SEO is Dead

There has been a lot of navel gazing within the SEO industry this year.

You couldn’t move without someone numpty publishing an SEO is Dead post

This is mostly because the landscape has changed. The way Google ranks its results has changed. What was working within the SEO industry was not aligned with what Google wanted.

A number of techniques that only recently worked very well to get a website ranked in Google no longer works, although it’s interesting to note that quite a number of people and seo agencies are working in an outmoded fashion.

We already know this and many bytes of blog posts have been crunched to bring us that news, again and again.

The old way of working is mostly dead

I say mostly dead as there are exceptions, the old way of doing things still works for those who have built a machine with processes that are efficient enough to dodge the Google hit squad.

We even see that dodgy widget links still work and even work for Google themselves, whilst preaching it is a sin and will send you to ranking hell. Blackhat still works, but the probability of being crushed is way to high.

The point being, that if you want to build a decent, medium to long term business that delivers an effective you need a new way of doing things.

The methodology of SEO has mostly been about busting the algo, backward engineering how the Google machine works, identifying weak spots and then drilling into those spots. It’s a methodology that requires a specific mindset, a somewhat technical ability and a super hero ability to wield Excel spreadsheets without having to wear underpants on the outside.

This mindset is still needed, it’s simply no longer the killer it used to be.

Vomiting the long tail onto your title tags not longer emits the sweet odour it once did. Even hardcore, outsourced to tropical countries, manic article creation no longer works, and also industrial guest posting is liable to send your website down the toilet.

Interesting thing is, a lot of websites still employ these tactics.

It’s interesting, because it means that those working the “new way of thinking”, are going to be those who will win.

So what is the new way of thinking?

Well it’s actually quite simple and it’s something I have been preaching for years, so it’s not like I am revealing a huge secret.

The New Way of Thinking is:

You Publish for People.

Which has actually been working for thousands of years, it’s only recently we have been formatting our communicative output for the Google robot.

And yes this does include social media an mobile, but it’s more than that, it’s about taking the news and creating fresh content around it. Google is not the only thing that likes fresh, people like it too. People like to experience content that is aligned with what is currently on their mind.

No longer should you be chasing the algo, you should be chasing people.

P.S. Apologies for the headline, I couldn’t resist.

Olga Kurylenko and Tom Cruise Open Ice Cream Factory in Cornwall

This is another ranking test.

The last one I did was yesterday, and strangely has not ranked.

The keyword phrase was a heavily duped phrase that has been scraped from Amazon by the affiliate addicts.

What is interesting is that the phrase “DuroStar DS4000S 4,000 Watt 7.0 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas Powered Portable Generator”, has not been ranked at all. Not only that but the body text also has not ranking.

It also does not seem to be indexed. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for this as yet, further investigations needed.

The reason I want to make the headline above is that Olga Kurylenko and Tom Cruise are releasing a film this week and I want to see how topicality effects the ranking potential with relation to this blog. Obviously there are many variables at play here, but by conduction these little tests on an aged blog such as this builds knowledge about the subject.

I am not thinking that we will definitely be uncovering specific answers here to the whole ranking question, more that we want to make sure we are pointing in the right direction.

I also chose a unique headline. Nothing is coming up for an exact match search. And I want to make sure we at least rank for this, as I am wondering if the last ranking fail was to do with the fact it’s an Amazon product keyword string.

More on this later.

This is later, about 5 mins later

Bang! It’s already indexed and ranking for exact match “Olga Kurylenko and Tom Cruise Open Ice Cream Factory in Cornwall”

Also the broad match is ranking #1, Olga Kurylenko and Tom Cruise Open Ice Cream Factory in Cornwall.

I am using a clean browser to conduct these searches and am not logged in to G+ or searched for this term previously.

More Later (15 mins)

The page does not rank for “Olga Kurylenko and Tom Cruise”, but ranks on page three for “Olga Kurylenko and Tom Cruise open”

Which of course is interesting and gives us a little more insight into how you should be crafting headlines for the maximum effect in Google.

You must understand the power of your website in relation to its ability to rank unique terms. Adding the word “open” gets me on the third page, however that’s not going to bring any traffic as no one will search for that. However, if you added a term that is contextually correct to the narrative and may be searched for like “kissed”, affair”, “engaged etc. then this would increase the traffic,

If this blog was a celebrity blog I would pump out a few posts around this news event. Trying to find the most optimised headline which was attractive, had a worthwhile search quotient and was contextually correct.

We also learn that you don’t need to get external links to a post if on a blog that has enough link equity.

However, the previous test to this was interesting as it did not rank. Leading me to ask, what would get a keyword phrase like that to rank. Is it as simple as a few links, and who powerful should those links be?

This test raises more questions than it answers, and I invite of your thoughts on this.

Hold the boat!

I now rank at 14 for “DuroStar DS4000S 4,000 Watt 7.0 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas Powered Portable Generator”.

Which is a very tasty bit of data.

It took 21 hours to rank.
Ranked 30 mins after this post was published, which contains a link to it.

Is this simply a ping issue and getting to the Googlebot to visit, probably. But there are a number of other factors at play which we do not know. What is the impact of a heavily duped headline, that is out of context to the blog?
Would there have been a different outcome if the headline had been contextual to the category that the blog operates in?
What is this post had also been a duped headline?
What effect has Twitter had on this outcome?

