The rumor mills were true. SEO is an ever changing and dynamic industry. Actually, if you’re anybody, then you’ll know that search engine optimization is more than just pushing keywords, it’s a crucial component to marketing plans. You’ll also know that the SEO industry is in constant flux, always adapting and evolving. Many smart minds can pinpoint what aspects of SEO are about to change. It goes without saying, what was ‘hot’ yesterday, will be ‘lukewarm’ today, and ‘cold’ tomorrow.

So what’s so important that’s changing? SEO’s must consistently stay on top of trends or risk being left behind. Every year or so there are enough changes that anybody unwilling to pay attention will be left without a job. Right now we’re at a point where the method of promoting web sites are distinguishing amateur SEO firms from the pros.

Here are the latest changes in method of SEO promotion that are kicking amateur SEOs to the curb. (Bear in mind this does not suggest amateur (do it yourself) webmasters will be punished, but people who claim to be competent SEOs).

Example number one: Ezine article directories. Before social media (bookmarking, Reddit, Delicious, Digg, etc.,) ezine directories were the method of getting your article out there, recognized, and linked to. That was two years ago. I still say new web sites in low competition markets may benefit from the initial slew of incoming one way links. But, in the grand scheme, that content you wrote for the ezine is better suited for your own web blog. Furthermore, submitting to a list of 100 ezines would probably net you 20 overall one way links, none of which are ‘authority links’. Ezines are now officially dead (we just declared them dead like an the news reporter ‘declares’ winners in an election before it’s over).

Example number two: free and paid directories. No longer can you expect great one way link juice from web directories. There is such a thing as crappy links, those that do not produce results or pass PR ‘juice’. Free web directories would fall under this category. Now let’s get something straight. If your competitor submitted to a number of worthy web directories, you may want to do the same. Although one quality and high PR relevant link would trump multiple web directory links, every web site has a certain ‘free web directory’ threshold that can be met with benefit. You don’t want to get all your web links from free web directories, but then again, you don’t want to give up this resource.

Paid directories are a bit tricky because the assumption is you pay you get a better link. Fact of the matter is you don’t pay for the link theoretically, but you pay for the ‘review’. Yahoo and come to mind, they are relatively ‘trusted’ directory’s. Does that mean it’s worth the money to submit every year (over 400USD for both)? Slowly but surely these forms of directories are losing favour as ‘authority links’. Soon, Yahoo and the rest of the web directories will be relegated to ‘mere directories’. Although I’m sure Yahoo will remain ‘king of directories’ (until someone replaces them) you should consider investing that directory money elsewhere.

Example number three: Paid links. Be careful because this aspect of SEO is changing rapidly. Quite frankly, Google does not like the ‘paid’ link, but Google can’t track paid links well. They say put ‘nofollow’ for all paid links so you don’t get in trouble. Fact is, if they catch you, you’re dead, if they don’t, then paid links may still offer viable methods of getting one way links from authority web sites. There are ways you can get around the ‘pay for link’ mentality. Donate money, time, articles, etc., to get links indirectly.

Example number four: Social bookmarking. Although replacing ezines as the new social network, have wised up to some of the practices of ‘bumping’ articles. You could at one point set up a nice Digg network and get articles ranked relatively high. The rewards are sweet for a number one Digg, however, Digg has wised up to the manipulationg practices. Stay one step ahead of this game, and learn how to create catchy content that ‘sells’. Sometimes it’s not the greatest or most useful stuff that gets listed here.

There are but some comments on the ever changing industry of SEO. If you haven’t realised the changes then get on board fast. If you have a SEO firm on hire, then ensure they got things taken care of. Some of these aspects mentioned above are still viable in moderation, but only in moderation.

Quite frankly, the SEO market today forces all major players to adapt and adopt. Adapt to the changing marketplace by keeping on top of all changes. Adopt new methods of marketing by learning coherent and successful promotion tactics and strategies that follow a focussed marketing plan. Web promotion is a science where marketing skills relevant to your niche are necessary to survive and thrive. Adopting the ‘generic’ approach that most SEO firms use will only give you generic results. You need a plan to exploit all channels of promo from social media, web 2.0 themes, press, news, blogs, niche marketing, viral marketing (see social media), and more.

So don’t stop now, start brainstorming that next big idea that will ‘link bait’ your industry into sending you lots of traffic and one way links. It’s not as easy as you think, but when you have that idea and can market it properly, you’ll have the positive results you seek.