It seems like only yesterday the "experts" were advising that to achieve
the best search engine performance you needed a properly optimised
website layout along with the use of hand-picked keywords in the
important areas of the pages.
The way Google ranks search results has changed the SEO game
dramatically, however, and the tactics and strategies for Search Engine
Optimisation have shifted to be almost totally content
It would seem content marketing has replaced "traditional" methods of
search engine optimisation (SEO), so we ask, how relevant are these
traditional SEO practices and is there any use in still following
Let's begin with a quick look at the history of traditional SEO.
Keywords and inbound links are the two broad philosophies directing the
SEO industry. The goal: to have your website at the top of the results
pages whenever a specific keyword is typed into a search engine.
This gave rise to strategies that aimed to deceive search engines using
techniques such as "keyword stuffing" (using keywords or
phrases numerous times on a page without any context or providing
meaningful content for the reader), creating link farms and other practices that took
advantage of the simplicity of search indexing algorithms to gain a
Legitimate websites found it difficult to rank highly in Search Engine
Results Pages against these tactics, and it ultimately led to search
engines changing the way they index and rank websites to ensure that the
end user was being given high quality search results that gave them the
information they were searching for.
New Age SEO
In response to deceitful SEO tactics, Google introduced a new algorithm
that uses latent semantic indexing, which follows the idea that words
used in the same context tend to have similar meanings. For example, the
phrase "complete guide" is given the same ranking as "definitive guide"
when either phrase is used in a search query.
Suddenly, the websites that had a stronghold on certain keywords and key
phrases, and that were reliant on being at the top by pushing the
competition out of the circle, found themselves now having to compete
with websites using similar phrases. The distinguishing factor was now
the content that was being provided to the user, not just the keywords in
the search query.
Enter Content marketing. Content marketing, which involves the creation
of high quality content to get ahead in website rankings is being touted
as the new SEO.
Content marketing strategy also provides a greater return on investment
by boosting a website's ranking through content being shared on a variety
of social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and
A case study by Kissmetrics, presented by Neil Patel, studied the number
of visits and back-links to 47 info-graphics which cost $28,200 to
produce. These info-graphics received 2,512,596 page views and 41,142
back-links from 3741 unique domains. The social media contributions were
41359 tweets and 20,859 likes.
Patel estimates that the costs of trying to manipulate Google by buying
Tweets, Likes, visitors and links would be $1,072,905.80 as compared to
the $28,200 spent on producing the infographics.
That is quite a difference.
Apart from the cost factor, another major advantage for content marketing
as an SEO strategy is the fact that good quality content will remain
unaffected by future changes that search engines might make to their
The positive practices of traditional SEO that helped search engines to
deliver high quality search results to their users have remained a part
of the New Age SEO practices, while the practices that worked against
helping search engines have been dropped.
The answer to our question - how relevant are the traditional SEO
practices today and is there any use in still following them? - is that
since the positive traditional practices are part of the new age
practices, it is worth focusing on a content marketing strategy to
provide and boost SEO rather than trying to implement and manage two
strategies in parallel.
As Aaron Agius from Louder Online told Huffington Post recently,
"Content is the foundation of any successful online marketing
campaign. A great strategy is needed in order to fuel social media
activity, to create high converting landing pages for pay per click
marketing and to power increases in search engine rankings for target
What is your current SEO strategy? Have you shifted your
focus, or are you still following the same practices? Let us know on the
iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.