It’s impossible to know what has exactly caused these results, we can only guess based on the rather limited data. My suggestion is to do your own tests and share. The more data we get the more informed we are.

Also, using the Seomoz Google US (non-personalized), tool I rank on the 3rd page of Google.

DuroStar DS4000S 4,000 Watt 7.0 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas Powered Portable Generator

Don’t worry, I haven’t been hacked.

This is an ranking test.

I want to see what will happen to the keyword string ” DuroStar DS4000S 4,000 Watt 7.0 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas Powered Portable Generator” if I simply post it in the title tag and as an H1. It will also get linked to internally, by WP.

The product is an American one and this site mostly ranks in the UK.

Right now Amazon ranks for this petrol, or rather gas powered genny.

It’s a huge fit ranking for such long tail term as Amazon gets scrapped mopre than a 30 year old gorgonzola, You tend to think long tail is easy, but only if the long tail phrase is unique and gets search for enough times to make it worth while.

Of course outranking Amazon in an exact is pretty easy to do. But it’s always useful doing these tests as it gives you a fixed point of data.

Search for the phrase and see if this post turns up.

I miss those keyword contests we used to have back in the old days.

The SEO Pond is Scumming up

Something beyond the hyperbole just happened in SEO.

But you knew that right.

Pushing SEO is like pushing a giant flaming marshmellow through a cage full of marmuts, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

The focus is obviously on content, but it’s not.

The focus is on people, that’s why you do this stuff for anyway isn’t it.

People to buy your stuff.

Well isn’t it?

Too much talk about content and not enough about delivering emotional experiences.

I am guilty as anyone else, “content” is short hand, it’s lazy. And we all love to be lazy.

Even you.

I have realised this for a few years, but still help a toe in the seo pond, even though it is increasingly scumming over, now there are dead fish floating on the surface it may be time to move 100% to a publishing model.

Publishing what?

Publishing “content”, duh!

It’s really just publishing though isn’t it. The content bit is redundant.

Linkbaiting is now even more important. The type of links you need are the type of links real people need.

Cool.

So, time to leave SEO and head off into the sunset.

SEO techniques – Sun Tzu and Josiah Wedgewood

What the hell has your Granny’s china collection got to do with you trying to rank for “kitchen cabinets”.

A lot of my seo pals are into Sun Tzu who wrote a book called The Art of War, it’s a collection of the Chinese Generals thoughts on war and battle. It’s quite short and can be quoted on seo forums to possibly increase the perception of your knowledge and power. It’s not good for pulling chicks in coffee shops though, for that you need Hemmingway or Kerouac.

But this isn’t a blog post about picking up chicks in coffee shops so lets focus.

The Chinese military commander, born in 544BC came out with lines such as this.

Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.

For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

As is quite apparent, his wisdom can successfully be applied to the implementation of not only seo but business and warfare in general. I’ve not actually read a blog post matching up his thoughts with ideas about seo tactics and strategy, it would be interesting though.

But, who I really want to talk about is the guy that enabled your Granny to have the china collection. Josiah Wedgewood.

Here is a quote from makingthemodernworld.org.uk

The founding of Wedgwood’s Etruria manufactory in 1769 saw him applying a high degree of work specialisation. Manufacturing was divided between ‘useful’ and ‘ornamental’ wares. Products passed from one specialist worker to another, each completing a small part of the overall production process. This improved quality and the dexterity of the craftsmen and also saved time.
Wedgwood divided work between design and production.

Before Wedgewood, stuff would be made by one or two craftsman from start to finished. This means the craftsmen cannot specialise, but must know all parts of the process. Wedgewood invented the modern factory line. One person, a specialist in one thing, would do that thing very well to a product and pass it along to the next specialist.

Seems a no brainer, as you then have the best talent working on all elements of the process.

He then got celebrity endorsement from the Queen for his line of China bits and pieces and made a fortune. Which is very interesting when you look at the seo tool market and how that works.

I encourage you to read up on the guy, there is lots to learn if you are interested in scaling it big and bad. Of course there is stuff that Sun Tzu can teach, but it’s a mistake to fall back on tactics everyone else is using. Best to suck in the juice from multiple sources.

So lets talk SEO.

With onpage seo you can basically get a monkey to do it. Or what in the seo business are called “interns”.

The part of seo that really matters is called “link building“. And this is where Josiah Wedgewood comes in. Because link building is not about art, it’s about the process. It’s about being able to implement a creative technique in a factory setting. In other words you need to grind it out, as fast as possible and at a consistent quality level. Being able to scale up and the flick of a mouse click when demand requires.

Having a seo production line means you can employ talent best suited to the individual task. Ensuring the best product possible is being produced and also at the required quantity.

Clever implementation of technology enables the individual to earn a crust online, but employing a team who are expert in the individual processes means you cannot only own the loaf, but also the bakery too. Leaving the lone blogger to make do with the crumbs.

The process and implementation of seo does not get talked about enough, you mostly get fluff and guesses presented as facts. Whilst you do need your technique tool box to be of the highest quality, you will be crushed if your competitor is using an army of seo factory workers to deploy his mediocre techniques.

Which is annoying, because then you have to pretend be nice to people and develop social skills. But that’s cool, because there are instruction manuals on that to.

When we talk about seo we are really talking link building