Occasionally, I have to give props to my occupation, which, as I've feared for quite some time, has all but bitten the dust. Yes, ladies and gents, SEO is dead. Now, Social Media Optimization is what we have to practice. Well, we can choose not to, but if it comes down to capitulation or starvation, I'll choose capitulation.
The life of a freelance writer is sort of like riding a see-saw on a playground. You experience ups and downs, and sometimes, you land squarely on your ass. The death of SEO has put me squarely on my ass for the past month or so, as regular work has dried up because of the passing of this practice. I knew in my heart that it was only a matter of time, since the technology train we travel on moves very quickly; much too quickly most of the time. That speed is responsible for many crashes, and the latest casualty is the craft I've been practicing for a scant four years.
According to an article I found on the Guardian Web site, which links to this post, Google has all but murdered SEO by reducing the percentage of true, organic search results down to a meager 14 percent, while the rest of what appears on the screen is ads and garbage. I've been running Ad Blocker Plus pretty consistently on my Firefox browser, so I have not seen the ancillary garbage. I have, however, noticed the proliferation of sponsored links, which appear at the top of every SERP (search engine results page), and on the sidebar. I make it a practice not to click on these links, and their appearance has left me quite disconcerted. It seems that Google has decided to quash all efforts at honest SEO-ing, by giving preference to these ads, and not allowing prudent keyword placement in quality content to take precedence. So much for all the keyword research and quality copy writing I've done. It seems it's all been for naught.
The light at the end of the tunnel is Social Media Optimization, which involves raising your profile on Facebook and Twitter, along with other social media sites. This seems much more palatable than SEO, since there is no longer a need for keyword-stuffed content, written by third world hacks masquerading as competent scribes. I can't say I'm sad about bidding SEO good-bye, especially since for me, I learned the "skill" during a time in my life when chaos reigned, and peace of mind was on hiatus. I never completely believed in SEO, but before Google trotted out all its spam-killing algorithms, it did work when executed properly. Unfortunately, those who chose the route of proper execution were few and far between. The "black hat" practitioners ruined it for everyone.
The upside of leaving SEO behind, is that we will no longer need to write for robots and algorithms, but for humans. That's as it should be. I hope that optimization will fade in favor of optimism, and that social media will play a more positive role in how we humans search for information in the great electronic void. After all, how many more narcissistic selfies, cat photos, and emotional dramas can we endure?