The death of SEO is a topic close to our hearts here at Browser Media.

Whether discussing the banning of unnatural links in press releases, or our own change to an “inbound marketing” agency in 2012, it’s an ongoing debate that regularly raises its head.

Recently I came across something which, for me, is another nail in the coffin of SEO.

When contacting a website, a message above the form listed the topics that the site didn’t want to discuss. There was the obvious, of course, from violence to pornography, but also SEO.

As part of the message I included a reassurance that despite being from the address of an inbound marketing agency, the content was not related to SEO. However when I tried to send the message, it refused to send due to the mention of the term “SEO”. So despite the context of the word, its simple presence was enough to block the message.

As has been discussed before, SEO is not dead.

However, the term itself obviously carries with it extremely negative connotations and suggests the importance of evolving away from that perspective. For many, simply the word SEO conjures images of spam blog comments, directory listings and keyword stuffing. The few blackhat techniques gives an entire industry a bad name, and if that is the opinion of the general public and potential clients then it’s even more important to steer away from it.

Part of our transition to inbound marketing hinged on the abandonment of these techniques. Instead the ethos of earning an audience’s attention has influenced our day-to-day work, and as a result the emphasis is on producing great quality content that people will want to share.

SEO isn’t dead, but if agencies want to survive they need to start seriously reconsidering semantics.