From creativity to conformity: The dulling down of SEO over two decades

Benoit Lamouche
3 min readJan 4, 2024

I’m talking about a time that those under twenty cannot know…

I have been working in the web industry for over twenty years, I have seen the eras, the fashions, the technologies, the frameworks, and many other things that have made up the evolution of this field over the past two decades.

It Wasn’t Better Before

Far from me is the «it was better before» type of speech, for once, I think that in terms of the web, time has brought a lot of good things to our practices.

Even if I sometimes reminisce with a bit of emotion about the era of HTML layouts based on “table”, or the JavaScript which had the only purpose of making tasteless animations, it can be said that recent evolutions have done a lot of good for this domain.

Except for SEO

It had been a few years since I had really taken an interest in SEO, apart from very distant monitoring.

For the needs of my side project, I had to get back into it and delve deeply into the subject in order to implement it.

SEO has become a sanitized field

My technical background in terms of SEO was correct a few years ago, I obtained very good results in the context of my projects or consulting missions.

The results were the mix of a subtle set of parameters which were sometimes difficult to measure the impact of. But in SEO, as in some other areas, only the result counts.

It has now become complicated, even impossible, to be creative in terms of SEO. Everything is closely monitored, it is relatively easy to obtain very detailed analyses for free for a site or a web page, and unless the application is very poorly designed, it is then relatively simple to implement them.

What next?

Next, depending on the sector you want to position yourself in, it will require either courage, or patience, or money, or all three at once. It’s very difficult to position oneself among the giants who occupy the space, these giants often being themselves consortia of online media that self-sustain.

It seems to me that the ‘tricks’ and other tactics that could work a few years ago are now impossible, thus leaving little room for creativity.

I am sure that specialists in the field can bring opposing arguments, and I am very curious to read them, do not hesitate to write to me or comment on this article.