October 2nd, 2012 § 1 Comment
SEO – It means a lot of things to a lot of people. Ask a room full of SEO’s to describe what they do and you’ll get as many different answers as there are people.
“I make sites rank at the top of Google”
“I handle all the online marketing for my employer”
“It’s mainly about content and links”
You hear a lot of arguments about semantics these days too – “inbound marketing”, anyone? I’ve mentally repositioned myself several times in my career, as the landscape and the demands of my client have changed, and as I’ve learned more about online marketing and how it all comes together. What’s stood out for me though is that for a lot of companies (and therefore a lot of people), SEO has never *really* just been about SEO.
Yes, you can rank for some things with the traditional “build a site and shove links at it” method – you see this a lot with “payday loans” and other lead-gen markets, and high-traffic sectors where people want to rank for adsense clicks. For what you might call (for want of a better word), Real Companies, using the latest tactic to beat Google has never been a terribly good idea.
Once upon a time, you could stuff your meta keywords with things like “Britney Spears’ Knickers” and attract thousands of hits. Then, you could buy a load of anchor-text-rich links for your chosen keyword. Blogrolls and footers became stuffed with paid links. A combination of thin, keyword-rich landing pages helped you to rank for long-tail terms, and buying an exact-match domain gave you a great chance of dominating a particular niche.
Those are all tactics that Google have clamped down on over the last couple of years, most notably with the recent Panda and Penguin updates. Bad news for anyone who relied on them – I bet loads of SEOs have had to fix a “problem” in the last year, something that a few years ago might have been an accepted way to get results.
SEO isn’t about gaming Google any more. It’s about finding an integrated strategy to ensure the growth and longevity of your online brand. There are no shortcuts, no quick fixes, no way to buy your way to the top and stay there. Not anymore.