My friend Asif Anwar posted an article over at Marketing Pilgrim titled 13 Prophecies of Internet Marketing recently which gives some of his predictions of where search marketing is headed in the future.
For the most part, I think his thoughts are probably pretty close. For instance, I, like Asif, believe that search will become more user friendly, more personalized, more local, more natural and so forth.
But, I’ll be playing the devil’s advocate on one of his predictions and toss my opinion into the ring (as opposed to the optimist role I usually take which this blog is based on). He predicts that Onsite Search Engine Optimization will be History.
Here’s his exact text:
Sorry for starting it this way. As an internet marketer, I am happy to promote the keyword Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as most of the people somehow got used to this term. But it’s a wrong word anyway. We the marketers don’t optimize search engines. Rather engineers in Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft does the exact thing.
As the search engines acquire more revenue, their pool of professionals is also drained with best brains. And it will just take some time to identify ways to evaluate each site irrespective of web development language used. But, they will eventually get rid of the need to optimize your site for the Search Engines.
Search Engines might also go for Visual Algorithm Update that will use snapshot image of the page to manipulate information like visible text, animation, and visible keyword density. With artificial intelligence using OCR technology to extract the texts, can eliminate a lot of tasks that are currently done for optimizing a site for search engines.
To quote Colonel Harry Potter from the old M*A*S*H TV series, “Horse Hockey!”
First, I have never heard anyone define search engine optimization as marketers optimizing search engines. It’s probably just the difference in language, but, at least in my English, search engine optimization always means optimizing for the search engines. But, again, it might just be the differences in our interpretations of English (He’s in Bangladesh, I’m a transplanted Texan in Palm Springs, CA).
My main opposition to his statement that onsite optimization will be history is based on something more, well, practical – what are the search engines going to use to determine content, relevancy, theme, etc. if they are paying no attention to what is on the page? Even if they do come up with OCR, image, Visual Algorithm Update or whatever as he mentions, there’s still got to be content, regardless of development language, for the engines to read, thus, optimizing it in some way will always, always, always be needed.
Content is what the web is about and I don’t see the search engines ever ignoring good onsite optimization, no matter how much artificial intelligence they develop. To continue in their quest for good, quality search results, they just can’t.
So, no offense, Asif, but I think you lead off your article with the one prediction that I simple don’t ever see coming true.
Richard V. Burckhardt, also known as The Web Optimist, is an SEO trainer based in Palm Springs, CA with over 10 years experience in search engine optimization, web development and marketing.