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SEO is dead? Not quite…

Headlines like “SEO is dead” are always going to catch someone’s eye, and just such a headline caught mine…

So I was drawn like a moth to the proverbial flame when I saw the title belonging to an article by Mike Grehan over at Clickz, discussing the much exaggerated demise of Search Engine Optimization:

“Conventional SEO wisdom says title tags should have compelling text to induce the user to click through to your page and not your competitor’s. I couldn’t agree more… [but] if you really want to see what the future holds for presentation style that will require a whole new approach to SEO, search Ask for ‘Spider-Man 3.’”

In one respect, he’s spot on because he demonstrates how SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) now need to work hand in glove more than ever to make things happen on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages.)

However, I’m not sold entirely by his argument.

Yes, off-line marketing is always going to be a good thing, but Spider-Man 3 isn’t a particularly scalable example.

What about SEO for small businesses, not related to, or in any way connected with new media stuff like movies, games, music et cetera? Not all businesses or every market niche benefits from video, podcasts and the like.

So as an example, that just doesn’t reflect the real world, or the very least, the lower tier of search which is dominated by the regular common-or-garden variety businesses that sell the mundane stuff, most of which are run by people who know nothing of video clips, podcasts, viral games, music promos, and would probably not benefit from such things, either.

While rummaging around the Clickz website, I found a related article by Rebecca Lieb, talking about how search works hard and that marketeers must work harder still:

“Another concept that was batted around this week was what some might consider to be search’s Holy Grail: a single search result. The thinking is if an engine understood you – really, really understood you and your search query – you’d ideally get one result to your query. It would be that one result that solved your problem.

It’s a tantalizing concept. Often, people use search to research and therefore want (as well as need) multiple results. The flip side of that might be mobile search. Given in a time-, resource-, and space-constrained environment, a single result could be just the ticket.”

Don’t we call this ”Googlewhacking“?

The goal of the one search result isn’t a new concept, and it’s certainly possible.

But it’s not so much a question of the search engines knowing more about you and what you want, but more about the search engines knowing what you’re doing and what you want the information for.

In the real world, you start a complex question with some background information. So if the search engines want to be as smart people, then people have to be prepared to take the extra time and make the extra effort.

So the search engines will have to work harder still, and so will the users, too…

Recommended reading

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

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