Ask a layman, "Who do you think are websites made for?" and I am sure the prompt reply would be, "of course humans". Ask a web developer or a webmaster, who does he think of while developing a website, and I am sure the reply would be "Search engines and humans".
Websites were always meant for humans. But as time progressed and the number of pages on the internet started growing exponentially, it became difficult to locate them. There entered the Search engines and something happened that changed the way people used internet: Google.
Fast forward to the present scenario. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has become more of a norm than an option.
Any serious webmaster or business owner will make sure to put as much efforts as possible to please the Google algorithm to hog the maximum attention by getting in the first page of search results. I do not mean to belittle SEO efforts in any way whatever. It has remained and will continue to be an important tool to get your website closer to netizens.
But somewhere down the line the real target audience (humans) of the web took a backseat and it was the search engines for which majority of efforts were directed to, sometimes at the cost of content. Therefore I always like to call SEO as online marketing for search engines.
But then web evolved further and we had social networking sites and social book marking sites. Social networks are a rage, anyone would testify to this fact. Millions of users around the world visit orkut, facebook, myspace. Just imagine the kind of ready audience available at these platforms. I strongly feel in near future marketing on social forums would be a prime method of marketing and not just an option. Webmasters and business owners should concentrate on putting quality content on their websites, which is appealing to the audience and warrants attention and repeat visits. And then having done that, put efforts to devise sustained market campaigns on these forums with equal vigor as they do in their offline marketing campaigns currently. And this especially will benefit to service providers who are ready for customers from a global marketplace.
And who knows if search engines start indexing and searching social network pages in near future, the marketing capabilities on these networks will rise exponentially