Sorry, folks. If you were working in SEO, your career is over. Just ask Tadeusz Szewczyk, who guest posted on Google Blogoscoped earlier this week:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as we know and detest it is obsolete in this day and age. When some while ago Philipp asked me to write an article “How do I optimize websites” I couldn’t do it: The way SEO works in Germany on Google.de can not really work for international websites in English. Moreover nowadays you do not need conventional SEO tactics to have success on the Net or in Google. In order to make a site succeed in these times you have to forget everything you know about on page optimization and link building first.
Now we can start our ten step guide to Google and traffic heaven.
His advice on what to do instead of SEO to promote your website is pretty solid—but man, it sure walks like SEO and quacks like SEO.
- Discover your niche—”Be different, choose a topic or product that not everybody else already covers or sells. Discovering it is not to be confused with ‘keyword research’ as in conventional SEO. You try to introduce a new niche not just obeying the Google users['] demands.”
- Use WordPress—That’s WordPress. “Instead of ‘on page optimization’ you can install WordPress that is search engine friendly out of the box.” Well, don’t tell the large number of SEO bloggers on WordPress who’ve done posts, series, vidcasts and more on making WordPress SEO-compliant.
- Create a killer CSS design and submit it to CSS galleries—”Traditional SEO is all about link building or getting links. Sites doing SEO often look crappy. These days people link web sites that look great just for the sake of the design.”
- Allow trackbacks, use dofollow
- Socialize, write comments and link other blogs
- Include social media on your site, use social media yourself
- Write your own content, say something new, express yourself
- Compile what you know or what others said and publish it—”If everything was said and done already in a particular case, compile it and create a list. Top list are the best solutions…”
- Contribute to your favorite online publications—”Most publishers will link to your site.”
- Add new content at least every second day
On one pass through, it’s easy to accept this advice as materially different from SEO, especially with the care that Tadeusz has taken to point out the differences between SEO and his advice.
But the more I read this (as it was reblogged), the more I started recognizing some of these techniques as fairly standard SEO practices today. In Tadeusz’s defense, perhaps optimizing for Google.de is unlike what is currently required to optimize for Google.com, but here’s my take on his tips:
- If you don’t have a niche, are you sure you have a website?
If your website, blog or business doesn’t have a niche, that’s a more fundamental failing than marketing problem. It’s definitely step 1. But why limit yourself by not doing any keyword research? If you want to blog about crane flies (gross), shouldn’t you somehow find out that they’re also called mosquito hawks, mosquito eaters (or skeeter eaters), gallinippers, gollywhoppers, and jimmy spinners?
- Tweak WordPress to make it more SE friendly
Yes, use WordPress if it makes sense for your site. But at the minimum, do something to enhance its search engine optimization—SEO Title Tag and Add Meta Tags plugins enable you to customize various settings. Why pass up the chance to control your snippet on the Google SERP?
- Over here, CSS is SEO
Okay, this is debatable, but lots of SEOs will tell you that CSS is the preferred SEO design method (specifically external CSS). And most of the time, a crappy-looking site that hires a professional SEO will get a redesign. Usually, a killer design can only increase your linkability. Submitting your CSS design to galleries to get more links back to your site is also just another example of link recruitment, which, again, is pretty old school SEO.
- Get links, give links
- Promote your site/business and your brand and get links, give links
Pretty much SEO 1.0 to do something to draw attention to your site from other sites. One of the most popular ways: link to a site, get the site owner’s attention.
SMO isn’t perfectly equivalent with SEO, but really, where do you think the idea to heavily promote your site using social media came from? Diggers?
- Avoid duplicate content/don’t plagiarize and create lots of original content
Technically, I usually tell clients something about “keyword-rich original content designed to be attractive to visitors and search engines,” but if you selected a niche up in #1, at least you have some sort of keywords that you’re using (even if you’re absolutely not allowed to look at how other people articulate those concepts).
- One word: linkbait.
Of course it works. I linked, didn’t I?
- Become an authority/promote your site on other sites and recruit links
- Create original content and update regularly
While many of these tips aren’t directly on-point as current SEO techniques, I think most people offering holistic SEO services will at least address everything he mentioned.
The bottom line? Why avoid the established principles of search engine friendly and search engine optimized sites? If there’s something that can help make your blog, site or business rank better, trying to prove a point by not using the technique is shooting yourself in the foot. I’m not trying to dismiss Tadeusz’s sound advice—but I would like people to recognize that SEO isn’t just keyword research and comment spam.