SEO’s Terminal Entropy

SEO's Terminal Entropy on NewMediaLeaders
Munaz Anjum’s excellent two-part post Is SEO Dying? Yes It Is noted by our friend J. Nolfo explains the tectonic forces crushing SEO as we’ve known it.

Anjum’s SEO Killers Include

  • Mobile.
  • Social Media.
  • Technology.
  • Google.
  • Users.

I would add a sixth force killing SEO – Entropy.

How Entropy Creates

Writing How Entropy Is Creating Web 3.0 Right Under Our Noses the death of SEO was only tangentially considered. Life inside of the world’s largest content network isn’t as anthropomorphic as we make it. Digital life is mathematical and instantaneous over and over.

SEO’s Thermodynamics

As Brian Cox explains entropy and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics predicts the universe. Left to its own devices the universe and all riders upon it moves from Low Entropy (ordered) to High Entropy (random).

“Entropy always increases. Why is that? Because it is overwhelmingly more likely it will.” Brian Cox, Wonders of the Universe

SEO’s Sandcastle

The old SEO was a series of interrelated shifting rules.  Creating SEO in support of the e-commerce website my team managed for seven years felt like building sandcastles on a beach. No matter how elaborate its defense all sand castles succumb. Entropy wets the sand, crumbles walls and moves particles from low entropy (SEO and its rules) to high entropy (signals bouncing in every direction from mobile to apps and back again).

Forces noted by Anjum’s article contribute to an inevitable shift. We lucky few Internet marketers are nothing if not prolific sand castle builders. Internet marketers all learn a natural lesson fast – it is impossible to step into the same ocean twice.

The ocean, our lives and the world’s largest content network change in an instant.

Entropy explains why TIME moves in one direction. Entropy explains why Internet marketing is and will always be dynamic and changing. We can’t step into the same Internet twice.

There for a moment we SEOs believed in order, rules and structure. Even words such as “structure” and “chaos” color neutral events. The secret behind the curtain is NO ONE and NOTHING is “In Control”. Control is an illusion lifted away by entropy’s gentle insistence as time moves in one direction – forward.

Inspiration Not Rules

Humans are so funny. We grasp at straws hoping to change the universe. We form tribes and self-reinforcing consensus as if our tiny human insistence could stop the tide.

We are so much SMALLER than our philosophy and beliefs. We are tiny in the hands of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. We are statistically more likely to create patterns and connections than they are to exist.

As Nicolas Taleb so conclusively points out in his masterwork The Black Swan BECAUSE we want a glimpsed pattern to be SO doesn’t make it so. Our wishing however insistently can’t change laws sure to outlive us all.

For a few moments SEOs were Masters of the Universe, an elite priesthood capable of rubbing two nickels together to create a quarter. As Taleb’s freakonomics explains we are rarely as skilled and intelligent as we believe (lol).

The future of Internet marketing is about inspiration and greatness more than rules. Life is short and better spent chasing greatness than playing an endless game of Follow The Lemmings Leader.

Service and Humble Greatness

So much of our conditioning as SEOs (or people) is serendipitous. Some reward pellet is released as we hear a secret bell ring. We register an accidental pairing and immediately test to make it happens again.

Bingo – we say even if the test was muddled or inconclusive. We SEE connection so strongly denial hardly has a chance. Everything isn’t only random all of the time. Greatness DOES exist and we have a batter’s chance of recognizing it (about .400).

We have about the same chances to create greatness. Anyone who tells you they bat better than .400 is trying to sell something. Marketing isn’t capable of batting better than .400 because entropy has the universe’s best curve ball.

We may create the idea of SEO Castles, castles of impenetrable stone instead of sand, because time is short and our pattern recognition so strong we believe our own follows, press clippings or self reinforcing feedback loops.

Don’t.

The best approach to Internet marketing is and will always be as a humble servant approaches a Zen master. “Master,” one student leaned in to ask his much older teacher a question, “what is the sound of one hand clapping?” The master held the student’s gaze for ten seconds before slapping him firmly across the face.

The master said nothing as the student rubbed his cheek.

 

Hero Image courtesy:alphaspirit /Shutterstock

 

Comments

  1. says

    As I pointed out to others when Munaz Anjum first shared links to his article on LinkedIn, the death of SEO is something someone writes about every month for as long as any of us can recall. It has supposedly been dead so long, so many times, that it is an inside joke in the industry about ‘Zombie SEO’.

