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Monday, May 20, 2013

SEO is Dying? Yes, It Is! –Part II

Monday, May 20, 2013
Image Courtesy: Blog Tomorrow
First off, I thank people for posting valuable feedback on my previous post Is SEO dying? Yes, It Is”.  I see a big thread of comments across various SEO relevant groups on LinkedIn. 

Many of us still think that SEO will not die but it continues to evolve and embrace new stream such as social media.

I have already shared my observations on how mobile, technology, social media, user, and Google are killing SEO. While all these factors continue to exert a significant amount of influence on search results, there is a strong urge now that search needs a shake-up. And Google has to rediscover its search engine to fulfill this ‘urge’ for the next generation. 

Think Beyond Keywords:
Image Courtesy: Today's Innovative Woman 
Oren Etzioni, Professor at the University of Washington's Computer Science Department calls on users to think outside the keyword box and improve Internet trawling. He in his report writes “Instead of poring over long lists of documents that contain requested keywords, users need direct answers to their questions.” 

He further writes, “With sufficient scientific and financial investment, we could soon view today’s keyword searching with the same nostalgia and amusement reserved for bygone technologies such as electric typewriters and vinyl records.”

Google’s Continuous Experimentation: Google is gradually transforming and rediscovering its search engine by considering social KPIs to start with. Latter, the search engine might incorporate web ontology language (OWL) and natural processing language for a semantic search result. Rich snippets, knowledge graphs, graph-based search are a few early items to experiment with.
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Amit Singhal, senior vice president at Google admits that search, today, is like a dictionary with less than 10,000 words. He points to the feeble ability of current search engines to meet user expectations.

Internet market research company comScore says over 50,000 searches are done every second. According to a 2009 comScore survey, 30% of searches are abandoned in frustration and two-thirds of the rest require users to refine their queries before getting the desired result.

A decade back, the search engine updated content once in a three months. You could return back from your summer vacation, and still see the same results. Now, things are similar but the frequency of refreshed content is changed.

According to Larry Page, Google's CEO and co-founder, a perfect search engine is “one that understands exactly what you mean and gives you exactly what you want.” Currently, Google has NOT entered into this stage.

Search Engine Exists But Not SEO: Search engines continue to exist but not search engine optimization. There are many people who are mistaken, and argue that SEO exists as long as search engines stay. Not necessarily. Search engines continue to exist as long as ‘search intent’ of users exist, and they remain until the last day on the Earth. On the contrary, SEO will gradually take its last breath if search engines evolve different elements to re-engineer its technology such as natural language processing (NLP) that may well communicate to a machine, and understand users’ search pattern for the delivery of search results. The inter-connection between a machine, Google (search engine), and users determine the relevancy of search results. 
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Users Want Action Oriented Result: The future search engine’s objective would be to achieve NLP based on users' behavioral search and answering them by delivering the most relevant search information, rather than providing the electronic equivalent of the index at the back of a reference book in a library. Users want action oriented search results but not inflated search results of old and archive pages based on inbound links.  
Image Courtesy: A blog for better business 

Google’s Initiative for New Search Engine: In April 2013, Google acquired Wavii for more than $30 million. It seems obvious that the technology will help Google’s new initiatives further such as Google Now, Google’s Knowledge Base, and Google Glass, according to the TechCrunch article. Together with OWL, the acquired Wavii app will help Google in using open information extraction on web. Revminer is an example of open information extraction using a limited search queries that can be used for searching relevant information about restaurant in Seattle.   
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To know more about open information extraction technology, please watch the video below. 

Summary: The semantic approach of search engines kills SEO, as it becomes harder to optimize a website, for search results would be based on ‘understanding users’ intention, their behavior, their voice, and their intelligent quotient. SEO exists as long as our search pattern is based on 'keywords'. Keywords based search results have serious flaws that would be definitely be plugged with new initiatives that Google has taken.  

SEO has never been a right discipline to market a product/service on search engines. The birth of SEO came to being to cheat on search engine algorithms. What was working as a proven SEO technique no longer works today. So, what were earlier SEO tricks? Link building, Keywords density, Meta tags, and SEO software such PositionGold, WebCEO, and other a few galloped with millions of buck.

Do you think they still have relevance to ensure ranking on the top of search engines? Nope, they are not! Were they considered as black hat then? Probably, no but probably yes now.

The whole SEO journey started on a simple theory-a theory of optimizing a website for search engine. Did anyone talk about building a site for users or customers? We all ran of the mill in a rate race to secure top listings in Google, and thus SEO’s popularity rose to build a 60 billion industry.

It’s so unfortunate that none talks about building a site for human beings. SEO preaches us to build a site for search engines. Who are your customers – search engines or human beings? Does SEO encompass ‘human factors’?

Today, when Google has rolled its sleeve up against SEO, the so-called ‘Industry complex’ says SEO is evolving.  At time, when the whole search industry is taking a paradigm shift from upgrading its algorithm to taking human and social factors into account, the wide spectrum of SEO is shrinking to a zero size.

The so-called SEO Industry complex always finds ways to cheat on the system, and thereby securing top positions on Google but their manipulative tricks may not work for a longer period because it becomes too difficult to inflate metrics like ‘organic CTR,’ ‘likes’ ‘tweets’, ‘comments’, ‘influences’, and ‘sentiments’.

As the web is gradually moving on to the next phase of its maturity in 3.0 era, search engine gets semantic to identify the intent of users through their search behavior, and personalization. That’s why search engine is using NLP, and OWL to understand the ‘context of users’ queries, not necessarily being typed as key phrase, and deliver the results. 

Guys, wear Google glasses, and search information than wearing a white or black SEO’s hat, and continue to shoot bullet (guess work that SEO will not be dead) on the air. :)  


  1. First of al, thank you for valueable article.:-)

    In SEO world the most important is content. If somebody knows his target and can use natural people languague - then she/he can write interesting content. Average people don't know how build friendly website, they are using different media (social media too), if they want to hit to target people.

    Other story - many people don't prepare valuable content, but they are using "the same languague" (especially marketers :d)), it is the reason, that other people don't understand their thoughts.

    Google prepares different tools, to find right answers for Googlers which are seeking information. All the time IT Technology is developing. Social websites give people possibility to be more visible in comparison with content at own website (not optimised under point f view SEO).

    In my opinion - it is the reason, that Google and competition work and will deal with new technologies, which help better unterstand people's searching. The semantic approach of SEO specialists is concentrated on people needs (searching), somebody who can write clear and describe our life - has bigger chance to win better positions in search engines.

    Many people are lazy and they don't want to spend much time to write better articles - they are losing in SE. People, who understand SEO (better content) and have commitment during content creating - they are winning in SE :p

    Another point of view - it is computing power of Google' servers, it will grow all the time. We can expect some moent, when semantic approach of search engines (companies) will be more visible as today.

  2. Read your previous post even that was good and liked reading this one too.. What you said here is similar to your previous post with some extra jotted down points.. But as it always happens there are people who agree, who don't agree and then there are those who are just neutral like me.. I believe in believing both the things but confirming it only after it happens so will see in the near future what actually happens to SEO's so why to worry about it now if its working fine today then lets just be happy cheer about it till it doesn't work out :d

    Shveta R

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