SEO is Dead: It's a Linkless, SEOless World...


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So many marketers have their knickers tied in a twist over "SEO is dead!", "Link building is dead!". Sure makes for a great tagline, right?

Here's what SEO experts Eric Ward and Rae Hoffman have to say about it.


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SEO is Dead: It's a Linkless, SEOless World...

  1. 1. It’s a Linkless, SEOless World...
  2. 2. And many marketers have their knickers tied up in a twist over it...
  3. 3. Introduction
  4. 4. WHO: •Eric Ward: Link Moses, writes for Link Week column at •Rae Hoffman: CEO of PushFire, author of the often controversial Sugarrae blog.
  5. 5. WHAT: •Eric Ward: 11 Reasons Link Building Is A Futile Waste Of Time — And One Big Reason It Isn’t •Rae Hoffman: Google Propaganda, SEO and Why Marketers Need to Wake up
  6. 6. WHERE: •Eric Ward: at •Rae Hoffman: at
  7. 7. The Premise
  8. 8. “A lot of people who think “SEO is dead” in my opinion, do so because they were “one trick ponies” so to speak - had one ranking tactic in their arsenal that they confused with a strategy – build keyword based links.” ~ Rae Hoffman
  9. 9. “It’s been made clear by everyone that link building is now dead, the last nail in the coffin being the guest blog post, hammered in by my friend, colleague, and occasional co-panelist, Matt Cutts, who takes way more grief than he deserves.” ~ Eric Ward
  10. 10. Speaking of Matt Cutts, we DO like the guy: “To be clear, I’m not picking on Matt personally here, even though his post was partially responsible for spurring this post. Google is a huge company and Matt doesn’t run it. I’m sure when Matt is met with examples of the above, he’s sometimes like…” ~ Rae Hoffman
  11. 11. Is Good Content Good Enough?
  12. 12. “You now have one single solitary content mission: Be awesome. Be awesome and the world will find and share that awesomeness — this is the 2014 social version of 1994 s ‘build it and they will come’ approach, or the 2010 version of ‘just make it an app and they will download it.’ ” ~ Eric Ward
  13. 13. “Somehow, someway, the web has evolved into this absolutely amazing collection of utterly brilliant content that builds its own links or downloads itself onto your handheld. ” ~ Eric Ward
  14. 14. “We’re told to “create good content” and our Google rankings will be fine. I’m sorry, but I live in reality. In reality, creating good content guarantees you nothing. There’s no guarantee good content will magically be shared.” ~ Rae Hoffman
  15. 15. •If good content does get shared, and gets shared so much that a larger site republishes it, it could screw me. •If people like it, and link to it with too much anchor, it could screw me. •If not enough quality sites link to it in proportion to the overall inbound links, it could screw me. •If multiple bloggers with a good audience who can give me good exposure, but that also blatantly sell links or publish a lot of guest posts links to it, it could screw me. •If I include a nifty graphic in it and enough people repost that graphic and give me a link credit for being the source, it could screw me. ~ Rae Hoffman
  16. 16. “In short, I’m supposed to publish awesome content, not actively promote it and hope that the right ratios of the right type of people (sites) like it and link to it. Oh, and then I’m supposed to cross my fingers and hope that my competitors don’t actively try to f*** with my ‘create good content’ stars aligning.” ~ Rae Hoffman
  17. 17. Link Building: it must be dead
  18. 18. “I don’t have to build links anymore, and I have never felt so liberated. So free. All the years I spent endless hours trying to help content get discovered — and I didn’t realize I didn’t have to do any of it. Those 163 conference gigs? Waste of time. 300+ articles, columns and posts? Digital litter. The massive project I just wrapped up for the Sochi Olympics? I’m sending their check back.” ~ Eric Ward
  19. 19. There are over 5,300 articles that have the words “link building is dead” in their title. There is no possible way they can all be wrong — at least one out of 5,300 has to have some truth to it, am I right? ~ Eric Ward
  20. 20. “Google says that anything that manipulates the natural link ecosystem of the web is bad. But the largest manipulator of the linking ecosystem today (and has been for a long time) is Google themselves. They created a currency around links, then failed to control it, then issued mandates to alter it to compensate for their failings for their own benefit.” ~ Rae Hoffman
  21. 21. “Over the last two years, the number of don’ts is increasing as quickly as Miley Cyrus’s sluttiness while the number of “dos” continues to dwindle.” ~ Rae Hoffman
  22. 22. Link Building: do’s or don’ts?
  23. 23. “Press Releases Don’t Work. (Not true. Press releases about nothing and filled with keyword anchors don’t work. Press releases about something that is actually worth announcing might just get you written about [and linked to] by someone that has credibility. Big difference.)” ~ Eric Ward
  24. 24. “Google says you’re not supposed to add any anchor rich links to your press releases without a nofollow or risk a negative impact on your search results. Yet, when they announced Calico, they put two links within the press release to their own properties using anchor text – without using a nofollow. This of course resulted in straight links from folks who scraped the release. This doesn’t appear to have had any effect on that rank of the page they linked to in the release in regards to ranking on the anchor used.” ~ Rae Hoffman
  25. 25. “Widgets Don’t Work. (Not true. Widgets that embed and/or require inclusion of source code containing links don’t work. Not all widgets are like this.)” ~ Eric Ward
