Sadly the future of SEO is mostly a topic for people outside the industry who grab attention by reinforcing prejudice. On the other hand we’re in the middle of huge changes taking place in the SEO industry or should I say… yes, what.
Already at present we rarely speak about SEO anymore. It’s always part of a composite term or a larger concept like search marketing. Here are the 5 most common SEO futures already visible right now:
- advanced SEO
- SEO 2.0
- web design for ROI
- search marketing
Findability is a concept stemming rather from the web development community and usability experts. It’s almost all encompassing and covers not only SEO aspects of web design. It also reflects off site factors and new developments like social media. It’s been revived recently but it didn’t catch on as much as I’d expect yet. Findability is a great term for all those who struggle to explain SEO again and again. Findability is kind of self-explanatory due to the non-acronym nature of the term.
Advanced SEO has been highly debated recently and then it seemingly disappeared from the daily buzz. Is advanced the new better SEO or just a part of it like basic SEO? I don’t know, the pundits do not even agree on what advanced SEO really is. It certainly has something to do with programming and web analytics, examples like “ip delivery” and “ROI analysis” get mentioned in this context. Some bloggers dispute that advanced SEO is another term for “black hat SEO” but there has been no final agreement reached on this.
SEO 2.0 has almost gone main stream when Lee Odden coined it’s most popular definition of “digital asset optimization” in 2007. Others have come up with numerous other definitions. Then the talk of the town kind of subsided partly due to the growing wariness of everything “2.0″ and corresponding buzzwords. It seems that SEO 2.0 is not only SEO for Web 2.0 but a holistic new approach highlighting social media engagement and techniques like link baiting, reputation management as well as viral marketing. It hasn’t really gone main stream yet though in spite of many SEO specialists already adopting it.
Web Design for ROI
Web Design for ROI is a highly influential book that basically, like the findability concept, re-contextualizes SEO along the lines of larger business objectives. These get translated via web design and information architecture in order to realign them in favor of higher returns instead of “good looks”. While it’s not a term that realy caught on it really describes what SEO nowadays is about. PageRank, rankings and traffic are not enough as return on investment is key. The concept is already widely accepted and I’d love people to use a short version of the term like ROI design or something. They do not yet though.
SEO and SEM are intertwined for a few years. some people even define SEO as a sub-discipline of SEM. While I prefer SEM to refer to paid search (PPC etc.) the term has morphed to search marketing recently. You rarely say “SEM” by now. Not only the term gained traction, the approach did too. Search marketing dropped the “engine” as it’s about reaching out to people who search, be it on search engines, static websites (Adsense!) or social media. You don’t need strictly an engine to search. You need a search marketer to help you perform on the various media and platforms though. This term ist the most popular right now as describing the whole industry.
These are possible ways that you can take. SEO in a way branches out in many directions. You can choose which one you’ll take. Also the 5 new SEO paradigms overlap and are used sometimes as synonyms. Which way do you go? Quo vadis SEO?