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Like Detroit, SEO Is Rebuilding Itself — And Thank God

Detroit went through just about one of the worst fates a city could experience in the last five years. Entire empty neighborhoods, literal ghost towns, had to be bulldozed. It was the specter of Death itself — but like all death, the economic disaster made room for new life. Detroit is seeing surprising growth coming out of the decay, and while we’re still a long ways away from our heyday, looking around the city has made me realize a few things. Right now, the one that’s on my mind is the importance of actually clearing out the old to make room for the new.

We need to take a lesson from Detroit: SEO needs to do some housecleaning so that we can have new growth. In particular, there are a few things we really need to clear out so that we can start anew. In this case, I’m talking about old strategies that are still being used by SEO companies all over the globe. Strategies like:

Aiming For Quantity Over Quality
This is just bad form these days. It’s much better to have one link on a legitimate site than it is to have a few dozen links on bullcrap zero-traffic directories and blogs no one reads. This is the reign of Panda and Penguin, folks — more effort per link, fewer links is literally the law of the land.

Automated Spinning & Mass Article Submission
People who are still trying to spin articles and use automated submission have completely misunderstood what “Content is King” means. It means — and has always meant — that good content wins. It has never meant that more content wins. Take the money you would spend on the software and spend it hiring someone who can write real content for you in the first place.

Putting Your Best Content on Someone Else’s Site
Seriously — if you get an article written and you can plainly see that it’s a winner, don’t give it to EZineArticles or eHow or even a top blog in your industry as a guest post — keep it. Sure, it won’t be a backlink, and yes, you’ll need to make sure you get eyes on it if you want it to be worth anything — but every actually shareworthy piece of content on your site is a dozen organic links that will point at your site instead of someone else’s.

Hiring Writers, Especially for Blog Posts, who Don’t Know Their Crap
There are a lot — a metric buttload, as one of my friends says — of starving freelance writers out there. The problem is that when you want a writer, you want one that knows their subject matter. Especially if they’re going to be blogging for you. You also want one who knows their audience, and that can take weeks of research. If your blogger churns out your post and then ten more for other clients in the same day, you’re not getting the content you need. (Here’s a hint: be willing to pay more.)

Forcing Press Releases On Schedule
Here’s a none-to-subtle hint: if nothing newsworthy has happened in your industry and you’re attempting to turn something non-cogent into a press release, you’ve put your “need” for press above your desire to actually create content worth reading. Stop it.

SEO needs to rethink itself — and as we get used to the authoritarian regime that is Google’s black-and-whites, we’re starting to get there. Like Detroit, the SEO industry can be slow to respond — but like Detroit, the more people catch up with modern reality, the better things get for everyone involved.

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