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.

This Post Will Shock You and Might or Might Not Include a Video of a Sneezing Cat: Click-Bait and Content

Have you ever been a victim of click-bait? I’m not too ashamed to admit that I have. Usually it’s the Huffington Post or Slate that is the culprit. They’ll seduce me with a strong adjective like “shocking” or “mesmerizing” in the title, or describe their list as things that I must do, see or eat before I die. I’m not alone. One person was so annoyed by the Huffington Post, he created the Twitter account @HuffPoSpoilers, so other readers wouldn’t have to get baited like he was.

Buzzfeed takes click-baiting a step further with 1001 different articles about cute cats and quizzes to tell participants which 1980s NBC sitcom sidekick they are. Today, my Facebook Newsfeed was littered with posts from friends declaring which cheese they scored in a Buzzfeed quiz so aptly titled “Which Cheese Are You?” I would be lying if I said that I didn’t feel kind of silly clicking these things, but I have to admit that they are effective. Is click-bait the future of content marketing?

Not really, because it always has been a part of content marketing. In fact, i09 did a pretty good job of chronicling the history of American journalism and showcasing how click-bait was important to the early 20th century newspapers. William Randolph Hearst gained fame and fortune through sensationalist Yellow Journalism headlines. Furthermore, the most esteemed award in journalism is the Pulitzer Prize – named after New York World publisher, Joseph Pulitzer. Pulitzer had no issues with making the mundane melodramatic either.

The point is that creating titles that will make people click your link or read your article is the past, present and future of content. When you create content or look for SEO companies to create the content for you, it could have the most in-depth and quality substance out there, but if the title is a snooze, you’re not going to get the maximum exposure you can get, nor the advertising bucks that come with the extra clicks. At the same time, though, if you lure your reader and don’t deliver, nobody is going to share your article or come back to your site.

Therefore, you have to do both. The creativity of the title should match the quality of the content so you have something that is valuable to your readers. And once they reach your site, maybe they’ll hang around and see what else you have to offer. In his Guardian defense of click-bating, Steve Hind noted that while Buzzfeed does draw all of those visitors with the cats and quizzes, it is also heavily investing in traditional media reporting to become a respected site and to keep people engaged and returning.

Titles matter extraordinarily, but you won’t do your marketing campaign any favors if you don’t have the content to back it up. Speaking of that, I almost forgot the sneezing cat…

Image: http://www.collegehumor.com

4 Tips for Choosing the Right SEO Company

So you’ve made the decision to hire an Internet marketing company… now what? Choosing the best SEO firm can be tough if you haven’t done your research. Therefore, when searching for a company that meets your needs (and budget), there are quite a few things to consider and it may be a bit of a process. A good SEO company will be up-to-date on the best practices, while constantly evolving along with the industry. Below are a few tips that will help you choose the best SEO firm out there.

  • Know your goals

It’s important to have a certain goal in mind when choosing an SEO company. Whether it’s to increase your bottom line, further your social media efforts, receive more visitors, improve conversion rates, or (most likely) to improve your search engine rankings, ensure that you have specific goals in mind that you can tell potential SEO firms.

  • Think beyond SEO

When it comes to SEO, there is a lot going on behind the scenes to help improve your search engine ranking. A good SEO company will offer link building, web design services, copywriting, social media, and much more to further your campaign efforts. These services all have an effect on SEO and it’s important to take these aspects into consideration as well.

  • Get recommendations and examples

When speaking to a potential SEO firm, ask for client referrals. Word-of-mouth is a common way to find an SEO firm, but there are a variety of resources out there to help you, like SEOCompanies.com. You should also ask for examples of sites the company has optimized, along with explanations of what they have done. Check out the company’s own website, along with their search engine rankings, as well.

  • Don’t be fooled by prices

A high price doesn’t guarantee the best quality campaign and a low price doesn’t indicate the most cost-effective option. Rather than focusing on the price, focus on the company’s plan for your website, along with their examples and recommendations. More often than not, you should be able to go with your gut after doing your research to find the right SEO company.

It’s important to avoid companies that make suspicious promises and claims that sound too good to be true. No company can guarantee you a No. 1 ranking. Look for quality over quantity (more links doesn’t necessarily mean quality links). Remember, a good SEO company will be up-to-date on the best practices, while constantly evolving along with the industry.