How to do SEO in the year 20xx

Do more than just supply a commodity to consumers who’re already ready to buy.

Build a differentiated brand.

Tell a compelling story.

Stand out from the competition, and stand for something meaningful.

Engage with, and in, the communities your audiences are in.

Add value to conversations.

Understand your audience’s questions and pain points, and solve for them.

Provide value to audiences who’ll never ever buy from you.

Grow, support, and engage with an earned audience.

Give your best resources away to everybody, for nothing.

Become a trusted resource, advisor, and part of consumers lives before they get to the point where they’re ready to engage.

Provide excellent customer service at all touchpoints.

Surprise and delight at every opportunity.

Make a difference in the real world.

Join up your systems.

Invest in your platforms. Make them faster, better, more secure.

Adopt a continuous deployment model, where you’re constantly improving your site.

Tackle technical debt, and compete on technical excellence.

Build an internal culture that makes your teams want to do good work, and to make a difference.

Build skilled teams internally.

Reward employees for cross-collaboration and breaking down traditional verticals and silos.

Set KPIs and OKRs based on business and audience outcomes, not channel metrics.

Hero, highlight and champion the consumer in all cases.

Chase and reward optimising for consumer lifetime value, rather than fighting for individual transactions.

Be the best solution in your vertical, for every consumer need, whether you’re selling to them or not.

Be the best solution for related verticals, where you can add value and support audiences.

Win your market, outgrow the need for Google, and grow your earned and owned sources.

…Or don’t.

Just run another SEO campaign.

Email some influencers to promote your new “Digital PR” piece.

Cram more “SEO content” into your product category pages.

Ignore the fact that your products are a bit on the expensive side. That your customer service is poor. That you’ve no organic social reach and declining brand loyalty.

Commission another self-promoting, product-centric blog post from an external writer with no expertise in your sector, and no access to or understanding of your product or brand.

Buy some more links from your secret networks.

Ignore how your competitors are changing consumer expectations, minimum standards and behaviours.

Watch your clickthrough rates decline, as customers quietly build preferences for other brands.

Wonder why your market share is declining.

Kill off your blog. You never got much out of it anyway.

Double down on the next big seasonal campaign. That’ll recover those lost rankings.

Enter some search awards.

Buy some targeted links to bolster your reporting for your C‑suite, when your content piece fails to get traction.

Worry about this month’s algorithm update.

Disavow some links. Maybe they’re why you’re down year-on-year.

Learn Python. Maybe crunching some big data will reveal some quick wins.

Spend a whole week not finding any quick wins.

Get your agency to do another audit. Maybe they’ll find some quick wins.

Spend a whole week writing a new 6‑month strategy for your nervous CEO.

Do some SEO A/B testing to try to prove that you should speed up your slow site.

Fail to secure budget or resources to act on your recommendations; the SEO channel isn’t delivering enough value to warrant the investment.

Move to running SEO as a series of ‘projects’, managed by the CTO. Fix a few small, insignificant issues.

Fire your agency. They didn’t deliver a positive ROI this month.

Lose budget to the PR team, who’re fighting (and failing) to maintain brand reputation.

Scramble to retrofit and optimise an increasingly fragmented set of landing pages, microsites and campaigns from other channels.

Spend a day per week trying to work out where, and why, performance has dropped.

Spend two days per week reporting on what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and how far behind target you are.

Get called in for an awkward conversation with the CEO.

Continue to drift further behind targets.

Stay at the office until 10 pm fixing 404 errors.

Lose the confidence of the business.

Lose motivation.

Settle into a routine of low-level firefighting on the few things you can control or influence.

Fix some more 404s.

Buy some more links.

Commission another technical audit.

Add some SEO tasks to the technical backlog.

Lose an argument for prioritising your SEO issues; there are more urgent issues in the business.

Stay late fixing a botched site migration.

Watch another quarter drift by.

Notice the share price dropping.

Get out, before it’s too late.

Get a new job, at a new company, where they’re excited about the growth potential of SEO.

Start again.

Learn from your mistakes?

Buy some links?


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Alexis Pratsides

I. Love. This.

How much for a link … 😉

Sayan Samanta

How much you want to pay for a link…LOL, Great article Jono.

Earl Grey

And now I have read it 6 times. each time it gets more awesome

David Sayce

Best guide to SEO

Jeremy Wyler

looks like a scene from trainspotting…


A very refreshing take on this subject! Love it

Abhishek Jain

Very Surprising to me !! You have mentioned some of the most important aspects which we all left or we don’t give priority to them. Thanks Buddy

alister james

amazing post keep it up

Maria Amelie

Given your incredible CWV results, I decided to pay a visit to your blog.
This post!
Why don’t you promote it more?
Great stuff here.