I wrote this blog post for Beyond PR and was immediately set upon by the SEO community as you can see from the comments.
Good chance that a lot of those members of the SEO community have since re-imagined themselves and now pose as content marketing gurus. Also a good chance that they never read my post and reacted instead to the “SEO is Dead” headline.
The point I was trying to make is that SEO is by its nature self destructive. If you find an SEO tactic that works, that tactic is going to proliferate and when it does it will, from Google’s perspective, damage the efficacy of their search results. Search users no longer get the best answer, but rather the answer with the most effective SEO. So Google goes to work on its algorithms and tweaks away until it has at best neutralized the SEO tactic in question and possibly even punished users of that tactic by decimating their page rank. This is essentially what happened with keyword based SEO and later link based SEO.
So the larger issue for me is that if you are writing for the purpose of publishing digitally you should be writing for your readers and not for Google’s algorithms. SEO is a moving target. Informative interesting stories will always be that.
But I then realized that I had stumbled upon an effective SEO tactic that was indeed time-tested. Write an eye-catching provocative headline and you’ll get your readers’ attention. The same tactic that has worked for decades to sell print newspapers in stores and on newstands works just as well to attract readers online.