Why SEO will be gone in 5-10 years

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) helps businesses and obviously also individuals or any other group to be found in the Internet. And as long as people search for a product not knowing their name or a technology, not knowing its source or a solution not knowing who is a potential supplier SEO is an important part of the marketing mix. 

However, this is slowly and steadily changing. Today 60 – 80% of the so called educated purchase decision is based on recommendations.

Recommendations in turn are made by trusted individuals or groups that have no or no significant interest in the sale but helpful and experienced people using or knowing the product or service in need. And the number of recommendation based purchases is steadily growing. I'm sure it will hit the 80 – 90% range in the next 5 to 10 years. Already today people are searching for experience, do their background checks, seek for user reports and more. The website with the actual offer or e-commerce shop is the last step in a product or service evaluation process. 

Now – what does that mean to SEO? Why should a business invest in search engine optimization if most of the purchase decisions are based on recommendations? Wouldn't it be smarter to invest into the "recommendation chain" instead in SEO? Wouldn't it be more effective and successful to make sure people recommend a product than hoping to come up higher in the list of search results?

Well – today not every consumer is looking for recommendations, experience and other indicator what product or service they should buy that fits their needs. But in 10 years most of the decision maker in the age of 35 are the 25 year old from today – who would just not buy a product based on the fact that it shows up on the first page of a search engine. If they had to decide to put $1,000 in relationship improvement versus SEO – guess where they spend their money?

Today somebody may type something into the search field to get some idea what product, service or technology may come up. The highly optimized site may show up on the top. Then what? Purchase right away? Never. Now the next step is checking all the results. And here comes the key: User based feedback from blogs, communities, groups, Q+A sites and more. What the searching user gets is now a good picture and quickly realizes that this first item on the search engine may not be the best. Often times it is not taken BECAUSE it shows up first, which makes many buyers suspicious. 

While we have tens of thousands SEO consultants fighting for their profession, there will be people who buy it. Like people advertise in Yellow Pages still today believing it makes sense. The same people will pay for SEO even in 30 years but the primary SEO business will be gone in 5 to 10 years. I couldn't find any reason why it would be of value.

The City of San Francisco finally banned the distribution of Yellow Pages as 90 tons of paper where thrown away a few days after the books where delivered. The only reason they still get printed is to get the ad dollars from the mom and pap shops who never knew that the books are basically go straight from print to trash.




12 Replies to “Why SEO will be gone in 5-10 years”

  1. Thanks for posting to point out the value of relationship marketing. I think that we will see a combination of the 2 approaches will work best – do your SEO optimization to get ranking in those areas where it's still effective (Google will adjust to changing times) and then be sure that you social marketing is active and consistent to get your brand reputation in front of the influencers in your niche. And then, most important, create a system to keep your content marketing efforts working and adjust is as you see it's needed-that means that you must have relevant content out there! You can drive traffic, but be sure you give your customers something worth driving to
    Dawn Damico

  2. Sorry, but I don´t believe you.
    All research shows that recommendations from friends prompts search, So more recommendation – more search.
    SEO is not about rankings. It´s about conversions. The SEOs that don't realize this might be in trouble, but any consultant focusing on conversions will always find work.

  3. If you were not preaching from where you are, as a social media marketer with a mission and a message that your knowhow is more worth than an SEOmarketers knowhow, like an "us versus them" approach, I'd have more belief in you.
    It is not an "Us vs Them" approach you should take on when talking about what should be the most cost effective online marketing channel in 5 or ten years from now, it is all about combining. People will still be searching, and there will still be areas where taboos and less attractive topics will be sought fore instead of being personally recommended.
    And, if you would have to choose between two brands with  who has the same amount of influencers recommending their services or products, chances are still in favour of the one people get to know first, and gets exposed for the most.
    This is where SEO, or Search Engine Optimization will evolve and still find ways to put products and services in front of the needy researcher as fast and as often as possible.
    SEO is also about knowing how to handle social signals if you should doubt that.
    Like Dawn says: “be sure that you social marketing is active and consistent to get your brand reputation in front of the influencers in your niche.”

