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March 09, 2009


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great article!

Rob Brown

I totally agree. The imporance of good content is paramaount. I think it helps for PR people to understand some of the priciples of SEO and to feel comfortable with using web analytics but there is no substitute for good and well written content. In less than a year we got our agency website to No 1 on Google for searches on both media blog and pr blog. That was without spending a penny/cent on SEO.

Arun Agrawal

Agree with you while my mind is filled up with memories of those conversations where I have been told - something like -

"Yes, we know we should have more content but we don't have time. and who reads on the Internet anyway?"

Chernee Vitello

I agree, your book is great, understanding what your customer wants to hear and providing great content is what is going to make you successful.

Steve Buchholz

It's interesting that David encourages us to write "great content that buyers will want to consume," when just about every post he has written recently is designed to do one thing-sell his new book.

In post after post, David unabashedly promotes his book. How about giving your readers something useful instead? How about showing readers why we should buy your book rather than constantly telling us we should buy it?

David is an expert who can help his readers improve their marketing abilities. I certainly need help, and that's why I visit this site. That's why I bought and recommend "The New Rules."

However, I'm not sure this new promotional strategy is completely tuned in.

Linda Forrest

SEO, when done properly, can have a dramatic impact on organic search results. We had to do a major backend overhaul on our web site in order to up our rankings, but the increase in traffic was well worth the effort. Our own personal SEO guru is Chris Biber from SearchingWorks (http://www.searchingworks.com) and he has guested on our blog to talk about news release optimization in a post that you can read here: http://inmedialog.com/index.php/archives/optimizing-news-releases-for-search-engines-and-beyond/

David Meerman Scott

Steve, Not sure what you're talking about here. Yes, I am linking to my book in this post, but I feel like I am offering value with the post. From the other comments, I think others have gotten value.

I am not talking about the book itself in a post like this but merely using the title of the book in the text and offering a link.

I don't recall once ever saying "you should buy my book". (Maybe I have, but I don't recall).

I would contrast that with a post (that I almost never do) that just talks about the book and why you should buy it.

By the way, World Wide Rave released last week, so I do want people to know that it is now available.

But anyway, thanks for the feedback.


seamus walsh

Avainash Kaushik, from Google™ talks about, his favorite metric, "Bounce Rate", he calls it, "I came, I puked, I left." Trying to convince people that they don't need more visitors is a chore. When some, throw money at a problem they feel good, after all they are taking action to solve the problem.

To get an indication of how visitors judge your content look at "average time on site", "page views" and "repeat visitors." My favorite metric is when my phone rings and a voice says, "I read your white paper, I have a problem...."

Joe Mescher

SEO isn't Alchemy, that's for sure.

Writing as a publisher of my own blog, it's funny how easy it is to slip into the 'Dark Side' by forgetting what readers (consumers) want to read.

We can all use a kick in the pants, I mean...reminder, from time to time that the purchaser decides the value of the product.

Thanks for the reminder DMS.

Brad Shorr

David, Excellent post and conversation. There are definitely SEO rules for content that are worth following, but you still need to know how to write. Weaving keyword phrases into copy without sounding stilted takes training and a fair amount of effort, but it gets results.

Stephan Miller

The SEO work that your visitor's can do for you is sometimes better than what you can do yourself. And you trigger this with great content.


Seems that a lot of businesses and independents are looking for the magic pill but in reality getting your site noticed takes practice in this space and having content (like you say) that people want to read.

Michael Benidt

The comment about David selling his book on this site astonishes me. We read a lot of blogs that offer only blogwash and blogpitch - and NO CONTENT. I'd say that being one of the few voices to question the typical SEO tripe you get at every turn on the Internet is pretty good content - and that's just this post. Here's another of the lone voices, John Dvorak of PC Magazine, on SEO bunk - http://tinyurl.com/SEOFiascoes

I'm not offended by the offer of his book - heck, I may even buy it. I'm offended by fake expertise, bait and switch and false promises - not an open and honest offer.


I agree with the main point of your post, Dave. But, I have to say that we need to look at SEO effectiveness from both short-term and long-term perspective.

In the short-term, applying SEO techniques (either white-hat or black-hat) could temporarily boost Search Engine ranking even if the content is crappy or not-so-good. The problem is that in the long term, your search ranking will not be sustainable if you have crappy content.

