In terms of results, for as long as on page factors and backlinks (off page factors) are part of the Google Algorithm, SEO will be important. We don’t foresee either of those being replaced by anything else any time soon
What we do see though is:
- As content generators that can produce automated content that reads like it was written by humans, and as fake news grows and spreads, the search engines will start placing more importance on ‘Authority’ sites that have a great reputation of value and truth, and manual reviews. This can be a win, as you can build your site to be one of those authority sites. I believe due to this, the SEO ‘pie’ is consolidating and a larger % will go towards a more ‘approved’ list of sites
- Other forms of digital marketing are growing in importance. No longer should you just focus on SEO as a traffic source, it should make up a spoke in your wheel. Think about how you find things these days. If you looking local, ‘hairdresser near me’ etc. then yes, being in the map pack is vital (and that is done with different SEO strategies than global search terms) but also being in local directories and 3rd party sites like Yelp are important and having a good social score and user generated reviews.
In summary, Digital marketing, is more important than at any other time in history, and it will continue to grow in importance, but SEO alone might be more important than before (pre mass mobile adoption) or less important. It 100% depends on how your business is found. Go where your audience hangs out and where they search for your service.