Why an SEO Company is Saying Hello to OC/DC and Bye to SEO

Seems kind of crazy, right? But it’s true.

Copyblogger – our industry’s leading publisher of free Internet marketing information – is letting go of the term SEO.

According to Sean Jackson, CFO and partner in Copyblogger Media, “I have felt that the entire concept of SEO, while an important part of online marketing, had a very ‘spammy’ connotation.”

(Keep in mind that this is coming from the “resident SEO guy” at Copyblogger.)

“The term too often aligns our work with unprofessional practices like link buying and web spamming for article placement. Yes, SEO is officially dead. Not the practice, but the term.”

If you’ve been part of the SEO and e-marketing mix even for just a couple years, you can probably sympathize with Jackson. As a client, you may have placed projects on freelancing platforms for “SEO articles” in the past. These are articles that never really benefitted your audience and eventually ended up hurting your SEO efforts. You know, the “brain dump articles” where you would link keyword-rich text back to your site’s homepage.

Sentences like the following abounded: “Everyone experiences [keyword] and is affected by [keyword], which is why it’s important to learn about [keyword].”

Useless sentences that muddied online search are just some of the reasons Jackson said “I really hate the term ‘SEO’” at the beginning of his OC/DC article.

What is OC/DC? And is Copyblogger Endorsing it Just Because It’s Cool?

OC/DC.

It brings to mind a mental disorder when, in reality, it’s anything but. In fact, it’s probably one of the things farthest away from a mental disorder, given that it means Optimizing Content for Discovery and Conversion.

It also brings these guys to mind…

And really, these guys are more similar to OC/DC than mental disorders. Why? Because the Copyblogger team is cool. AC/DC is cool. Mental disorders aren’t cool.

But shifting forward to what OC/DC really is – not what it reminds us of – OC/DC is synonymous with the same tactics Copyblogger has been writing about and employing for nearly a decade. Before coming up with a replacement term for SEO, the value-driven and open-minded Copyblogger crew made content marketing a part of SEO.

Now content marketing is SEO.

And who better to create a new term and lead the charge than Copyblogger – a content marketing company with the tagline, Solutions for Smarter Content Marketing.

So, to answer the second question: No, Copyblogger is not endorsing the term OC/DC just because it’s cool.

Copyblogger is endorsing the term OC/DC because:

  1. SEO is about informing people first, search engines second
  2. SEO is about conversion, not just getting on page one
  3. Useful content ranks better than “brain dump content”

In essence, using the term SEO no longer makes sense. You can drive as much traffic to your site as you want, but if your content is garbage, your leads will be garbage. And the practice that SEO should represent – and which is represented by qualified SEO companies – is the practice of gaining high quality leads, followers, etc.

Also, people are smart. And there’s nothing stopping them from leaving a crummy website, even if (for some odd reason) it does sit at the top of SERPs.

Which is why it’s better to focus on content, and, as OC/DC implies, optimizing content for discovery and conversion.

Remember, the idea behind SEO is not dead. The only reason it’s being replaced is because spammers and frauds can’t hack OC/DC. That would mean being smart, compelling, and value-driven – something Google loves and something you just can’t fake.

So thumbs up Copyblogger, and long live OC/DC.

Now here’s the answer to the first question regarding what OC/DC is, in its entirety.

SEO is Dead - Infographic
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

Guest Blogging: How to Find the Best Website for Your Guest Blog

When you publish a guest post on an authoritative website, it’s a huge score. Whether that website is The Huffington Post, Forbes, Business Insider, or a New York Times blog, your published article opens the doors of your business and website to an expansive base of readers.

Let’s simply refer to these types of authoritative sites that cover general news as “broad websites.”

Other kinds of websites that are great to be published on are authoritative websites that cover a single topic specific to your industry. Some of these websites include Entrepreneur (for startups) and TechCrunch (for IT companies).

Let’s refer to these as “niche websites.”

Getting published on an authoritative broad website builds readership, recognition, and a high quality link to your website. This is a link that produces traffic to your site via the published article and increases your rankings. Search engines like Google give your website more authority in search engine results pages (SERPS) when they see that a link from a highly authoritative site is pointing to it.

Getting published on an authoritative niche website builds readership, recognition, a high quality link and rapport. As you can see, getting published on an authoritative niche website builds everything an authoritative broad website does – in addition to rapport. And rapport is the element that gets you the most value for your guest blog. In addition to getting an authoritative link back to your website that search engines love, you’ll get conversions from the rapport that is established.

When you publish on a niche website, the rapport comes easily because you’re covering a topic people are already deeply interested in. Most likely, they didn’t just stumble across it. They were looking for it. And when you show them you’re experienced and willing to share important information and even secrets, readers begin to like and trust you. This is amazing for converting readers into faithful followers and customers.

For example, let’s take an IT company that’s using guest blogging to improve their SEO. Say they write an amazing article, pitch it to The Huffington Post (broad website) and TechCrunch (niche website), and it gets accepted by both. Both websites want to publish it, so now the IT company is faced with a decision: Publish the article on Huffington where it will be placed in front of an expansive audience, or publish the article on TechCrunch where it will be placed in front of a smaller audience that lives for technology?

