Someone posted this question on Yahoo Answers last week:
This will go over like a lead balloon, but here’s my reply: There are no new SEO tactics. At least none that are likely to have staying power.
Because so much SEO over the past couple years has been a race to the bottom, a search to find tactics that offer an immediate hit — stuff that valued short-term results ahead of long-term success. People have spent all kinds of time digging for links and tricks rather than building something to stand the test of time.
That’s why people created do-follow blog directories, SEO companies selling 370 links per month and SEO software that promises to shoot your site to the top of the rankings and dominate your niche.
Now, neither of those updates has been perfect. A lot of business owners/webmasters have been hit wrongly. (But a lot were also hit rightly.) And Google itself is plenty guilty of confusing matters for all of us.
But the reality in 2012 is that SEO is still Google’s world, and if we want traffic from Google, we play by its rules or we accept the risks of doing otherwise.
New SEO Tactics?
Here’s how I’d answer that question on Yahoo Answers about “new” SEO tactics:
1.) Stop focusing on how many links you built, and start focusing on how much authority you earned. The fact that people are now trying to reduce the number of inbound links they have should speak volumes. Skip the traditional link building and start authority building.
2.) Related: Build your brand. There’s a lot of crap on the web from unrecognizable and indistinguishable companies/websites. (How often have you seen a really unique real estate agent website, for example?) Don’t be unrecognizable. Don’t be indistinguishable. Be unique. Be valuable. Become a brand that people recognize and trust.
3.) Do SEO invisibly. You’ve got to do SEO; can’t ignore it. But you can’t overdo it, either. In 2012, less is more. Do your SEO gently with a paintbrush, not a hammer.
4.) Create “vital” content. The “trick” to all three things above — building authority, becoming a brand and doing SEO gently — is to make your website vital. Vital — that’s the word that Google uses to describe the highest-quality web pages.
5.) Diversify. If Google’s recent changes have taught us anything, it’s that we need to diversify. Google’s updates hit some companies that didn’t deserve it, and they lost visibility and money. That sucks, but it’s a reminder that you can’t build a business around the expectation of free traffic from a source you don’t control. Find other sources of traffic. Diversify or die.
6.) Related: Don’t skip social media. Social networking should not be your primary online asset, but it can be a great way to diversify your incoming traffic and to build authority. When you look at your analytics, you want to see a nice balance of search and social traffic.
Final Thoughts & Advice
Ummm, Matt? Nice list, but those aren’t new SEO tactics.
What about an infographic?? That’s a new tactic, right? I get some inbound links. I need more links. Links are great.
You want an infographic? Here’s one of the original SEO infographics, created before infographics were cool:
That’s the SEO Success Pyramid and it’s as relevant today as it was when I published it four-and-a-half-years ago. Maybe even more relevant.
SEO … what’s old is new. Before you worry about new SEO tactics, work first on mastering the tried and true.