Infographic: The Death Of SEO, Failed Predictions Over The Years

SEO has been declared “dead” almost from when it first began, as our post from a few years ago, Is SEO Dead? 1997 Prediction, Meet 2009 Reality, covers. Now, a new infographic is out looking at how SEO has been “dying” over the years.

The infographic is from SEO Book and is interesting in that rather than taking a timeline approach, it instead shows examples of various types of people who’ve declared that SEO is dead and why they are, as the infographic puts it, “deluded.”

The infographic is below; click to enlarge it:

If you want the infographic for yourself, you’ll find it here: Infographic – Is SEO Dead?

For our own reasons why SEO will never die, well, see our SEO Is Here To Stay, It Will Never Die post from 2010, which says in part:

SEO is about understanding how these search engines get their information and what should be done to gain free traffic from them. SEOs — and search marketers in general — understand the process of search, and they tap into that process to attract visitors.

People have had search needs since as long as they’ve been thinking. Search engines are merely a new, efficient way of answering those needs. The demand for answers isn’t going away; search engines aren’t going away, nor will how search engines provide answers. That means SEO as a way to help ensure you’re one of the answer has a strong future.

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Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Infographics | SEM Industry: Community | SEM Industry: General | SEO: General


About The Author: posts interesting infographics related to search engines and search marketing from around the web. Opinions and facts shared by these infographics are those of the original authors and not by Search Engine Land. Want your infographic featured? See this page.

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  • Charles Miske

    I really love that bottom section – read carefully

  • Joseph McConellogue

    Hahahaha. Oh I love when people come out and say SEO is dead, or search is dead. It’s still one of the strongest growth areas in all verticals. How could it be dead? LOL @ those folks.

  • Guest


  • Peter Rota

    Everyday it seems another one of these articles comes out. Give me a break as long as there is a need to rank websites; there will always be a demand for SEO services. Even though SEO has changed over its time its certainly not going anywhere. Anyone who disagrees is clearly mislead.

  • Justin09

    Optimizing on the search engines will never be dead, but slowly Organic SEO is dying out. Now that Google is picking up their Adwords and PPC to squeeze money out of the economy, Organic SEO becomes harder and harder to help facilitate that.
    For example, 5-years ago, SEO fees would be $300/month for quite a bit of work in return. Now if you look, for $300/month some companies will only sign you up to Google analytics, give you reporting, and a few links a month! (That’s really 30 minutes max. in work).

  • Dustin Woodard

    Interesting piece. You left off Dave Pasternack (PPC bias) from 2007 when he claimed it was dead because it was easy & only relied on following Google’s guidelines (“SEO Isn’t Rocket Science). When Danny said it is easy to misunderstand the complexity of things when you don’t understand them, Dave fired back and said it was as easy as baking a cake:
    His bias was clearly he helped run a PPC agency. His delusion was thinking he could do it, only to lose his ranking for his own name. He ended up doing mass amounts of SEO, including a little gray and black hat SEO trying to regain his name.

  • Justin09

    Exactly, and the small business PPC campaigns have continued to struggle as business owners become more tech-savvy and only want to pursue Organic SEO.

  • Ryan Neal

    This article and infrographic are great and spot on. I believe today that SEO is an all encompassing science that needs to be approached from a marketer’s standpoint. You can’t just optimize pages of a website and walk away, and you also can’t just blog and/or create content with out optimizing your keywords the right way… Today it takes optimizing the entire site, creating content that is optimized as well as taking the time to submit the content across different social platforms.

    I left a company b/c I could not sell their snake oil anymore and knew that they were missing something. So, I started my own business and just 3 weeks into it, my website has generated over 10k unique visitors….

    SEO Dead? I think not!!

  • David Rekuc

    I love this, a piece extolling how SEO isn’t dead is, itself, a successful piece of linkbait.

  • Best_Price_Electronics_Items

    SEO can never die. SEO does not mean a particular way of getting PR with search engine . It is ANY WAY you can take to get increase in PR. Those that are saying SEO is dead. What are they using to get traffic? If you critically ;look at it, it is part of SEO

  • Alan

    Pointless and boring and he really need to use a spell checker.

