It’s 2017 & I’m Still Seeing “SEO is Crap” Discussions…

Angry face art“The world is on fire,” the mighty Ed Harcourt recently sung.

2017 has begun, swirling from 2016’s turbulent aftermath of Trumps and Brexits – and yet here I am, publishing my first post of the year nitpicking about what someone said about SEO.

“In the name of SEO”

I regularly check and contribute to the Cardiff Start Facebook group, and got a little excited when I saw someone asking for advice on content marketing. While I didn’t contribute myself, SEO got mentioned – although in a way that got my back up a bit:

Cardiff Start FB group comment screenshot
Mike offers some great advice – the only problem is that very first line. The pertinent text (with emphasis added):

“First. Prioritise quality over quantity – pumping out volumes of crap in the name of SEO helps nobody – times have changed.”

Aside from one other teeny-tiny mention, this was the only mention of SEO in the whole thread. A whole thread about content marketing and SEO is seen as the bad bit. “Don’t do it” is essentially what’s being recommended.

I’d usually roll my eyes at comments like this – like I’ve done so many times in the past – but my concern here was that people who are new to content marketing may be new to SEO, too. And now their whole experience of something that could be so crucially beneficial to their website/their business/their livelihood has been tainted. Also, a few people Liked it, suggesting agreement.

So what’s the alternative? Later on, Mike goes on to say that content should provide three things:

a. build trust with existing and potential customers
b. develop your own unique, tailored, audience
c. create demand for your service or product with that audience

Here’s a question for you: why can’t content fulfil that criteria and have an SEO focus?

SEO doesn’t have to be a dirty word

One of my clients has done insanely well creating content with a bit of an SEO focus. With my help, he’s grown his blog from 30 organic search visits a month to 10,000+. That’s an increase of over 300x – in other words, 300 times more people are visiting his website through search engines (through SEO) than they were previously.

So, is he “pumping out volumes of crap” in order to do this? Is that the secret? No. He’s writing good quality content, which helps to build trust with existing and potential customers, that’s unique and tailored to the audience, and that helps to create demand for his service with that audience. Hey, does that sentence seem familiar? Look up a couple of paragraphs.

The only difference? He’s also mindful of what keywords to target – keyword research showed that certain topics had high volume/popularity but also low competition (you can read about my process on how to identify these opportunities here). So he wrote good quality content – something he was planning to do anyway – but was mindful of SEO in the process.

Let me ask you: how many visits would he have gotten if he’d just written good quality content without paying attention to SEO? It probably wouldn’t be 10,000+ per month, that’s for sure.

In fact, why don’t we go ahead and re-work that phrase from above?

“First. Prioritise quality over quantity – pumping out volumes of crap helps nobody – times have changed.”

Why does SEO even need to be mentioned? Surely pumping out crap – whether in the name of SEO or something else – is a bad idea? Surely that’s common sense?

“Times have changed”

If people naïvely want to continue to believe that SEO is bad – even in 2017 – then so be it. My clients and I will prove them wrong – and mop up the benefits in the meantime.

Hopefully by 2018 those people will have finally changed their minds and seen the light.

Oh, Happy New Year by the way.

[Angry person art image credit – Alvaro Tapla]

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