I think it is, and I tweeted so yesterday. And the reason is obvious. What is SEO about? Ultimately, it is about one thing: the ‘website’. It’s about making a website and its pages discoverable, ranked favorably in search results, described appropriately so that searchers hook on the description etc.
But ‘websites’ are not ‘in’. Check the diagrams from Google trends for websites below.
While the overall number of people online is increasing, the visits to the web sites keep falling.
At the same time the volume of searches for these brands shows a completely different picture.
In the last 12 months CG companies see a volume increase or remain steady (amidst the crisis) while, for IT, a longer perspective reveals a mixed picture that has to do with what these companies are and technologies they offer:
- oracle and ibm are gradually decreasing,
- apple is increasing,
- dell increases too although less quickly,
- and hp seems to hold its ground or slightly decreasing.
But there is an equally important movement undergoing: people shift their reliance from search to peers for news, recommendations and answers.
I don’t remember how many times and about how many things I have asked my twitter friends’ advise. And it always comes. And most of the time it’s good too. Not so abundant as search results, but who reads search results past the first page anyway?
Enter social seach. Google injects results in search from our social graphs (opt in). I don’t have to reason the usefulness of this.
What should we expect? What else than these two inversely related trends accelerating? Less reliance on search, more reliance on peer recommendations.
There are some interesting implications here: SEO consulting and search advertising have profited from our reliance on search. Search won’t go away anytime soon, especially with the social element in it. But what would be the need for SEO? And what would be the need for adword advertising, if the important factor in search results turns out to be our peers?
Is Google shooting its own foot? So it seems. But I am sure they have figured it out already and they are thinking of alternatives.