The other day I was asked to add a couple characters to the end of my Google+ vanity URL because I have a common first and last name combination. I wanted to choose something easy to verbally communicate that adequately expressed what I do. I typed the letters SEO. Chelsea-Adams-SEO
. It was available.
Six months ago I would have clicked submit and checked the “yes I understand this cannot be changed later” box without a second thought. Chelsea-Adams-SEO is easy to verbally communicate, it’s memorable, and it makes it very clear what I do. I am an SEO.
After dwelling on the permanence of the URL and its association with my identity for some time I went with Chelsea-Adams-Writes
I will always be a writer, and there’s no debate about whether the word “writes” and all of its connotations will someday be rendered obsolete.
Which brings us to present day where I don’t feel like I am the only one having an SEO identity crisis.
A lot has changed in the last 90-days, not to mention the last year. Today people are speaking queries; Google is delivering answers instead of blue links; wearable technology is making a traditional 10-link SERP page feel antiquated; 100% of keyword data is (not provided); and +Eric Enge
says we shouldn’t worry about putting keyword phrases in the titles of our blog posts (http://selnd.com/KFHhXn
It’s getting real out there.
In fact, if we had a green-to-red Homeland Security Advisory System to gauge the level of identity crisis the SEO industry is feeling, I think we’d easily be in the orange zone about now. (As with the actual Advisory System, whether the threats are real or just propaganda is neither here nor there.
So, are SEO and the tools and tactics once used for optimization going away? Should we close the Keyword Planner and start looking for new jobs? Was I right to avoid associating myself directly with the narrow acronym?
At the end of the day I’m glad I chose a more broad way to describe myself, but I don’t think SEO as a monetizable marketing asset will actually go away.
Maybe SEO will become a sub-faction of a larger all-encompassing “Web Presence Optimization" industry (http://bit.ly/1htZkgU
), but as long as people are still using search engines to guide their research and purchasing decisions I don’t see the act of optimizing content so that it can be discovered and delivered by search engines going anywhere.
It’s undeniable that people use technology – and technology uses people – in ways that are progressively changing all the time (knowledge graph, anyone?
), but I see SEO in the big picture
staying pretty consistent – optimizers should be focused on creating websites and pieces of content that are functional
in the eyes of search spiders and effective
in the eyes of humans.
We don’t need to scrap the SEO acronym; what we really need is a new way to wrap our minds around what it means to “do SEO” in 2014, how the industry has changed in the last 10 years, and how we can evolve our strategies without losing the baby when we toss the bath water.