The focus of the event was “The Future” and the format involved one to one conversations with individuals in the general public, the audience rotating every 20 minutes. The topics varied from “The Future of Spandex” to “Search Engine Marketing“, (you can guess which one I spoke about, and you’re probably right in thinking the other one was far more interesting).
The evening was extremely informative but there was one key message that seemed to come through in all the conversations I took part in and from all the people I spoke to: The importance of creativity.
SEO is more often than not considered a science (not a creative process), involving implementing changes to a site based on the need to please an algorithm. However the need for creative thinking has become more and more important for a successful SEO campaign over the last few years. Understanding who you want to generate links from, and thinking creatively in how to attract those links.
But what about the future?
Its hard to predict anything in such fast moving times so I wouldn’t dare guess past the next five years and even the next five years is speculative. Search has already started to become more personalised and this will, no doubt, continue. Combine this with the trend of storing more and more of our information online, (gmail, del.icio.us, etc.) and the need for search engines to learn about us as individuals (our interests, our needs, our habits). Providing ways of helping us store and sort that information more effectively is inevitable.
Taking into account this level of personalisation the search engines will teach themselves at an exponential rate – and as a search marketer, trying to keep up with this evolution will become impossible.
5 years ago you needed an expert to optimise your web site. Now pretty much anyone can do it. The “secret” information is now freely available. The reason individuals don’t do it themselves is mainly due to time constraints. There is also the fact so many little elements make up good optimisation, that missing one or two can have an impact. This will change, and things will become more automated, technology even easier to use, and it will be simpler for anyone to do it themselves.
As search engine marketers we’ll have to totally forget about algorithms and focus on the objectives of search engines – “to provide the most relevant search results” (if this even stays the objective). Thinking creatively about websites and the information / interaction they offer will lead to greater success in a world where all sites will be algorithm friendly.