The 2014 SEO State of the Union

seo“It [Facebook] won’t be finished. The way fashion is never finished.” 

Do you remember this line from the movie, The Social Network, in which Mark Zuckerberg/Jesse Eisenberg describes his vision for his new company? Well, SEO – like Facebook and fashion – should constantly evolve. It doesn’t die, or expire. It evolves, like all things, in order to keep up.

SEO used to be about going down a checklist of technical and tactical “to do’s.” Now, it’s about integrating SEO best practices into an overall marketing strategy.

“With great power comes great responsibility.” 

Okay, I’m not comparing Google to Spiderman. But aren’t you glad that the spammers who flood our inboxes with promises of “first page SEO rankings” are methodically being eliminated? Aren’t you glad that you do NOT have to pay for 100 guest blogs every month just because your competitor is? That Google is taking it upon themselves to police this kind of activity?

Because Google changes its algorithms constantly to keep ahead of what it deems to be manipulative tactics, an unfortunate side effect is that business owners and marketers are so confused about what to do they experience paralysis by analysis.

Here is my take on what unsustainable SEO means:

  • Anything that’s easy (like posting to article directories all day)
  • Anything not earned (100 guest blog posts/month with a link back)
  • An abundance of unnatural anchor text (“best SEO consultant atlanta”)
  • Anything that’s scalable (ridiculous overuse of footer links)
  • Anything that can be bought on Fiverr (500 Facebook fans, anyone?) 

For a full list of tactics that Google says violates its link guidelines see this resource here:

“Doing SEO without doing tricks is hard freaking work.” 

I love this quote from Ruth Burr, and this entire post from Moz comparing cheap SEO tactics with cheap weight loss tactics that just aren’t sustainable in the long wrong.

Wondering what tactics will always work for SEO? Here are my top 5 recommendations for SEO to-do’s that will never go out of style:

  1. Keyword Research: find the terms people use to search for your products and services. Then be practical using those specific words on your website pages so people can find you and learn how awesome you are.
  2. Technical SEO: be proud of your website – fix the broken stuff, remove duplicate content, make it faster, and for goodness sakes people – make it look pretty. 
  3. SEO Copywriting: have quality copy on your site that 1) addresses reader pain points, 2) provides compelling reasons to use your business and buy your products, and 3) includes clear calls to action. After all, SEO is not solely about rankings – it’s also about conversions. 
  4. SEO Blogging and/or Content Creation: Create relevant, helpful and fresh content on a constant basis that is designed to educate customers and encourage them to share your information.
  5. Linkbuilding: Don’t save all your best stuff for your site; you have to get out there and educate prospects who don’t know who you are yet. Build relationships with real site owners and bloggers. Then don’t forget to link back (or ask for a link back) to your website so people can find you. If you don’t get the link, that’s fine too, but it never hurts to ask.

What’s your favorite SEO best practice? Let us know in the comments below.


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Jenny Munn

Jenny is an independent Digital Marketer and SEO Consultant with more than 10 years of experience helping companies and content creators generate brand awareness, traffic, and conversions with SEO. She is a frequent speaker and is on the faculty for the AMA (American Marketing Association) and has taught SEO to thousands of marketers over the past 10 years.

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