The SEO and the Blacksmith.

In my ClickZ article which was published today, I wrote about my thoughts on the SEO side of the business. These have mainly been spurred by some of the workshops and training sessions I’ve been doing lately.

I still have so many people asking me about “meta tags” and “h tags” and “keyword density” as if any of this has any serious place in today’s extremely competitive search arena.

A lot of what I often refer to as “classic SEO”, much of which is still served up in some SEO type forums, just has no bearing on getting a top rank for a term like “digital cameras” for instance.

Okay, I understand when your hoping and praying for that top ten hit and you have some time on your hands you can do a little good housekeeping and mess around with a few on-page things, while you have nothing else to do. But you’ll be hoping and praying for a very long time if you think the presence, or lack of, something such as an h1 tag is going to power you up the charts.

Sure, some of that old stuff may still apply to some very obscure and esoteric searches. But for serious marketers aiming for those cached, top-tier pages with competitive terms scoped at them, and linkage data abounding, it’s the wrong end of the scale to be worrying about if you’re coming in new.

Most of the successful work I’ve done lately for top ranking pages has been based around classic marketing tactics than it has technology. Link building, joint ventures online, co-promotion and sponsorship, and even straight forward advertising.

Even good old fashioned publicity stunts can do a better job getting a rank than classic SEO. Just ask the CEO of your company to go and bare his ass in the window at Macey’s and make sure there’s some press around. That’ll getcha a top ten hit for sure!

Joking apart, a quality marketing strategy developed around a good ambitious company with quality products, which wants to succeed, is an excellent recipe for the start of search marketing success. All marketing success, for that matter.

Sometimes my articles for ClickZ are a little on the long side and get snipped. I think the final paragraph which was clipped for the article actually summed quite a lot of it up for me:

“I guess, years ago, many Blacksmiths had to retrain and learn to do something else as their specific skills were required less and less. And I guess that’s what will happen in the future of SEO. I don’t think SEO is dead yet. But much like Blacksmiths, you’ll probably not find one on every corner the way it used to be. Maybe they’ll open PPC shops?”

As I was working in North Carolina when I finished the article, I noticed that the link which refers to the Sergeant Pepper search in the column, doesn’t work in the UK. However, I did actually take a screenshot of it.

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