Ten years from now, old-timer SEO pros will look back to the 2000 to 2020 years–the late infancy of the web–with relief that the labyrinthine complexity of technical SEO is a thing of the past. We will focus more on using persuasive words and designs that pertain to searchers’ wishes.
In my recent year of teaching a college course in internet marketing, an overarching theme was that the increasing complexity and strictness of SEO rules conspire to make the web a grossly uneven playing field. Economies of scale hugely favor businesses that can afford the minimum ~$30,000 per year for good and complete SEO. Compounding this trend is Freakonomic math that amplifies the impact of competition in a top-10 results world.
Most of the SEO jobs my firm has done over the last few years required skills and insight which, had I only 3 years experience, likely would have resulted in little help and the damage of wasted money. This situation may seem normal to us SEO leaders, but we shouldn’t fault most business people for thinking it’s absurd that one has to know and do so much.
I believe that in about ten years, Google’s Search Console and probably other third-party tools will report all SEO problems and opportunities and their importance relative to profits, while also exactly explaining what to do, if not doing much of it for you. Today such tools aren’t remotely close to that fine day.
Like all seasoned SEO pros, I’ve seen excellent businesses lose over 50% of their business simply because they did not know what to do when launching an improved website. In one case, before a client came to me, they advertised via directory links in a once venerable and still apparently important website that either unwittingly or intentionally used shady SEO tactics, and my client lost 50% of traffic to Google’s Penguin penalty. Subtle “spider traps” and other intricate causes of infinite and/or duplicate content have hit many sites with Panda demotions. If you just stop, step back, and look at the vast field of SEO carnage out there, it seems a byzantine hell of dos and don’ts decreed by invisible demons.
But that’s how it is.
Most people with the talent and dedication to do SEO well would gladly help businesses in other ways, like more conversion rate optimization, or more persuasive SEO writing (like in the mid to late ‘90s but better), or using analytic tools to find new markets rather than chasing or keeping existing markets. We sell SEO because it’s necessary today, and while we make a living doing this, I for one would equally enjoy doing something else necessary and helpful.