    There will allways be a need for channel optimizers who knows how to put brands and services in front of the right people, and as SEO professionals we will allways be able to adapt no matter which channel – you will still need our statistical analysis and our ability to interpret the “battlefield” and take care of both broadening reach and awareness in the right spots.

    There is no us versus them.
    Yes you are right when you say that social media marketing can work without SEO. And the SEO marketers will have no chance if the do not take into consideration such things as social signals.
    But, SEO will evolve too.

  4. I more agree with a conclusion that combined approach than with a "recommendation chain" only approach. SEO is showing HUGE returns for several of my clients, even in industries where you would not picture buyers conducting purchase research online only a few years ago. Online buyers are smart – they know that many recommendations or derogatory posts remain biased, or worse.  
    Google search still offers SERPs that are useful in product/service research. Even if comprehensive research is not attainable through this method, I have not seen a decrease in SEO competition, which tells me that results are still robust and even growing, which aligns with my experience.
    I have also not seen a significant drop in pay-per-click, which also supports the theory.
    Finally, Google continues to hold off social media dominance in SERPs. Personally, I cannot see them abandoning this position, at least not for many, many years. 

  5. The jab at yellow pages is probably 90% valid. I don’t know too many people under 70 who really use them much any more. However we do keep ours each year just in case we are looking for something that you struggle to find online. Some small businesses just don’t know how to use the internet to their advantage. So we throw away the old yellow pages book and keep the new one. I suspect at least some of the waste the writer referred to is old books.

  6. Your points are well thought out, but I think you have overlooked what those recommendations / blogs / Q&A are. They are content. Content that is indexable. And used for searching for things like… recommendations.

    There is a reason that Amazon.com consistently appears at the top of most product search results. They actively manage their user reviews and make sure that they are indexed appropriately. The social sharing aspect is driven by their SEO.

  7. To be frank it matters on how we see and practice SEO.To me,social media is an entity of SEO.Some of the older tactics of SEO might make way for more smarter one’s (it’s all about getting into the gates of Google,right?!).
    Webmasters will invent and discover new methods and be more ‘social’ inclined now since Google has changed it’s algorithm (in it’s effort to push Google+)
    As Kare Garnes had pointed earlier,SEO is not about rankings but about conversions.

  8. SEO is technical version of marketing, most of us when have to buy a product we investigate, research for that product or service. The theme of this is:
    Educate ———————>Engage————————->Convert
    Are we doing the same? SEO is all about to provide high quality of information product to those who are really needy for it, not to them who don’t want such!
    I believe it is futuristic i.e- it is going to mature with time, it can not collapse rather will going to dominate other marketing strategics,

  9. I do not believe that SEO will every die. People accept recommendations (word of mouth) only if it comes from a trustworthy person or place. Most view blogs and forums and places that a lot of uneducated spammers frequent. Not to say all those that use blogs etc. are uneducated, just that when you visit said blog you don’t know if the comments are real.

    Testimonials in a lot of cases are contrived, but these people soon fall foul of their own home made recommendations.

    Another problem is – what blog or forum do you trust? There are just so many out there. Most sites on the top of Google contain internal blogs anyway, so do we take what is said in these blogs as being the truth?.

    Google is getting very picky about awarding ratings to sites now days and it is becoming increasingly difficult to fool them (Google). The old SEO days are gone, but are replaced by a new set of rules. This will occur frequently and SEO companies will adjust accordingly.

    Already a new class of SEO company is emerging – my organisation advertises Website Development and Positioning. This will probably become known as WDP – one small step and a whole world of possibilities for the future.

    https://xeemee.com/Gordon Jablonski

  10. You absolutely have a point there, I have never analyzed it
    like it like that before. You make it sound so provocative.
    I am going to have to look up this more!

  11. Great post Axels! I love it when you talk about Why SEO Will Be Gone in 5-10 Years. It will be more productive for sure. Very insightful post. I have bookmarked this.

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