  • Grant Simmons

    Ha! We’re saying the same thing at The Search Agency, catalyzing the evolution of SEO rather than jumping on a ‘it’s dead’ bandwagon. In fact… that’s what h(SEO) is all about

  • Nigel Owen

    infographics like the one above are linkbait and are absolutely HUGE right now. The idea behind it is that it gives information, but presents it in an easy and fun way
    to digest, right now this is easily one of the best link baits out there and I highly
    recommend you jump on this trend. Look at the shares so far. In less than 24 hrs this has been tweeted over 500 times..enough said. SEO IS NOT DEAD!

  • The SEO Life

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s all SEO, whether intentional or not.

  • Yousee

    90% of the people who claim “SEO is death” themselves lookout of SEO company and SE optimizer to promote their website.

  • Mazhar Shah


    If you want to earn via internet so you need a website, If you have website then you also need traffic. So you can generate and boost your business with the help of Online marketing. So if you want customers/Visitors so you need SEO too its part of Marketing :) SEO can never dead.:)

  • Karthik kumar

    The utmost value I got from this ‘info’graphic is just the pun in “if a cat has 9 lives”.. Surprising that it’s in SEL; worse, in the featured columns.

  • Product Photography

    Thank you soo much for this valuable post.

  • Madan Lal Gupta

    seo can never be dead
    marketing and personality specialist

  • M. N. Vishwanath

    I think “SEO is Dead/Alive” kind of articles should not be written anymore. This topic has been over talked, written and debated and DISMISSED.

    It is established long ago that SEO is no more just link building. It is internet marketing now. Which involves so many things (PPC, Social Media, Usability design….). It will die if internet dies.

    Now discussing “SEO is Dead/Alive” is equivalent to discussing “INTERNET is Dead/Alive”.

  • Daniel Carlyon

    SEO will definitely never die. It just has to evolve and diversify

  • Danny Sullivan

    I don’t agree with everything on the infographic. It’s pretty easy to see there’s potentially a dig against Search Engine Land in it, if you read the “search engineer” column.

    But it’s often the case that we might not agree with everything, when we run third-party infographics. That’s why when we do run them, we usually call out what we think is unique or different.

    In this case, I thought this was indeed a useful infographic covering some of the various ways SEO has been positioned as dead or bad over the years. It could have been better, sure. If I’d been doing it, I probably would have done the straight-forward timeline approach, with lots of cites of who said what and when. My own “Is SEO Dead” article I linked do has done some of this.

    But it’s definitely a useful starting point for discussion, and I totally thought it was worth running — which is why we did.

    As for Joel Falconer, here’s his article

    I don’t like black hat SEO. I especially don’t like it when it acts destructively on other people’s web site. But you bet, Falconer did indeed lump black hat SEO on a list of 10 disturbing things, ranked #5, behind child porn at #3.

  • Jason Wells

    This is an Entertainmentgraphic. TOTAL linkbait. I clicked.
    Where are the facts, figures? It’s a story, told like a story.
    I would say it’s useless, as others have, but it was entertaining at least.
    And I’m not so sure the last section actually gives any reason why SEO will never die. Look to the comments section for ACTUAL insight.

  • Jason Wells

    This is an Entertainmentgraphic. TOTAL linkbait. I clicked.
    Where are the facts, figures? It’s a story, told like a story.
    I would say it’s useless, as others have, but it was entertaining at least.
    And I’m not so sure the last section actually gives any reason why SEO will never die. Look to the comments section for ACTUAL insight.

  • Sandra Hennessy

    There will always be a need for SEO but we need to keep up with the change in digital marketing trends and think brand and user message first, search engines second. The search engine are not buying from you so there is no point in having a great position for target phrases if no one buys once they enter your site. Its not all about keywords on a page, while that is important its about being creating, optimisation and promoting content that is relevant to your market (like this infographic :-) ) Content people want to read, endorse and share.

