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Jakob does say that SEO career prospects are good in the near term (5 years out) and does see straight SEO as a sprinboard to a more senior position in "internet marketing" (though I’m not sure why he seems to think SEO doesn’t include "internet marketing" and vice-versa).

Sure, the "basic basics" are simple and more people will learn how to do SEO basics for themselves. But, this job is certainly getting way more complex and more specialized. Who the heck knows what SEO will be like in 10 years but however it evolves, it’s still going to be a hot career with great rewards for those who excel at it.

Did Jakob have a brain fart in much the same way that Vin Cerf did a few weeks back about the same topic?
Comments16 Comments  

Comments

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from Hugh 2534 Days ago #
Votes: 1

This is a terrible article. A good sphinn, but a terrible article. Brain Fart? This is like explosive brain diarrhea. His arguement is basically the same as telling a PR practioner "well most people know how to write a press release, so there really isn’t any need for PR firms." Sorry BBD&O - time to pack it in. This is so getting blogged tonight. Watch your back J-Neil.

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from bwelford 2534 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I agree, Hugh.  There is another commentator as well as Jakob Nielsen and he is equally trite in his remarks.  It isn’t at all appropriate for the third of SEO that is done right.  Unfortunately there is another two thirds that is done by amateurs and their words are much more applicable to that kind of activity.

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from baiduyou 2534 Days ago #
Votes: 3

There is a reason why Jakob is known as a ’usability guru’ rather than a ’marketing guru’.I’ve got a lot of respect for him and he really knows his field, but when it comes to SEM/SEO I wouldn’t put too much stock in his opinions.

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from cre8pc 2534 Days ago #
Votes: 6

I don’t consider someone, who doesn’t get the connection and unified end goals shared by user centered design and search marketing practices, a "usability guru".  But that’s just me :)

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from TheMadHat 2534 Days ago #
Votes: 4

SEO getting more basic just means there will be more competition and more opportunities for people who are advanced and know what they’re talking about. It’s not about the basic SEO, it’s about the last 10% that pushes you to the top. And that stuff isn’t basic.

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from toprank 2534 Days ago #
Votes: 7

Anyone practicing today’s SEO in 10 years deserves to be obsolete.  Heck, let’s try in 3 years.  The issue with Vint Cerf, Jakob Nielsen and many other tenured digerati are that they have settled into a mindset that SEO is all on-page with only a small nod (if any) to link building and content promotion.  What most SEOs that have savvy social media and online marketing chops are doing is web marketing using a variety of channels, not just search engines. In that sense, the notion of "SEO" will indeed be obsolete and give way to some other label. But the nature of the work will remain the same:  marketing content on the web using the technology and communication channels available.

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from johnandrews 2533 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I suppose it depends on how you read that article. From what I read, I can now proclaim that "Jacob Nielsen says SEO is "the most effective component of Internet marketing" and Jacob Nielsen says "Whenever a site gets a good SEO workover, traffic invariably explodes" and he also says "you have to be on the first page of results for popular queries in your business, or you will never get any new customers from your Web site."I’m liking Jacob Nielsen.

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from mike.tekula 2531 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I think it has a lot to do with how we define SEO and what falls under the umbrella of that definition.  Personally, I don’t even think "SEO" is an accurate term anymore - those of us who make it our business to be informed on SEO and offer consulting or other services in that vein to our clients perhaps discredit ourselves by saying we offer "SEO services."  The reality of it is that most of us are actually Internet Marketers who recognize the power of search visibility to drive traffic.  I don’t know many SEOs who don’t come from a web development or internet marketing background.  Certainly an SEO or SEO company that knows nothing about branding, web development standards, copywriting, usability, etc is not going to be ultimately effective for clients.As a few above have stated, SEO means a lot more to us than "on-page optimization."  However, from the outside looking in, the raw definition of the term "SEO" might lead people to that conclusion.  Maybe we’d just do better to call ourselves Internet Marketers and avoid the stigma that comes along with the "SEO" title.  I think that the general public view of that term is becoming a misrepresentation of our well-rounded skill sets.

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from David 2531 Days ago #
Votes: 0

One question from me...Who knows which way Google, Yahoo! and MSN are going to go with regards to SEO???Nothing (as we know) is predictable in the www worldD

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from jaybong 2531 Days ago #
Votes: 0

The same argument could be applied to anything - including usabilty. Sure basic on page SEO should be common sense, but that doesn’t mean it will become so common place as to make an industry obsolete. Usabilty  - if I have this right - is all about common sense. But that fact won’t keep the lazy web designers from ignoring it.

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from mike.tekula 2531 Days ago #
Votes: 2

JayBong - I think you raise a great point here, and one that really shoots Nielsen out of the water.  I think maybe part of his motivation for articles like this is the fact that SEO, in many cases, involves breaking usability standards such as "eliminating unnecessary copy."  It’s difficult to achieve a balance between the SEO standard of "more content = better" and maintaining usability.  I struggle with this daily.I also think that while on-page optimization may boil down to common sense in some aspects, SEO as a big picture including building inbound links, while it involves common sense, is not so simple.

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from Gamermk 2531 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Looking 10 years ahead regarding any aspect of the internet is completely insane in my mind.

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from andrewsho 2531 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I am so over that guy’s font.

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from billslawski 2531 Days ago #
Votes: 3

I think maybe part of his motivation for articles like this is the fact that SEO, in many cases, involves breaking usability standards such as "eliminating unnecessary copy."Not sure that I agree, Mike.  I know that the way that Kim (cre8pc) practices usability, her methods are very search engine friendly and compliment SEO efforts instead of conflicting with them.  I think that Dr. Nielsen may be outside of his realm of expertise in even beginning to tackle the topic of SEO.  I know that there was an interview with him on Search Engine Land a couple of months back (http://searchengineland.com/070713-115541.php) where he insisted that search engine results pages hadn’t changed at all since 2004.  He dismisses out of hand the incorporation of data from different repositories into search results as layout changes - things  such as maps, videos, images, news results, podcasts, interactive trip and recipe and other lookups, and additional features that we see blended into results on all of the major search engines these days.  The interesting thing about those isn’t how they are laid out on a page, but rather the myriad ways that that information is captured, considered relevant, and presented to users differently based upon a wide variety of manners.  He sees the shiny surface above, but not the complexities underneath.Funny thing in that interview is that he suggests a shift in search paradigms at the search engines from information retrieval approaches to a popularity based one (which is what PageRank was about).  That happened with the introduction of PageRank almost ten years ago.  He’s a little late to the party.  From a lot of what I’m seeing, there’s a strong shift back towards an information extraction and retrieval approach, and towards a strong use of data mining, machine learning, and the use of statistical models based upon user searching and browsing activity. PageRank, which we’ve probably talked about too much lately, is increasingly becoming less valuable these days.And while he insisted in that interview that personalized search will never work, the search engines are trying their hardest to prove him wrong. 

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from everett 2530 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I don’t think the title is appropriate. At least 80% of the article was saying possitive things about the future of the industry, and even when he said it might slow down ten years from now he used a disclaimer about possibly being wrong.As for SEO being "basic" well... only people who don’t know how to do SEO think that.

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from jaybong 2530 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Everett, I think basic SEO is the stuff that generates the best, fastest and easiest results. Things like knowing what people will search for, title tags, and proper internal linking structure.Even if you know a lot about SEO, these sort of things will probably get you 70% of the results an entire SEO project will see.Nielsen’s comment "Web sites need SEO consultants to save themselves from their own stupidities" is pretty accurate; I just think he is wrong in assuming that web developers will get significantly smarter within the next few years.As Seth would say: "It’s not their job"

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