In 2011, Google rolled out the Panda update to strangle traffic to websites that used content to manipulate their search rankings.
The same thing happened in 2012: the first Penguin update was rolled out to stop sites doctoring search rankings with links.
Creating content and building links are still the most scalable ways to improve search rankings, but neither of these things bring the biggest ROI.
Search engines want to rank sites that are both healthy and popular.
Creative campaigns and PR make a website – a brand’s presence online – popular, but what makes a site healthy?
Optimising a site for search engines doesn’t just mean making it more popular, it means making it work in the way that search engines – and people – expect it to.
A few years ago it was an SEO’s job to write content and build links, because we did these things for SEO. That’s why Google updated its algorithm with Panda and Penguin.
Now a good campaign “for SEO” uses creatives, copywriters, people who work in PR and social media.
But people who work in SEO don’t sit back and do nothing. We do what we’ve always done: whatever it takes to make money.
We fix 301s, implement hreflang and canonical attributes, update meta data, Wikidata, and Schema.
We make incremental gains and pay our way.
The truth is that an SEO campaign that needs creatives, copywriters, and PR isn’t cheap.
Links aren’t harder to come by, but they’re harder to get without investing.
Technical is cheap.
For many websites the greatest SEO campaign in the world won’t drive rankings because they don’t have their house in order.
Sometimes the most popular websites in the world don’t rank because they are not healthy. Cheap fixes can often mean the difference between an expensive campaign winning or failing.
Some businesses think incremental gains aren’t worth going after.
…but Google doesn’t like sites that try to rank overnight.
It doesn’t matter how much you spend on TV, radio, outdoor etc.
Google doesn’t rank brands, it ranks websites.