    I thought I’d pick a classic “SEO is dead/dying” discussion that I remember from back when Munaz Anjum CLAIMS to have started out that I recall and participated in, along with Danny Sullivan. – http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/forums/topic/5517-is-it-time-to-get-out-of-the-seo-business/

    In that, Danny aptly said “if you assumed that being successful with search engines was simply understanding how to optimize a page following rules A, B and C. Once that formula breaks, you’re in trouble if you can’t figure out a new one. And that formula has broken many times.”

    I could find other discussions and articles claiming SEO is dead from pretty much any month and year, as we get these discussions every single month – from someone trying to get attention by mentioning the magic word SEO to get it.

    . http://searchengineland.com/is-seo-dead-1997-prediction-meet-2009-reality-32113

    . http://www.seobook.com/learn-seo/infographics/death-of-seo.php

    You’ll know SEO is dying when idiots stop trying to score traffic with contentious articles tapping the term and all of the attention it commands.

    It was pointed out that Mobile and Social, two of the main things that the uninformed often claim will kill SEO are part of the trinity of SoLoMo ( https://www.google.com/search?q=SoLoMo ), Social, Local and Mobile, which are additional canvases for SEOs to work with.

    People not only search on search engines using browsers now, but they also use mobile search, localized search, and search on social media, each of which have their own methodologies for the SEO to work with. Far from killing SEO, these things have increased both the demand, and the scope, of SEO by several magnitudes, and SEO was already in high demand with huge scope.

    The basic fact is this: So long as the Internet remains large, containing more addresses than you can remember, people will want to be able to search for stuff. As long as search results have any kind of ordering, there will be people who believe they deserve a higher placement in that ordering, and will tweak signals to get it – SEO.

    This basic fact of human nature was not invented by SEOs, nor even by the internet. For decades before the Internet there were some companies who chose company names that would show up first in alphabetical directory listings such as Yellow Pages. For decades, managers have made employees work harder on performance KPIs that will count in reports, even if this caused overall performance to actually slip in parts of performance that were not measured in reviews.

    SEO is not about any one tactic, one trick, or one approach. SEO has always been about combining several different vectors of interest and finding an optimal point of benefit.

    A good SEO understands not only how the search engines work, with several of their KPIs, but also in *why* they work the way that they do, and their own business models.

    A good SEO understands not only which keywords are popular, but how and why people search, how they select keywords, and how intention can be detected from very simple clues.
    A great SEO understands that nobody came online because they lacked sufficient ways to spend money offline. The vast majority of searches made are not only nothing to do with shopping, they are actively anti-commercial. People search for ways to get stuff for free, for information to fix things themselves, for how to guides to make things and save money by not buying them. A great SEO knows how to make those searches, and user intentions, work too.

    http://searchengineland.com/finding-customers-through-anti-commercial-queries-11626

    So, SEO is not about whether Google looks at Titles more than Links, or whether its better to have a link on Facebook or 20 links on blogs. Sure, an SEO should know such things, but that is mere detail, its not what SEO is *about*. (That’s SEO the professional way, not the way of cheap offshore outsourcing that do SEO by numbers using numbers they merely read on a blog post somewhere)

    Munaz Anjum learned absolutely nothing from the discussion about his first article that criticised his every point. Instead he simply made a follow-up article that gets worse by descending back into that sure-fire sign of idiocy – Semantic Analysis.

    The Cre8asite Forums thread I mentioned already above (the first URL) talks about people who were poorly informed way back then saying that Semantics were going to kill SEO – BACK IN 2004.

    Latent Semantic Indexing was a hot topic of a few of us briefly back in 2002-2004 – over a decade ago.
    . http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/forums/topic/593-the-semantic-web/

    So this is NOT anything new. If it was going to kill SEO it would have done so before newbies like Munaz even started out.

    However, for some weird reason, every few years some newcomer decides to rake up LSI and semantics as if it were new. What’s really weird is that every single time they are from India.
    . http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/forums/topic/37247-latest-search-engine-technolgy-lsi-latent-semantic-indexing/

  2. says

    As I pointed out to others when Munaz Anjum first shared links to his article on LinkedIn, the death of SEO is something someone writes about every month for as long as any of us can recall. It has supposedly been dead so long, so many times, that it is an inside joke in the industry about ‘Zombie SEO’.

