Two opposing (but equally valid) approaches to SEO

July 8, 2024

I’ve just finished reading a book by a well-known internet marketer whose advice about SEO in 2105 is – forget it. His argument, why put yourself at the mercy of Google’s whims when there are many other ways to market your business, where you have more control over the outcome.

This particular marketer is one of many who have turned their backs on Google organic search after having the rug pulled out from under them one too many times by search engine updates.

His strategy is to use paid advertising (mainly pay-per-click on Google and Facebook) to build an email list. Then follow up those contacts regularly and relentlessly with information and sales pitches. He uses autoresponders and daily emails. It’s a tried and true strategy. And it works. Without having to worry ever again about Google’s algorithms.

On the other hand, I listened to an interview this morning with one of the world’s leading experts on SEO. He outlined what he believes is working in SEO today and what to focus on in future. His advice – SEO is still important but you’ve got to do it right.

The foundation of SEO today – great content

Some SEO geeks have spent their lives trying to reverse engineer Google’s algorithm, in the hope of gaming the system. But true SEO has never been about trying to outwit the search engine. It’s about trying to understand what the search engine wants, and providing that.

Google has one major objective. To figure out what human beings like about websites and reward sites that provide that. In other words, good SEO is all about building websites that human beings will find engaging and will stick around to read.

If you keep this golden rule in mind, the chances of ranking highly on Google are good – and increasing all the time as Google gets smarter.

But SEO is still “hit and miss”, isn’t it?

The short answer is yes, it’s difficult today to guarantee to get a website to the top of Google for one particular keyword or search phrase. Difficult. But still possible for those who have figured out how Google really thinks.
These kind of SEO experts are rare. It’s not the kind of task that can be outsourced for peanuts to a third world country. And this is why many businesses have become discouraged by SEO. It takes time and money today to do SEO effectively.

So businesses have a choice today. They can take the route of the first marketer I mentioned at the start of this article – forget SEO and focus on more predictable methods of online marketing. Paid advertising combined with email follow up is a smart strategy in many cases.

Or you can invest in a true SEO expert who understands how to build traffic via Google organic search using content, social media and other strategies. And then put in place systems to convert these visitors into customers.

Both approaches can be effective. There’s no “right” or “wrong”. Businesses need to choose a path and focus on it. The reason the SEO-hating marketer I mentioned is so successful is he believes absolutely in his strategy, puts blinkers on and goes for it.

Likewise, the SEO guru is successful for the same reason. He has focused with a laser-like intensity on mastering this particular form of marketing.

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