I don't think they are really catching on to anything other than the latest buzzwords.
Everyone is now a "content marketer" (link builder) focusing on "topics" (groups of keyword permutations) and explaining Google Hummingbird (aka dredging up semantic search myths again).
They are still sending out rogue crawlers to trawl Websites for backlinks and "competitive analysis"; they are still looking for "guest posting" opportunities; they are still plotting social media manipulation. As someone who has done it both ways, I know the difference between formulaic manipulation and honest-to-goodness "publish what you care about" and most of it just rings hollow.
Here is a sample list of recent topics from Search Engine Land:
- 2014 SEO Roadmap: Adopting Semantic Markup
- Hummingbird In The Trenches: A Canary In The Coal Mine
- How Google Plus Profiles & Pages Gain Search Authority
- Should Subject Experience Optimization Be The New Definition Of SEO?
- If Link Building Really Is Dead, What Do We Do Now?
- 3 Ways Competitive Analysis Can Help You Boost Rankings & Get Great Content Ideas
There are certainly plenty of other articles that strike me as being pretty good. In an ever-changing landscape where new technologies, platforms, and features emerge almost every month it's good to see so much analysis and helpful explanations.
But the search for manipulation in search continues because people seem to think optimization
is more about gaining an advantage and less about achieving best possible performance; the two are completely distinct, different concepts.
The optimal strategy and solution may NOT provide you with any advantage over a competitor. To compete is okay. To seek an advantage by finding loopholes in the system, that just sets the environment up for another wave of updates and penalties.
We are maybe halfway through the SERP wars. There's at least another 10-15 years of industry shakeout left to go through.