Today, SEO is swiftly approaching saturation point. More and more webmasters realise the necessity of learning SEO basics, and as they do so, SEO professionals are facing difficulties finding new clients. With all the niche sites optimised, it will be harder to compete for good key phrases. Link building opportunities will be easily found and utilised by everyone, keyword density will reach its optimum value, meaning that the SERPs will consist of equally good and equally relevant sites - at least from the traditional SEO point of view.
Spammy techniques, still popular and sometimes even effective, will exhaust themselves even quicker. There are, really, not so many different methods of deceiving the search engines and increasing a site's relevancy artificially; today they just differ in details. Perhaps it explains why we don't see spammy sites in the SERPs as often as we used to - our smart spiders catch them quite soon and throw this low-rate stuff away to keep the web cleaner. As soon as spiders become smart enough to recognise spam on the fly, the particular class of "SEO specialists" propagating such rubbish will find themselves out of their jobs. It is not really hard to tell an ugly doorway from the real thing.
So who will survive? What is the way to tomorrow in SEO science?
First of all, we should monitor and analyse the latest tendencies, then extrapolate them and make good guesses on how things may look in the future. Finally, we put them to test using logic and common sense.
This will show us the true answers and help us compete when the time comes to offering ground-breaking SEO services that exploit the new qualities of search engines.
And common sense tells us that the core purpose of the search engines will never change. They are supposed to deliver the best results they can. If they are not always so good at it today, it is often explained by their restricted resources; but that will change over time.
But these changes are not the most important ones. Link popularity analysis algorithms are sure to become more sophisticated - and capable of analysing the "likeliness" of one or another link pattern given the information on a site's age, size and content. That will mean death to link schemes, link farms, pyramids, automated submissions, and numerous links with the same anchor text - and, perhaps, shake the basis of the today's reciprocal linking strategies. Relevancy will mean more, and in cases of complementary businesses linking their sites to each other, search engines will become capable of seeing if they are really complementary, not just pretending to be so.
Also, sites written in different languages but relevant in theme will be translated on the fly and count as relevant - which perfectly fits the worldwide tendency of forming international businesses. That makes international SEO companies more likely to survive.
And, most important, search engines will become capable of analysing context. Google is already playing with stemming and buying semantic packages; synonym analysis and related words (i.e. affordable services - low prices - tight budget - financial flexibility - and, perhaps, even small business package in the same row) won't take long to come.
That will bring revolution to the whole SEO copywriting industry. Today the SEO copywriter's skills are determined by his/her ability to include targeted keywords in the SEO copy without breaking its readability; in most cases it is bound to reduce the quality of the text, unless you hire a very capable writer. Tomorrow, exact keyword matches will be less important. That will make the copywriters' work easier in some ways - and harder in others. It could be hard to part with the habits acquired over time and develop totally new approaches and methods.
But the Net will benefit from it.
Those who want to make their SEO copy flexible and artistic might lose points today, but will win tomorrow. And that will be the end for doorways - completely and irreversibly.
Be prepared to accept new SEO This is the only advice that seems reasonable. My forecast may not be precise, but today's tendencies have already confirmed that this course of events is the likely one.
So, when optimising your site today, think of its contextual relevancy. Of course, include your targeted keywords - but also make sure the overall subject of the site reinforces the point. Do not be afraid of synonyms and related words: they will make your copy more natural and attractive today, and are very likely to make it more relevant tomorrow.
When building links today, vary your titles and descriptions from directory to directory and from link partner to link partner. Throw away all the automated submitters; do it manually. It is hard and time-consuming, but it is also a reliable and strong method of protecting your site from future algorithm whims. It means quality; and I strongly believe that quality will never betray you.
And never stop learning. Visit forums, read fresh articles, exchange opinions with other SEO professionals. Never assume you know everything.
And never be satisfied. It is only inquiring minds that will win in the end.
More on Topic:
There is a new king on the horizon by Rob Sullivan
Are Keywords Destroying the Flow of Your SEO Copy? by Karon Thackston
Search Engines Can Read Macromedia FLASH SDK by Jim Hedger
Irina, Ponomareva, 32. I joined Magic Web Solutions ltd. (UK), Dartford, Kent, on March 2003. I've been acting as a web master, a developer, and an SEO specialist ever since.
After practising search engine optimisation for a year I then launched Spider Friendly (http://www.spiderfriendly.co.uk) - the autonomous SEO branch of Magic Web Solutions (UK) offering SEO/SEM services - in co-operation with my colleague Dmitry Antonoff.