To build a long-term, sustainable business, one needs to have top-notch, valuable content first. Applying SEO techniques would be "ice on the cake".



David, what about the bunch of companies that offer SEO services and actually don't know how to format the HTML pages? Two points I have:
1. You are the best SEO company for your web site
2. Get creative with your content. Don't just rewerite your old TV ads and put them on the web.
Good that you are pointing this out!

Jerry Smith

Hallelujah. Thanks for posting such common sense. It has always seemed to me that SEO is kept as some sort of dark art by those who practice a game of "out fox Google" when the best way to get your site noticed is produce really valuable content. I am sure there are site designs that help but I love that you are taking this line.
Google's success relies on it finding great content on sites so putting great content on your site would seem to be the best way to get their attention. Thanks!

Tom Gray

"Go to Google and do a search for the important phrases that your buyers are using to find organizations like yours."

The problem with this is that we sometimes don't listen to how our customers describe their needs so what we search on is the high fallutin', techspeak, marketing speak gobbledygook that we use to describe what our products or services do to justify the money they'll spend (kind of like the seo firms you described.) What we need to do is engage in active listening with our customers. When prospects call in, ask the receptionist to keep a log of the words and phrases they use to describe their problem. If you're a physical therapist and people call in because their "shoulder hurts" am I better off optimizing my site for 'shoulder pain' or rotator cuff injuries. Unless I treat baseball pitchers as part of my practice, I'd say 'shoulder pain'.

Capturing the verbal interactions between your employees and 'civilians' in any setting will serve to help you understand the language you need to speak to get your message found online.


I wish I could add to that, David, but you pretty succinctly summed up the cold, hard facts and left the, uh...crap out of your post ;-)

Steve Buchholz

David: Thanks for responding. Of course you want people to buy I your book. I do too. If it comes even close in quality to "The New Rules," it will be a bargain at twice its price.

It just seems like your recent posts have been excuses to promote the book rather than being designed to deliver solid content for the sake of good content.

David Meerman Scott

Tom, You are absolutely right and I missed that in my original post. You've got to know what terms your BUYERS are searching on, not what the product managers and marketers think (but don't know for sure) that people are searching on.

David Meerman Scott

Steve, I'm sorry that you feel that way, but it is not my intention at all.

There is no way that I write a post thinking about how it will sell books. I write valuable content and if I can link to one of my books somewhere, I do.

Last week I was in Eastern Europe giving some keynote speeches. I think it is cool and so do many readers who reached out to me, that "New Rules" is published in 23 languages including Lithuanian, Turkish, and Latvian (countries I visited last week).

To link to my books in those languages in the posts I did last week is what was on my mind last week that I wanted my readers to know about. This was NOT something I dreamed up just to sell a few books in Turkey, Latvia, and Lithuania...

Tom Gray


This is like any other medium. If you don't like the content, change the channel or skip it. You sound awfully petulant over what's basically a guy spending a few words promoting his new book. Of course he should use HIS blog to promote HIS new book. It's the royalties from that and related revenue that affords him the luxury of creating all the killer, free content that you're now bemoaning the lack of ...

Get over it.



Sean Hecking

I agree with your thoughts on SEO for crap sites. I think few people understand how influential things like design, good usability and branding play on the success of SEO. I feel as though clients with strong brands, good design and usability are the best clients. Their sites seem much easier to gain links and promote as a result.

Louise Desmarais

As an SEO writer, I clearly explain what tactics I will use on my clients' sites. And while this may lead to the thought that they could be doing it themselves, the truth is they don't have the time or the inclination. By helping clients understand SEO better, they feel involved and more on top of things. They can follow the progress, and see that positive things are happening. Then they know their money has been invested wisely.

On the Money

Like most other comment writers, I agree! It is extraordinary the amount of blogs dedicated to rechurning the same myths about social networking sites, SEO voodoo, etc. Nice one!

Stacy Lukas

David, this is one of the many reasons why I like you so much. You tell it like it is and aren't afraid of tainting your own SEO by having titles like, "SEO and your crap-filled site." I love it. Keep it up.

Jared Young

Getting more visitors won't do a thing if you don't have anything of value to keep them on your site. Yes, good SEO can indeed help generate more visitors. But good content will generate more sales.


