By now, we all know that the Penguin and Panda updates were game changers. Techniques that a lot of SEOs and webmasters have been using for years are no longer relevant and can now be detrimental to your ranking. These changes got me thinking about what the role of an SEO is in a post Penguin and Panda world.

It used to be the SEO’s job to optimize the heck out of a site. There were Excel sheets of keywords, navigation and URLs built around those keywords, and H1 tags to match those keywords. With one update from Google, all that work by SEOs is now considered gaming the system (if the optimization is deemed excessive).

In terms of link building, it used to be all about volume. Whereas SEOs used to submit sites to directories, listings, blogs and anywhere else they could get a link, the emphasis going forward will be on finding relevant and meaningful sites to get a link from.

Finding these link opportunities and cultivating relationships with those opportunities is going to take more than the traditional responsibilities of an SEO. The job will need to take on aspects of relationship management, where the communication is ongoing and link partners become a type of customer. These sites might not buy your products, but they’ll be lending your site credibility, traffic and rankings and should be treated as such.

The landscape of SEO is ever-changing. Looking past Penguin and Panda, I see SEO tasks shifting from hyper-optimization and link building to finding and nurturing meaningful relationships, where the end game is a more natural and helpful experience for users.