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Doing SEO in 2018 will be brutal
Over the years I always had a moment when I had doubts about the industry I'm currently activating, Search Engine Optimization. It changed so much over the years it is barely responsible compared with the SEO I was doing ten years ago.
Structure data, schema.org, AMP, PWA, search snippets, local SEO, Google My Business, Search Console, Instant Answers, Voice Search, Mobile First Index, and so on.
Things had changed A LOT! Sometimes we don't realize how much SEO actually changed. Keywords had fallen into secondary tasks as content optimisation has taken its place with 100 more ranking factors.
I'm not even going to touch the backlinks subject. Sure, backlinks are still important but I believe Google will make the importance of backlinks a think of the past in maximum three years and this has all to do with Rank Brain and the development of AI in search engines.
Bottom line is that Google, as well as the other search engines, had made it brutal for us SEOs. It has become a very hard job that requires a huge backpack of knowledge as well as a constant improvement of the things you know and do, not to mention the fact that whole strategies can change overnight because Google decided to "test" something.
I'm not crying here; it is only fair what Google is doing at the moment. It picks only the best pages with the best stats, speed, content, and user experience to be on the first results. It has evolved, and the algorithm is complex enough you can't really beat it anymore. Black Hat SEO may soon be a thing of the past, and I'm wondering how much we, the White-Grey Hat SEO specialists will last before things because of a way to hard on everybody before SEO finally becomes too much of a burden even to try doing it full time.
A day may come when the actual results of doing SEO as a full-time job become so insignificant that clients decide to put their money into ads.
I personally try to evolve and move past SEO; I'm developing my content building skills as well as my general online marketing techniques. I need and must be able to offer much more than just plain old SEO. I need to offer the full package of online marketing, including the skills to manage PPC campaigns.
That being said I believe 2018 will be brutal for some old school SEOs who are still implementing old techniques. They won't see any results and a lot of clients will be lost over this.
So, my advice is the following: start learning new skills that are related to SEO, because just doing plain old SEO isn't enough and won't be enough in 2018!
What do you think? Are the SEO specialists here of losing their job in 2018? WIll you stick to SEO or are you planning to diversify and move to something else in the future?