Is SEO dead or are people mixing up the definition? Is SEO a process or result?
If SEO is the result of getting content like video and website higher in search results than SEO is still alive. But if it is defined by how we get that content to the top than SEO is dead. So when people say SEO is dead are we mixing up what Search Engine Optimization really is? SEO is evolving and changing but does that mean its gone?
SEO is no longer a set of tips and tricks to get your site noticed. Google and others have made content consumption into a science, understanding not only the relationship between concepts, but also the meaning. As a result, the best practices for SEO and for your readers are now one and the same, since people looking for your content and Google essentially want the same thing.
This relates to site structure (following proper weighting of H tags) as well as things like sitemaps and Robot.txt files. It also relates to things like backlinks which can provide validity to your site, especially if you have links on partner or trusted sites (.gov is very trusted, for example).
So I agree, SEO is evolving and changing, but I suspect people are using search engines more and more every day, a clear sign that SEO is alive and kicking.
Every time I hear "SEO" from someone, it is used to describe the process, not the result. The usual toolset is
1) Site content optimization - pretty alive, and even works better, as the "put all keywords you can in bold on your page" way doesn't work now
2) Using context ads for getting in the paid sections of search engine results - still effective
3) Search engine-specific hacks and buying many links to create sort of fake popularity - more or less dead
So I'll say that SEO as "bunch of magic hacks that get me in the top" is dead. SEO as part of marketing strategy for the website is alive.