A recent post by Randy Brown of Grownupgeek was some food for thought in light of Google’s recent developments with their “seo killing” Panda update (see highly relevant image below) and the addition of the Google +1 tool.
As Randy mentioned, the idea that Google has been slowly killing off SEO so that websites rank based on factors that are more outwith a webmasters control (i.e. bounce rate etc) has been a controversial topic in webmaster circles for years.
Google can never completely kill off SEO (the White hat part anyway) because SEO techniques just happen to be the same techniques that determine how well a visitor likes your website, something a webmaster will always be in control of and something that will always determine how popular your website is. For example, providing good quality content along with a good navigation system so that users might be recommended highly relevant posts will both reduce bounce rate and increase the time visitors spend on your site. Similarly, good quality original content provided with a list of related links does wonders for your pages SEO.
If anything, Google are simply further purifying the field of SEO (which they’ve done a fantastic job of so far) to root out the crap and base things more on good quality content, which goes hand in hand with the saying that content is king.
If you write original, quality content and always put your users needs first, the Google gods will always be on your side.