IonSearch presentation 2013 – BBC, big businesses and the need for SEO

As recently as December last year the the co-founder of a design agency made the comment in SmashingMagazine – I am not linking to it, as to me it is far too negative on SEO – which already receives unfair bad press.

“…any reasonably well-built website will be accessible to Google. You don’t need an expert SEO company for that (at least not if the Web designer does their job right)…”

Paul  is half right, a well built website, created by someone who uses contemporary best practice and put on good quality content, it will get traffic. However IonSearch 2013 has taught us that SEO more than ever is as complex and dangerous as it has ever been.

Best practice

Take for instance the BBC – initially the CMS behind the news website also supported ceefax, the tv screen and the webpage are two critically different systems – as such the title length needed to be adapted, longer for webpages to maximise clickthrough from the SERPs

The wheel of hunger

More recently smart research which demonstrates what content marketing really is has been done, researching when and how people look for content – I have seen more recent examples where an agency has taken a specific sport to look deeper into this. – the hunger wheel represents a clear and intelligent content strategy. 

I hate content marketing (the phrase)

I posted a slide in my talk about my feelings on ‘Content Marketing’ if the word content, or marketing should be used instead of the buzz word phrase, please do – if content marketing is tacking on additional content that isn’t core to the brand or experience in the belief that this will improve Google rankings, its not.

If all content marketing is, is posting more high quality unique content on a website – it isn’t, but if it was, that would be something that has been central to SEO for many years, years before the buzz word phrase content marketing, that said if you include video, podcasts, downloads, whitepapers, apis, cro, ux as well as SEO, social and PR – then content marketing is pretty cool – but just like Big Data – the phrase will rapidly lose its street cred if it carries on being abused, if I am honest, I think it already has, if I hear the phrase CM – I tend to switch off.

Risk management

An SEO guy does more than improving and general “SEO tasks” – he also should be the guy that stops the PR guy from buying several hundred advertorials, the guy who knows why the widget that is being developed could get the site banned and really gets the 50 shades of grey that exist within the Google rules.

In the past I have worked with banks and supermarkets, and the silo approach that many of these big organisations have, bring a huge amount of risk, so if one team lets say a creditcard team within a major bank a shadey SEO agency, this can backfire not just on this slio within the corporate website, but on the whole domain – and whilst these things can sometimes be fixed quickly, there are way too many examples where this isn’t. Building dodgy backlinks is quite cheap, removing them nowadays isn’t. If your employing a “webdesign” agency who outsources the link building to another guy (or buys the gold link building package), well frankly, by the time the ripples have been felt through the organisations website, it could be described as the SEO Centipede…

It happened more often than most people realise that I saw a major business considering a proposal from what can only be described as a blackhat link schema – that back then was risky but today would be SEO suicide!

If your web designer has the time to study and keep upto date with every intricacy of Google guidelines, Facebooks open graph, and countless other developments and enhancements in the market, you are unusually lucky – but typically this specialism falls to an SEO guy. Not an “inbound marketer” or a “Growth hacker” – if I want someone who can correctly, technically tell me how to implement hreflang, well I will be going to an SEO agency.

Nowadays an SEO guy also knows how to hack data together – often with the help of an analytics guy (me!) he can pull data from sources and figure out what isn’t working for your site.

If you have a decent amount of traffic from Google – keeping it is important and for this reason I strongly recommend employing someone who gets Google rules, if only to advise you of the risks.

SEO has to be ingrained into the business of any content writers, whether they are journalists, bloggers or even social ‘gurus’ it is important that SEO is considered.

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1 Response

  1. Montse Cano says:

    What I don’t understand is why people like going to the extremes. Is it lack of knowledge of other areas? I like integrating every single necessary aspect to achieve a good result.

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