Advanced SEO is Traditional White Hat SEO
I wasn’t lucky enough to attend SES Toronto so I’m still getting caught up on all the feedback and session reviews that came out of the event. In doing that, I stumbled across Andrew Goodman’s review of the event where he talks a lot about the lessons that he and SES’ Global Content Director Kevin Ryan learned last week.
According to Andrew, the key “thesis” of the event was this: The core stuff works. The core stuff has evolved tremendously. It is vitally important and it is still moving the needle.
In other words, don’t be so quick to let go of the traditional search engine optimization techniques in favor of the big Web 2.0 buzzwords. White hat SEO is evolving and is all the advanced SEO you need to rank well in the search engines and bring targeted visitors to your Web site.
I’d also have to agree with Andrew’s statement that white hat SEO is being undervalued and underinvested in as search marketers jump ship to experiment with social media and try their hand at buzzword bingo. There may be great value in spending the time and money creating Facebook applications, toying with viral YouTube videos, and seeing if MySpace is filled with anything other than strippers and bands, but that often comes with an awfully low return on investment compared to the traditional stuff. Andrew takes a cue from Seth Godin and says that building the marketing sprinkles on top of your meatball sundae won’t get customers into the basic navigation towards key objectives. That Facebook application you just invested 2 months creating may look delicious but it probably won’t get your customers headed down that conversion path; however, a site that is technically sound and properly siloed will. Every time.
No one is dismissing the power that can come with social media. I’ve seen companies and do it well. However, the best way to kill your Web site is to start focusing all of your energy on social media and losing your focus on the core factors like content strategies, natural link development, analytics, paid search, conversion funnel optimization, etc. There’s a reason these tactics have stood the test of time. And despite what some “SEOs” will try and tell you, they are progressing, they can compete competitively, and they do work.
Black hat SEO and getting quick links through social media are sexy topics. They’re the crowd pleasers at SEO conferences even though three quarters of those in the room could never implement them. I get the appeal. However, the power of white hat search engine optimization has been proven over and over again, even if it is considered boring or square to promote it. White hat works. Every time. Don’t discount it.
I found the anecdote below recounted by Andrew especially amusing:
“One delegate approached me nervously about the schedule for late on Day 2. Would the link building session actually focus on link building? Because if he was going to have to hear more general talk about social media, he definitely did not want to attend that session.”
Hee. It’s good to know that not everyone is addicted to the Web 2.0 kool-aid.
Props to SES Toronto for putting on what looked like a great show that concentrated on the heart of what search engine optimization really is. With any luck I’ll get there next year.