Can we please finally stop putting our energy into SEO? Please?

Will Apple’s Siri be the end of local SEO, as predicted by a recent article in Entrepreneur? I’ve always thought of investing in SEO, rather than quality content, as a rather short-sighted tactic for both small and large businesses.

Let’s take it to the extreme to show why: on one hand, you have Associated Content, the Yahoo-driven pantheon of “articles-seemingly-written-by-drunk-middle-schoolers.” On the other extreme, you’ve got Google. They both started as simple search engines, but now their business models are the real-life equivalent of Yahoo’s Wile E. Coyote trying to outsmart Google’s the Road Runner through any means possible.

As we saw from Google’s recent algorithm update, Panda, a lot of the websites that got penalized were ones that seemed to put all of their money in SEO rather than producing quality content.

Yes, quality content. There’s no shortcut for the kind of content that’s likely to get passed on to friends, recommended on a variety of forums and review sites, linked to on other quality websites, commented on, and withstand the test of algorithm updates.

There are loads of other ways to find content than the first page of Google results. In fact, depending on what kind of content I’m looking for, Google usually comes after searching Twitter, Delicious, Pinboard, my own bookmarks, Yelp, Metafilter, or any of my other trusted, curated sources of info. Even in the future, when we shift from social to data-driven information, which Reid Hoffman estimates will be the web’s next adhesive, good quality content will continue to pierce through all of those filters.