    I thought I’d pick a classic “SEO is dead/dying” discussion that I remember from back when Munaz Anjum CLAIMS to have started out that I recall and participated in, along with Danny Sullivan. – http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/forums/topic/5517-is-it-time-to-get-out-of-the-seo-business/

    In that, Danny aptly said “if you assumed that being successful with search engines was simply understanding how to optimize a page following rules A, B and C. Once that formula breaks, you’re in trouble if you can’t figure out a new one. And that formula has broken many times.”

    I could find other discussions and articles claiming SEO is dead from pretty much any month and year, as we get these discussions every single month – from someone trying to get attention by mentioning the magic word SEO to get it.

    . http://searchengineland.com/is-seo-dead-1997-prediction-meet-2009-reality-32113

    . http://www.seobook.com/learn-seo/infographics/death-of-seo.php

    You’ll know SEO is dying when idiots stop trying to score traffic with contentious articles tapping the term and all of the attention it commands.

    It was pointed out that Mobile and Social, two of the main things that the uninformed often claim will kill SEO are part of the trinity of SoLoMo ( https://www.google.com/search?q=SoLoMo ), Social, Local and Mobile, which are additional canvases for SEOs to work with.

    People not only search on search engines using browsers now, but they also use mobile search, localized search, and search on social media, each of which have their own methodologies for the SEO to work with. Far from killing SEO, these things have increased both the demand, and the scope, of SEO by several magnitudes, and SEO was already in high demand with huge scope.

    The basic fact is this: So long as the Internet remains large, containing more addresses than you can remember, people will want to be able to search for stuff. As long as search results have any kind of ordering, there will be people who believe they deserve a higher placement in that ordering, and will tweak signals to get it – SEO.

    This basic fact of human nature was not invented by SEOs, nor even by the internet. For decades before the Internet there were some companies who chose company names that would show up first in alphabetical directory listings such as Yellow Pages. For decades, managers have made employees work harder on performance KPIs that will count in reports, even if this caused overall performance to actually slip in parts of performance that were not measured in reviews.

    SEO is not about any one tactic, one trick, or one approach. SEO has always been about combining several different vectors of interest and finding an optimal point of benefit.

    A good SEO understands not only how the search engines work, with several of their KPIs, but also in *why* they work the way that they do, and their own business models.

    A good SEO understands not only which keywords are popular, but how and why people search, how they select keywords, and how intention can be detected from very simple clues.
    A great SEO understands that nobody came online because they lacked sufficient ways to spend money offline. The vast majority of searches made are not only nothing to do with shopping, they are actively anti-commercial. People search for ways to get stuff for free, for information to fix things themselves, for how to guides to make things and save money by not buying them. A great SEO knows how to make those searches, and user intentions, work too.

    http://searchengineland.com/finding-customers-through-anti-commercial-queries-11626

    So, SEO is not about whether Google looks at Titles more than Links, or whether its better to have a link on Facebook or 20 links on blogs. Sure, an SEO should know such things, but that is mere detail, its not what SEO is *about*. (That’s SEO the professional way, not the way of cheap offshore outsourcing that do SEO by numbers using numbers they merely read on a blog post somewhere)

    Munaz Anjum learned absolutely nothing from the discussion about his first article that criticised his every point. Instead he simply made a follow-up article that gets worse by descending back into that sure-fire sign of idiocy – Semantic Analysis.

    The Cre8asite Forums thread I mentioned already above (the first URL) talks about people who were poorly informed way back then saying that Semantics were going to kill SEO – BACK IN 2004.

    Latent Semantic Indexing was a hot topic of a few of us briefly back in 2002-2004 – over a decade ago.
    . http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/forums/topic/593-the-semantic-web/

    So this is NOT anything new. If it was going to kill SEO it would have done so before newbies like Munaz even started out.

    However, for some weird reason, every few years some newcomer decides to rake up LSI and semantics as if it were new. What’s really weird is that every single time they are from India.
    . http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/forums/topic/37247-latest-search-engine-technolgy-lsi-latent-semantic-indexing/

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