Are SEOs Selling Out to Google?
SEO gets more difficult. PPC is easier. Google opportunism pays. Are we following the main stream aka the path of least resistance?
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Tadeusz Szewczyk (Tad Chef)'s profile photoChris P King's profile photoLarry Kim's profile photoMicah Fisher-Kirshner's profile photo
I think that some people either grind to the top putting in a lot of effort and over-delivering in parts of their life and they achieve success.

Another group goes the path of least resistance you described. They deliver 'just enough' and try to get away with as little effort as possible in day to day tasks.

I think this is just the nature. Some of us who have been in SEO for 5 years+ and are still successfully delivering results and enjoy the changes won't switch at this point.

Others who struggle with the changes and adaptation may very well get some PPC certifications and change careers. PPC always have been an easier path with the official training programmes and certifications. 

At the same time I'm not saying there is no space for shining in the PPC sphere - many do, however I see it happening more at the strategic level. Which could really be applied to social or SEO as a content strategy idea.
With more fragmentation and complexity than before, I wouldn't say PPC is easier, it's normally quicker yes, but the user intent is different to all organic traffic and obtaining qualified traffic does not equate to uninhibited conversion sales success anyhow. A pragmatic mix of both is ok, and for some sectors a necessity. If SEOs are slaves ultimately to where the user is, they will serve them elsewhere, where ever they are searching, so if that means being visible in Google Now by being semantically optimised then so be it.
SEO gets more difficult.  == Agreed, however I firmly believe thats a good thing as it prevents the lowest common denominator legions of "crap SEO" sellers that exist these days.

PPC is easier. == Dont agree - I spend a lot of time working in paid search (at least as much as I do in SEO), and adwords is infinitely more complex now than it was 4 or 5 years ago.  Again, I think this is a good thing for the professional practitioner.
First question: Are SEOs selling out to Google? That ship long since sailed ever since Bing/Yahoo has basically dropped from parlance even when the two engines combined make up 30% of traffic.

Second question: I wouldn't say PPC nor SEO is getting easier; think both are getting more complicated (which could be more difficult, but not necessarily). Cases in point:

SEO is having to work with more areas of marketing/business in order to compete on the SERPs. Before it was just web results, now you need to deal with images, video, local, G+, etc. in order to either rank, rank more of your results, or stand-out better against your competitors. It's not that its difficult to do those tasks, it's that the work is now more complicated because you have to interact more with people in your organization. shudders

PPC, is undergoing some of those areas now too that SEO has had to deal with. Number of G+ followers? Shows up for your ads... now they care about showing you have more followers than your competitor. Star ratings? Important to have. Reviews from customers in ads? Soon to be showing up if not already. Even PPC has its split with PLAs that used to be free. Once again, these aren't necessarily more difficult, just complicated as they have to work with other departments to continue the success they've had in the past.
I don't view this trend as SEOs "selling out". In a battle between PPC and SEO, the winner is marketing. Meaning, having a more diverse skill set including PPC, SEO, and Social Media  (etc.) is a huge professional differentiator - marketers would be wise to diversify their skill set beyond just SEO. As the great rand fishkin said earlier this year (and i'm paraphrasing here): we can't just be SEOs anymore!
+martin macdonald I know that PPC gets more complex too but what I mean by easier is that you don't have to wait 6 months until you "rank" with PPC. That's why it's easier.

+Micah Fisher-Kirshner PPC is not getting easier. It's just easier to get on page one with PPC than SEO, more than ever as there is no room left for organic results on most lucrative SERPs.

+Larry Kim The winner is advertising and Google. I know that you have to learn buying ads on Google by now but that's not a real skill like making websites worthwhile being found organically.  Personally I don't want to work in advertising and pollute people's lives with more push messages. I use ad blockers myself.
No disagreement with having more chances of showing up on page one for PPC.
I'm in agreement with +Micah Fisher-Kirshner that SEO has become much more than just SEO. This shift has always been occurring but has accelerated with the onset of a 'content marketing' which was a reaction to Penguin and Panda, and now another shift with Hummingbird.

I would imagine that most SEOs would have adapted along the way, however, a good % of them would have been lost. Certainly, those SEOs who were always talking technical, Black Hat and link building would have the most to learn about the new ways to rank in search engines.

It's obvious that SEO now favours more well rounded 'marketers' to succeed. IMHO it also favours more creativity as well (I know some people have disagreed with me in the past on creativity and still think that a more technical approach is more in favour).

The one great thing though is that [generally speaking] if you want to build something useful and valuable you'll benefit from the new SEO.
+Chris P King Thank you for your answer. Sadly the post is done and I have only been able to include the first five answers. I might take yours and make a guest post out of it though. What do you think?
Hi +Tadeusz Szewczyk yes I can do a full guest post for you if you like? I will have my business site ready in a few weeks so will be perfect timing :-) Assume that's what you were referring to!
+Tadeusz Szewczyk, I updated the post. Now to install a versioning plugin on WP ;) Email me if you have any other changes.
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