  • Aden Smith

    The post so taking about ten death of seo. Useful information.
    Web Promotion Singapore

  • Bryson Meunier

    Danny, thanks for the response. It’s your magazine and you’ve definitely earned the right to publish whatever you think is valuable to the community. There are some good points in it, but the few pieces of info that were new are off-base, and don’t seem to have much to do with the death of SEO, honestly. Re: Falconer, apart from the made up quote, he didn’t say SEO is dead, or even imply it. In fact, he said that black hat SEO and follower buying is alive and well, along with child porn and the other disturbing communities that he profiled. His agency offers SEO services, so he’s not claiming that SEO is dead with this piece. And I gather from the tone of the many comments on the NYTimes piece on follower buying and the one on JC Penney and paid links it’s not just white hat SEOs who think black hat SEO is disturbing, as the only people who really like spam are the miscreants who make money from it. But regardless, no one in the example Wall gave is saying SEO is dead, and it seems the only reason why he put it on this infographic is to get a dig in at white hats, whom he obviously doesn’t like. I’m obviously not a fan of Wall, nor he of me, but if I were going to do an infographic on the death of SEO, I would include more relevant information to the topic, and not just use it as a platform for my irrelevant biases. I think too many people who are passing this around and retweeting it are focusing on the fact that they agree (as we all do) that SEO won’t die, rather than the specific examples that Wall gave to demonstrate it. That’s unfortunate, as a lot of it, like an impressionist painting, falls apart upon closer examination.

  • Ken Mozlowski

    Consider the similarities between SEO and Rock N Roll courtesy of Neil Young: Hey hey, my my,Rock and roll (SEO) will never die,There’s more to (Google) the picture
    Than meets the eye, Hey hey, my my,Out of the blue (white) and into the black (hat SEO),You pay for (ppc ads) this and they give you that (should have hired a good SEO company), Once you’re gone (from page 1 results), you can’t come back (without proper SEO). Hey, Hey, my, my.

  • Dreida Kapp

    Yes, sorry, got to agree with the other guys calling this linkbait. Great infographic, just a shame it was wasted on this topic and this crowd! The only reason I didn’t click is because I was told SEO was dead my first day on the job.

  • Saidul Hassan

    First of all, thanks to SEL for the post (repost)- whatever it is. To the people who’s ranting about the intention of this post, the post itself is titled as Infographic and the author is SEL Infographics itself, not any real author! And finally to whom who’s ranting about being bored about the “cliché deal or not”, you like it or not, this is a year long debate and fuelling w/every updates from Google (and other players). And FYI, not everybody in this industry is as veteran as you and lots of people get benefited by digging the past and align w/present.

    Can’t you guys see the comments here? If the infographic itself doesn’t add much value, don’t the discussion through the numerous comments add any value to your knowledge graph?!
    Btw, this is definitely a link bait from SEL marketing perspective but hey! who doesn’t want it if he/she can do it legit?! And IMHO, SEL does it well. Period.

  • Mike Smith (smithm)

    As long as there are search engines, there will be the need to optimize for search engines. Although the infographic is an exaggeration, I think I’ve met a few of them.

  • Mikhail Tuknov

    SEO will never die, as long as Google and other search engines will be alive

  • Thando Vuzane

    SEO will never die, it will just evolve mainly influenced by current popular trends users source information online and publishers contribute content online, hence we’ve seen a shift to more social media focused search results in recent algorithm updates. But search per se, is not going anywhere, and for as long as there’s search, then there’ll always be SEO.

  • Kent

    SEO will never die but will keep evolving. In fact, SEO can’t standalone now. We need to work with social media marketing. We are now an internet marketing strategist.

  • zawadi

    If i posted an infographic on my website it would not be tweeted, because the website first needs to have a decent amount of traffic first. Only 500 tweets in 24hrs? Should have been more lol.

    old comment yes but hey :P

  • Marcis Gasuns

    wite papers -> white papers (in “Adwords gurus”)
    both search -> Both search (in “Search engineers”)

  • Joshua Issac

    SEO is dying. It’s from a world when search engines were not good at finding things. As search engines get better and better, SEO becomes more and more irrelevant. Search engines are not perfect now, and SEO is still around. It will be gone once search engines are so good that SEO makes little difference.

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