In Beginning, SEO was…
I’ve been involved in SEO for nearly 7-8 years and have seen SEO when it was a task done on the side by webmaster techies and by web designers. It was as easy as meta tag stuffing, but now has since turned into a full time job. Today, SEO is more and more leveraging and being influenced by online WoM/PR activities (linkbaiting comes to mind).
Aaron Wall and the Active Web
In “SEO & the Static vs Active Web“, Aaron Wall calls attention to the idea of the “Active Web” (the dynamic side of social media) and how it will effect SEO as a whole. There are two important pieces Aaron brings into attention: 1) The need Engage the Active Web; and 2) How smart SEO/marketers are engaging the web now.
On Engaging the Active Web
Aaron Wall Outlines three areas of engagement in the Active Web:
- Blog & Forums:
Basically, doing market research and PR (by way of Blog Outreach)
Doing market research, understanding what the audience wants and how to leverage them as evangelists.
- Social News & Social Bookmarking:
Now only does social news/bookmarking allow on to listen the “beat” of the community, but it also creates fodder for potential linkbait for writing/creating content the targeted audience wants.Emergence Media Response:
On How SEO/Marketers are Engaging the Active Web now:
In many markets it is getting cheaper and easier to manipulate the engines indirectly by participating in the active web, by dong things like
- creating ideas and content people like and want (even if those ideas do not have a direct monetization model)
- being willing to go exceptionally niche or exceptionally broad with some content to create an idea which people would be likely to vote for
- not caring about anchor text
- not caring about what page they link at (realizing that authoritative links to any page on your site will boost your site’s authority and the rankings for all pages on your site, and thus will allow you to monetize your commercial pages from the authority of the linkworthy pages)
Emergence Media Response:
The points here echo what many like Rand Fishkin have been saying on SEO: focus on creating great content that attracts the right audience and soon enough you’ll get “link love” from your audience.
Conclusion: This All Sounds Like PR and Marketing to Me?
This is very high level of course, but what it all boils down is two things: “Engage, Be Present, Join the Community” and “Give People What They Want”. The days when SEO was a debate over “how many characters can I have on my meta tag keywords?” or “What should my keyword density per page be?” are over.
Instead we have the following:
- Engage, Be Present, Join the Community
Defined as the industry/audience you need to reach to help understand the community, generate buzz, awareness and links
- Give People What They Want
This is said of the product and service, but its applies to the content of the website as well, to garner better rankings on search engines and well-positioned linkbait (to create more links, bringing greater awareness and rankings)
Just from quick glance, this does not sound like the SEO I learned doing 7 years ago. This sounds like smart PR and smart marketing in an Internet where Word-Of-Mouth (brought on by the maturing social media aspect of the Web) is becoming increasingly important.
Welcome to the New SEO. And SEO that’s changing from an actual search engine marketing service to general philosophy when doing PR/marketing on the web.