OK. I guess it could be labeled as one, under the right circumstances, but for all practical purposes, its an industry that sells dreams, dreams of search engine rankings and money to boot.
Does SEO work? Well sure it does boys and girls, SEO does indeed work.
But understand that SEO alone is NOT what makes your business money.
Somewhere in time, somewhere shortly after Google emerged as the indexing/aggregating juggernaut that we all know it to be today, we all fell in love with the idea of having great Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings.
It Was A Romance Like No Other
(Side Note/SEO Tip: The heading tag immediately preceding this side note is a perfect example of a useless heading tag due to its lack of semantic relevance. See here: Heading Elements and the Folly of SEO Expert Ranking Lists)
All we had to do was launch a website or webpage, do a little keyword research, slap that keyword in the title tag and a few times in the content, drop a few high-quality anchor-text-relative, do-follow, deep links pointing in that direction and BAM…EUPHORIA…ahhh…the rankings…the money…ohh its all so wonderful (orchestra playing in background).
SNAP! SNAP! WAKE UP! LOL! (music stops playing)
SEO Ain’t No Magic Bullet!
Now, I’m not saying that it is not a bullet at all. It is a bullet. I have and have watched people do amazing things with it, but be fore-warned, it is, believe it or not, one of the later steps in the whole process.
So why are we so addicted to SEO? Well, like most things, its sold to us as this big end-all, be-all and promises us the world at the same time.
Again. It works, but not like you’re led to believe that it works, at least not on the average.
So What Does Work? What Has SEO Become?
I’ll tell you what works. What works is what was working BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER Google came on to the scene and inadvertently skewed the informational relay…writing for people.
Now, of course, this doesn’t mean that ANY article you sit down and write “from the heart” and with a “tear in your eye” can fulfill the same promises that SEOs currently make, but sitting down and writing from the heart about a subject that you are passionate about is a great start.
My SEO Of Old
My SEO of old was kind of a compilation of all of the bad advice that you will get in any SEO or Internet Marekting forum…
1 ) Keyword Research: I would look for “buying” keywords with highly exact match monthly searches and potentially low competition. KEYWORDS, BABY! YEAH!
2 ) Content Generation: I would sit down and force myself to write an article about this subject making sure that an exact match of that keyword was in the title and sprinkled throughout the body. After all, CONTENT IS KING, BABY!!! WOO-HOO!!!
3 ) Publish and Re-Publish: I would then publish it to my site and then to other sites linking back to the original with a source link. I BLANKET THE WEB WITH MY CRAP!
4 ) Analyze: I would then stand back, only to realize that my junk doesn’t convert, because, well, it was junk, well-SEO’d junk. THANKS SEO. YOU JUST WASTED MY LIFE AWAY!!! ARGGGHHH!!!
My SEO Today
My SEO today, and by today I mean as of this month being that search engine algorithms change so fast that we may as well be measuring months in years, is QUITE DIFFERENT as you will see in the following breakdown detailing what I do now:
1 ) Keyword Research: Now, I don’t let Google tell me what to write about, I use my own senses in addition to search engines, social media, news and everything else as a means of making a composite determination of what is actually hot right now.
2 ) Content Generation: I write articles with the idea of appealing to the people that I think would be genuinely interested in that subject. I really, really want to avoid just writing spider food for Google bot. Any time I have done that it was just all garbage, just garbage, non converting garbage, that sounded like it was written by someone with a gun pointed at them. BLAH!
3 ) Publish: I publish the article on my site and let it soak. Of course, I do blast it to my newsletter and allow people to republish it if they wish, but in terms of off-site SEO, I do ALMOST NONE now. Yeah, you read that correctly. Off-Site SEO SUCKS and is for the birds. It really doesn’t benefit you that much and neither will great SERP rankings if your content can’t convert the visitors.
4 ) Analyze: After my content has soaked, I crack open my Statcounter.com “Recent Keyword Activity” metrics and start sorting through data that is an absolute SEO GOLDMINE. You can, actually get this info from your Google Webmasters account, but it is much, much slower.
I Secretly Hate SEO
I actually only started following my new “LESS-IS-MORE” approach recently, like, as of 2012, and the difference is night and day. Even though my website sports the name “TBB SEO NEWSLETTER” I have learned that SEO is really just a tool that helps you to do two things:
1 ) It helps you generate targeted leads that you better darn well hold on to when they stop by.
2 ) It helps your FREAKING AWESOME CONTENT out-rank other peoples FREAKING AWESOME CONTENT. So you have to have FREAKING AWESOME CONTENT. Disclaimer: Occasionally someone without FREAKING AWESOME CONTENT will rise in the SERP results and enjoy a top spot, but rest assured, they won’t stay there long and won’t be happy with the conversion rates they had during their honeymoon period, right before they drop like a rock out of site never to return. LOL! Side Note: I bet this post eventually ranks handily for the keyword: FREAKING AWESOME CONTENT.
So What’s The Bottom Line Here? What Are We Getting At? What’s The Takeaway?
The takeaway is this. I honestly believe that SEO’s days are numbered. 2011 gave it a seemingly unrecoverable gut shot. And you know what? I’m totally OK with that. I hate SEO. Sure, it will never go away completely. Because, truth be told, if humans write search engine algorithms, humans will be able to reverse engineer them. But the idea of not having to worry about it as much is an idea that attracts me.
Returning to the old days where writers focused on writing and didn’t have to worry about SEO is a great thing. Focusing on writing real content, copy-writing that converts, and detecting buzz surrounding the real keywords that aren’t on the radar yet. THAT’S WHEN TO STRIKE! As far as SEO goes, what you can get away with is definitely getting narrower in terms of outranking your competitors FREAKING AWESOME CONTENT with your FREAKING AWESOME CONTENT.