The Death of SEO
by Alison Macdonald, Tartan’s SEOmonger
Matt Cutts, SEO’s most favourite person in the whole wide word is a very clever man.
At SES San Francisco just passed he was making a little speech – OK so it was a keynote speech. In this wee chat with the enraptured audience he mentioned a couple of fairly inflammatory things.
(But like a bad sales page lets not get onto that quite yet. A quick “previously on ER” moment first.)
As almost anyone involved in SEO will be aware, the now infamous Google Penguin algorithm update happened a while back in April. In internet time that means it came out about 1978.
With Penguin, much of what SEO had been about up until that point got a little penalized. Every SEO forum on the planet was declaring SEO dead and buried. Loads of smaller scale webmasters saw their hard work ruined as their sites vanished from the SERPs overnight and hung up their SEO-hats for good.
These were not happy times. Heck, my good friend lost a site about shawarma recipes.
But 1978 was a long time ago – and since then the mood has changed and people began to realise that SEO wasn’t dead after all. Phew.
Junk link blasts started getting bought again on Fiverr, autoblogs continued to autoblog, authority sites continued to steal content from everyone – and spun articles were getting posted out to all and sundry – except now the anchor text variation knob was turned up to 11. You know – for penguin safety.
Warrior Special Offers and Black Hat traders were selling penguin proof link packages hand over fist. E-books and tools were flying off the shelves. Ha hah! SEO was alive and well! Take THAT Penguin!
Questions were asked again and again. When’s the next Penguin Update? How long till the next update Matt? Matty – whens the next Penguin?
So when Matt Cutts took to the stage at SES there were a few questions on one or two of the attendees lips.
Here he was, spotlight on the head of search spam at Google – and as an answer to when the next algorithm refresh was coming he looked coldly down to the audience, menace dripping from his tongue*:
you don’t want the next Penguin update.
As a shocked hush spread amongst the aghast SEOs present Matt continued, the Google “engineers have been working hard,” on this update before adding in what was almost a hiss – that the next few updates will be “jarring and jolting” for webmasters and SEOs alike.
Before Matt had even had chance to raise his hands up clawlike* and cackle* these quotes were spreading over the Google-run internet faster than pirated content.
From SEOmoz to Search Engine Land there was wailing and gnashing of teeth unheard of since the previous month. SEO was dead. Again.
Fights broke out, flamers flamed and trolls trolled. People swore. Marketers stopped facebook liking their own product launches. It was Armageddon.
In the same way that everyone knows where they were when the Paris Hilton tapes came out – Matt’s latest shot across the bows to anyone involved in Search Engine Optimisation, Internet Marketing or The American Way is going to go down in history.
So, it’s with a heavy heart that I close down our SEO operation, pack up my UAW, Market Samurai and SpinnerChief and bid you adios.
Until next week.
*Note – some of this may have been dramatised