereby valueless pages attract content-based advertising through the clever, though deceiptful, use of taget words, and yet deliver no value to a human user.
So this job would not exist without a search engine. Actually without Google. So how would we know if people will still use search engines in the future to find information on Google?
I need to make two points on what seems to be the core of your original post.
> There is no end in sight for search engines to be replaced by something else. I can't even perceive the idea that search engines will indeed be obsolete in the coming few decades. They might become less significant than they are now, maybe, but not completely obsolete.
> There is a bad assumption that search is only google. Despite Google being the best search engine nowadays, if they hadn't been around we would have been using Yahoo and the other search engines gracefully. The absense of Google can make a difference in search industry, but search engines won't cease to exist if Google decides to vanish from the market.
[edited by: Habtom at 8:02 am (utc) on Sep. 30, 2007]
As an example, a pure-SEO approach neglects important factors such as stickyness, traffic from social sources and the effects of offline marketing...
What you will find in reality is that any good SEO professional will look at the bigger picture.
Also, some won't realize that what they, themselves (or their webmasters) do to their sites, either on-page, site-wide (like internal linking), or regarding their linking profile, can and will impact rankings and then will need continuous "damage control" measures taken.
For someone thinking of entering the field, the other side of the coin could be the question: "What makes a good client?"
How Search Engines Work [webmasterworld.com]
There are over 200 factors considered in the Google algos. Which ones would be left? What would the engines use to rank pages?
[edited by: Marcia at 5:05 pm (utc) on Sep. 30, 2007]