Many people like to predict the end of search engine optimization and online marketing as we know it. SEO will change and evolve as the web becomes more advanced and desktop oriented but it will not disappear.
As Mark Twain would say, the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
Here is a quote from a popular web forum:
“SEO as we know it will be dead within the next 2 years – true or false? With the wealth of info at their fingertips combined with localized, customized search to name but a few Google will no longer need to do what it does now to determine rankings?”
Google and the search engines that follow their lead will adapt and change, morph and mature while the engineers create new a variety of metrics in order to determine relevance. SEOs will adapt and change, trying to work out what these metrics are.
To succeed in merit based SERPs you must use a holistic strategy. The goal is to provide something of quality to humans: an opinion, service, information, product, or tool. Getting traffic will result from having a solid website with good content, an aesthetic design, usable navigation, solid site structure, and relevant content. If you solve problems in an elegant way people will love you and reward you for it.
All SEO efforts must resulting in an improvement of your website and directly increase the financial position of your company. Quality sells and people will always pay for quality.
Anyone can be successful at online marketing, traffic generation and search engine placement specifically, if they stop looking for ways to trick search engine spiders and focus on connecting with real users.