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 touch points.

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 which 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.

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 infographic.

Cram more 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.

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.

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.

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

Move to oper­at­ing 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 on 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?

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Alexis Pratsides
Guest

I. Love. This.

How much for a link … 😉

Sayan Samanta
Guest

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

Earl Grey
Guest

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

David Sayce
Guest

Perfect!
Best guide to SEO

Jeremy Wyler
Guest

looks like a scene from train­spot­ting…

Emma
Guest

A very refresh­ing take on this subject! Love it

Abhishek Jain
Guest

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