For SEO and conversion purposes, niche websites that are as authoritative in their industry as broad websites are globally are always worth prioritizing.   

Now, with that said, let’s get real for a minute.

The truth is that your company may not have the authority necessary to attract attention from websites like The Huffington Post and Tech Crunch.

This is fine though, and exactly why we created something called the Guest Blogging Tier System. But before we show you that – a simple guest blogging system anyone can use to improve rankings – we want to share a handy little tool with you.

A Handy Little Tool that Helps You Determine a Website’s Authority
This tool is called the MozBar – an SEO toolbar – and is available for the Google Chrome and Firefox browser.

What this tool does is produce a number from 1-100 for a website that indicates the strength of the website’s authority. The higher the number, the more authoritative that website is and the more you should want to get published on it.

Here’s an example of how it looks in SERPs …

What’s indicated by the blue bar is that The Huffington Post has only a slightly higher domain authority (98) than TechCrunch (96).

Now, using the Huffington Post-TechCrunch example and the MozBar information above, it’s easy to see why it would be better for an IT company to publish an article on TechCrunch rather than The Huffington Post.

But say that TechCrunch’s domain authority (DA) was 85 instead of 96. Would it still be better for the IT company to get published on TechCrunch rather than Huffington Post? In a word, yes – and this is a common “DA vs. relevancy” judgment call you’ll face during your guest blogging endeavors. It’s also a judgment call you’ll get better at making as you acquire more guest blogging experience.

The Guest Blogging Tier System
Because not every company or person has the authority to attract attention from high-DA websites right off the bat, we’ve set up a Guest Blogging Tier System you can use to acquire the best guest blogging opportunity for yourself or your company.

The best part about the tier system is that it’s incredibly easy to use and effective. All you have to do is start from the top – or the highest tier you think you can realistically get published under – and drill your way down. For instance, if you don’t receive any responses from tier 2 websites, drill down to tier 3. By starting at the most realistic tier and drilling down, you’ll be able to get your article published on an authoritative website.

  • Tier 1 Websites: DA 80-100
  • Tier 2 Websites: DA 60-79
  • Tier 3 Websites: DA 40-59
  • Tier 4 Websites: DA 20-39

For websites with a DA of 20 or lower, you’re better off publishing your post on your own website. Why give your quality piece to a website that’s less authoritative than your own?

Some Things to Remember About Guest Blogging

  • Look for links at the bottom of websites that say “Contribute” or “Write for Us.” Follow these links for the best chance of acquiring a relationship and potential guest blogging opportunity with that particular website.
  • If you don’t see such a link, contact the website’s administrator through a contact form or e-mail and say you’re interested in contributing an article to the website. In your message, copy the title of your article, a brief summary, and the first few paragraphs of the article.
  • If a website administrator responds and accepts, maintain a healthy relationship with your new contact for future guest blogging opportunities. While it’s important to diversify your link profile, consistently publishing the occasional guest blog on an authoritative website will only help you.
  • After your article is accepted, make sure the website allows you to put a “dofollow” link to your website in the article’s author section.
  • DO NOT ask questions about links before your article is accepted or a relationship is formed.

If guest blogging comes down to time for you, you may want to consider hiring an SEO company to write articles and acquire opportunities on your behalf. Match an SEO company with your unique needs today and get the help you need!

Top 3 Signs of a Trustworthy Digital Marketing Agency

With the digital marketing landscape constantly changing, it can be overwhelming to try to stay on top of the most cutting-edge tactics. It can be even more daunting to try to learn and launch these efforts from in-house without breaking the bank. If you can find a quality vendor to become a strategic partner who you can trust to guide you in the right direction then you get the best of both worlds: up-to-date insights from industry experts with a price tag you can afford.

So how do you find that perfect vendor?

Here are three things to look for in an agency:

  1. No outsourcing.
  2. With unique, compelling content atop the list of things that search engines use to rank websites, look for an agency that does not outsource their copywriting. To make sure the content is up to your standards, ask for writing samples. After you have chosen a digital marketing agency and your campaign is getting ready to begin, it’s also a good idea to ask for a meeting with the copywriter who will be creating the content for your brand. Make sure you are on the same page, provide detailed information about what you do and don’t want, and keep your agency in the loop with any product changes/updates and outside PR efforts.

    1. Breadth of services.
    2. There are many different aspects of online marketing: web design & development, social media, content marketing, paid search, inbound marketing, and more. The benefit of hiring an agency is so that you have an expert in the field just a phone call away. Make sure the agency you hire offers a wide variety of online marketing services so you have a one-stop-shop for all your needs. If you can, ask for a conference call with a representative from each of these areas. A quick call could be all you really need to make sure your campaign is in the hands of a knowledgeable team of people.

      1. Previous success stories.
      2. Does the agency have a sampling of case studies that you can review? These can usually provide you with a feel for some of their marketing strategies. Because all industries perform differently when it comes to online marketing, it’s important to make sure the agency has the experience you need. The agency you want strategically aligned with your company will have the proven ability to get what matters most: results.