In fact I’ve been doing since before it was called ‘SEO’.
SEO – then.
One day in 1999 (or possibly 1998) I read an article about a bit of software called ‘Web Position Gold’. This bit of software claimed to be able to put any website at the top of the results when people searched on any major search engine (this was before Google’s dominance).
I was stunned by the concept – with just a little bit of work I could bring a remarkable number of targeted visitors to any website, just by ensuring it ranked highly in search engine results. This is now a concept accepted by all successful business-owners, but back then the concept seemed surrealy magical. This was confirmation that the Internet was developing into the great leveller that it was promised to be. With the power of this new marketing wonder-drug ‘SEO’ (Search Engine Optimisation) tiny startup businesses could attract customers with a method far more potent than any traditional advertising campaign that any multi-national billion dollar business could buy.
SEO – now.
I downloaded a free trial of Web Position gold and was quite disappointed. The method used to get sites to the top of search engine results appeared to turn useful websites into total junk. Text was written more for search engines than it was for humans, and not a lot of the work recommended by the software was contextual for the niches being promoted.
So I didn’t buy Web Position Gold, but I did start reading a LOT. The more I read the more my theories on SEO were confirmed; get the content on the website correct, only then is it worth looking elsewhere online for ways to promote your website. The ranking ‘tricks’ employed by Web Position Gold eventually led to its demise, but the ranking rewards for concentrating on good quality, useful niche-relevant content continue to this day.
Waiting for my cat to bark.
When I re-branded my company I decided that I felt so strongly that content and alternative traffic sources were a better long term prospect than SEO ‘tricks’ that I would try not to present myself as an SEO expert. Instead I decided promote my overall marketing abilities, rather than focussing on my ability to get websites to rank well. Internet Marketing is about so much more than ‘just’ SEO that I didn’t want potential clients to think using SEO was a magic bullet. This was a mistake…
At the start of all Internet Marketing campaigns I spend a lot of time using the Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush to find out what keywords customers are using to find successful sites within the niche I’m working on promoting. This process helps ensure that we are focussing our efforts in the right direction. Many more people search for ‘SEO’ than search for ‘Internet Marketing’, so now I am actively promoting myself as an SEO professional. I am no longer waiting for my cat to bark.