  26. 26. “Google says embedding links within widgets without a nofollow is not only bad, but cause for penalization within their search results. However, it appears Google Maps is exempt from feeling any wrath.” ~ Rae Hoffman
  27. 27. “Guest Posts Don’t Work. (Not true. Isn’t this column [at] technically a “guest post”? Aren’t you reading it right now?)” ~ Eric Ward
  28. 28. “And now, we’ve added sites who allow guest posts to the chopping block.” ~ Rae Hoffman
  29. 29. “Directories Don’t Work. (Not true. Directories with no actual purpose don’t work. Topical, vertical, niche, and highly curated directories are a solid source of traffic and credibility.)” ~ Eric Ward
  30. 30. “Anchor Text Doesn’t Work. (Not true. If the website that contains the anchor text has produced historical signals that indicate it has been a highly credible source for a long time, then anchor text originating from that source is likely to be quite helpful — and you won’t be able to control it because that’s what made it credible in the first place.)” ~ Eric Ward
  31. 31. “Link Networks Don’t Work. (Not true. It all depends on how you are defining the term “link network.” Isn’t a nationwide collection of state chapter websites of any national organization a link network? Yes, it is. And if you are a new chapter of that national organization, launch a site, and get your link like all the others have, aren’t you now a part of a link network? Yes, you are — as you should be.)” ~ Eric Ward
  32. 32. “Paid Links Will Get You BUSTed. (Not true. Nothing more to say on this one.)” ~ Eric Ward
  33. 33. “‘We’ are not allowed to give away products to bloggers to review unless we demand a nofollow on the post. But, Google can give away thousands of Android phones in 2009 resulting in thousands of links without any issue or slap from Google’s search division.” ~ Rae Hoffman
  34. 34. “Infographics Don’t Work. (Not true. Have we reached the point where every single complex, statistic-driven fact and finding has now been made perfectly clear by infographic artists? No. But we have reached the point where 7,500 charts showing why e-cigarettes are good for you is not helpful.)” ~ Eric Ward
  35. 35. “All of what you’ve read so far is both true and false at the same time. How does that help to clear up matters?” ~ Eric Ward
  36. 36. “In today’s linking environment, everything is a matter of nuance. Everything works and nothing works, depending on a variety of variables and intentions.” ~ Eric Ward
  37. 37. “For every tactic you tell me is good, I can show you how it could be bad. For every tactic you tell me is wrong, I can find a scenario where it could be right.” ~ Eric Ward
  38. 38. “And this isn’t news.  It’s always been this way. There has never been a shortage of link builders, but there has always been a shortage of content linking strategists who recognize search is just one piece of the linking puzzle and know what to do about it.” ~ Eric Ward
  39. 39. Don’t like it? You don’t have to... (or do you?)
  40. 40. “Of course, Google (and their fanboys) will tell you that you’re free to do whatever you want, and simply accept that you might not appear (well) in Google as a result. But let’s face it…”
  41. 41. “That’s some financially devastating bullshit – even to the largest of brands. Just like a tyrannical leader can tell his citizens if they don’t like it, they can move – he knows that the large majority of those citizens have no realistic, viable choice but to endure – and obey – the tyranny.” ~ Rae Hoffman
  42. 42. 1. Google’s primary concern is not “the web” or “you” – it’s Google 2. Penguin is not always fair – Google knows it but… see #1 3. Panda is not always fair – Google knows it but… see #1 4. Google talks the talk, but does not walk the walk and there’s nothing we can do about it 5. “Creating good content” guarantees you JACK SHIT when it comes to ranking 6. SEO is as alive now as it was a decade ago 7. SEO has evolved to become the result of an actual marketing strategy versus marketing tactics 8. Your pony is dead. ~ Rae Hoffman
  43. 43. No wonder our knickers are in a twist...
  44. 44. Wherever shall we go? Whatever shall we do?
  45. 45. “From here on out, you work on generating traffic. From here on out, you work on generating branding. From here on out, you work on obtaining customers. From here on out, you work on making your product or service or “value provide” (for bloggers) f** epic. Not just epic – F** EPIC.” ~ Rae Hoffman
  46. 46. “I’m not saying the new SEO is not to do SEO. I’m saying that you need to do things in the most search optimized way as possible, but never losing site of the fact that what you’re supposed to be doing is building a business and not merely building search engine ~ Rae Hoffman rankings.”
  47. 47. “By doing so, you’re doing the most defensible thing you can for your business. And, you’ll end up doing the very thing that Google is looking to reward in their algorithm. Google doesn’t want to make websites popular, they want to rank popular websites. If you don’t understand the difference, you’re in for one hell of an uphill climb.” ~ Rae Hoffman
  48. 48. “And if Google still screws you at the end of the day – despite you trying your best to “do things right” – doing so is your only chance to survive – and thrive.” ~ Rae Hoffman
  49. 49. “Please ignore this column and accept my apologies. I have to get back to work after all.” ~ Eric Ward
  50. 50. So don’t get your knickers in a knot; it solves nothing and makes you walk funny.
  51. 51. build your business.
  52. 52. build your business. then build search engine rankings.
  53. 53. here’s how:
  54. 54. here’s how: Click on the link now