hdchSEO and digital marketing isn’t a whimsical, idyllic, heavenly park where everyone is dancing around on clouds and wearing white hats preaching “Just write good content!  Share it on social…ENGAGE…and everything is going to be OKKKK!!!”

I’m sure that’s what your competitors want you to believe that have been ahead of you for a long time,  grinning from up top.  “Go ahead, we’d be more than happy if you continued doing that”.

Now I’m not saying that you have to break the rules (though in some industries you’re certainly going to have to bend them due to level of competition) but if everyone is subscribing to the same ideas, same protocol, same principles of SEO…what makes you special online whatsoever?  We’re not going to go over the obvious…ahem…DUMB things SEOs says like “Traffic is the single most important thing in the world” and “All you gotta do is engage your audience” because honestly anyone reading the beginner’s guide to SEO can tote these scruples after reading the first 3 chapters of Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO (which we actually have interns read as a good overview so no disrespect there).  But let’s do some venting, one scathing SEO adage at a time:

“Write for People, Not Robots”

Just one of those things that gets tossed round and round and seems to give an air of keen SEO insight.  Sure, the days of keyword cloaking and stuffing are long gone (or is it?) but are there ways that keywords still work?  Are LSI and keyword density still a part of the construction of a nice, fine-tuned SEO page?  I’d say so.  Writing naturally is definitely a great start to putting the page together, but there are arguably so many factors to what is considered a solid page from an SEO standpoint:  keyword position (above the fold if the whole page isn’t crawled?), proximity of keywords, variations of the keyword in relation to LSI goals of the website and in tandem to the meta title and description, usage of H tags (though the weight here seems to have diminished over the past few years), complexity of the writing itself which I’ve discussed with some SEOs to have an impact…the list goes on enough for a separate blog.  So while I agree you don’t write a blog for Spider #1348 to reply with “C#(JD####”, you also have to shift focus on what is really going to rank your content after you’re done writing for your potential clients.

“Buying Links is Black Hat.  You Have to Get Them Naturally”

This one is great.  First of all I can’t even begin to tell you how many marketing businesses try to pull off the idea of giving you links through other means is natural, such as one company I spoke with that said “we’ll write 8 articles a month and feature them on our website, which is highly trusted by Google”.  When questioned about what “highly trusted” meant, he had mentioned in so many words that it was because it was reputable and trusted by Google because “it was an older site and respected”.  I really do dig that un-quantifiable “respect” component of the Google algorithm.

Google: Man cool site.  I really respect what you have going on here.  Bonus points.

Buying links is buying links – there isn’t any way around it.  And there’s no reason not to think that you can’t compete in a lot of markets with minimal link building (perhaps most from directories, and some from a few friends/fellow business owner websites to give you a nudge in the right direction) but any way you look at it, link building is just as important as content creation which can be corroborated by so much data I will eventually put together it is mind-numbing.  If you want a great guide on link building if you have the time to dive into it yourself, check out this link by Point Blank SEO.  It is basically insane.  And check out the irony in this whole statement – he earned a link naturally by putting together and extremely extensive and useful guide. Pretty funny how that came full circle.

No matter how clever you are, you can construe the idea of spending any amount of money to earn a link as black hat.

“You Want to Engage Your Audience”

Your small business with 30 Facebook fans and 14 Twitter followers is going to “engage” an audience?  How can a statement be any more vague than this, though it is thrown around as much as YOLO among the tweens of a year or two ago.  Give them what they want! How do you know what they want?  Make your content and message interest!  How do I even begin to gauge that?

You’re starting to catch my drift – vague marketing advice doesn’t go anywhere.   This is why digital marketing can be very calculated and technical.  An example of calculated, technical work was featured in a blog I did not too long ago about figuring out what people really like by simply finding out through an unbiased, paid online survey about what they really like.  I don’t know how to get more straight forward than that.  A/B testing comes to mind but if you don’t have hundreds of visitors a day and a close eye on analytics, it is going to take you a while to compile a lot of potentially unreliable data.  Engaging an audience takes a combination of working alongside people in the industry for a pretty long time along with concrete data you can work with.  Your 30 Facebook fans consisting of 7 family members, 15 friends, and 8 repeat customers isn’t going to be a whole lot of help.

Again, if you keep recycling SEO one-liners in your head when you approach this type of marketing, your competition is going to be sitting pretty on top until the end of time.  If you want to really start moving the ball on your online presence both socially and organically, it is either going to take some time to learn the trade or take working with someone that knows all the in’s and out’s.

Have any other dreamy SEO lines that make you shudder with rage?  Go ahead and drop a line – we’ll talk about it.