Good content. Just wanted to add some points here that may be helpful for those looking out for professional SEO services. There are tons of SEO companies offering different SEO packages and solutions at highly competitive rates. However, when looking our for these services, its important to not only look at the affordability factor but also what is unique about their SEO service and what differentiates them from other companies.

While choosing an SEO company its equally important to analyze the SEO company's website in terms of their Rankings, Yahoo links, Google index, Alexa ranking and similar such factors which indicates the company's expertise in the field of SEO. So make sure you are doing enough research and smart work before investing your advertising spend.

seo company Los Angeles

How can it help you get a top rank in search engines? In the web world, everything is relative. You can have good content on your site but a bad navigation can be the biggest turn-off for your visitor and vice-versa. To understand how SEO works for writing, let us concentrate on the basic features of SEO.


John R. Sedivy

I have found SEO to be a mixed bag. I completely agree that content should be first and foremost - delivery of solid content is really the reason the site is there in the first place - to give the potential buyer confidence in your abilities which will hopefully lead to a sale. On the other hand, SEO, if implemented properly can boost your traffic. However SEO without content will just provide you with traffic without any follow through.

Interestingly enough I have found that one of the more difficult tasks is convincing a potential client that basic SEO techniques without content is worthless. Sometimes this involves leaving money on the table - but so be it, it's the ethical thing to do and better in the long term.

Charlie Madison

Hi Dave, I agree with the thing that you said in the post. It is right that many people are thinking egoistical making their sites reflecting their ego thinking. You said is true. Thanks.

Charlie Madison

website seo services

I agree with what you are saying, the only way to create high search engine results is to create great content that people want to link to.thank you for posting.


SEO Company India

Smart post!from now on i will try those tips, very informative thanks for sharing.

SEO Services

Really interesting. I look forward to hearing more about your research and I am looking forward to reading the article.

SEO Company India

Very nice blog.As an SEO writer, I clearly explain what tactics I will use on my clients' sites. And while this may lead to the thought that they could be doing it themselves, the truth is they don't have the time or the inclination

Seo Company

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seo philippines

I agree with you that the only way to create high search engine results is to create great content that people want to link to.and this is one of the things we prioritize. Thanks for sharing this.


Seo Firm

Good info article. Content on your site must be relevant to your target audience. Social media and SEO analytics can tell you what content is most important to your audience. This is data you can use to create content for your end customer. Content on your site needs to meaningful, relevant and useful. Great content is rewarded by search engine rankings.

WealthNet Partners

Here's the thing. Great content is awesome and linkable and all that jazz, but if you don't have someone that understands how to market that great content in order to get the links you want, you have nothing but dead weight.

Link Building

Excellent post. SEO can be quite tricky and tedious. One would really need to hire someone who knows how to do SEO well if they want their site to be SEO-friendly. However, they can also train and learn simple techniques themselves if they want to.

seo optimization

I do not agree at all.... What is a good content??? Its just optimization of keywords? I have seen many sites with rubbish spam content coming on the google top rankings. I could give you tons of example here. There is nothing called as natural link building. All link buildings are SEO......

Jonas Hastings

I totally agree it is extra ordinary dedicated about the social networking sites..
Thanks for sharing :)

seo reseller program

This is what an seo is. your article sounds interesting.

SEO Services india

Great tips for optimization, it's good post. Thanks for telling some of your knowledge knowledge in SEO.


That’s great! I just tried it out and already found a new domain. It’s a really quick search. Thanks!

Seo Agency

Content is more important than SEO more than ever in 2011 because Google is emphasizing quality over content. Sites which republish content (content farms, article directories) have lost significant rankings.

seo reseller

Make the page for the users and not for the search engines alone. Even if your site is ranking, nobody would stay more than a minute if you have crap content.

Perth web design

I always advice people to remember that content is always king, so make your own material and don't steal from anybody. Thanks.


I actually read two articles today that made me want to go on a full blown rant but fortunately for you guys I only have time to do one. The first article was about a bunch of bull about “holistic SEO“ and how links don’t matter nearly as much as SEOs give them credit.

Web Design Kent

"Performing search engine optimization on a crap-filled site just makes it slightly less crappy."

This has to be sentence of the century!

Existenzgruender Webseite

It belonged to a business based in Portugal; the site was designed by a web design company based in Portugal, but their business is registered outside of Portugal.

Best SEO Company

If there's an award for the best-written blog post title, this should surely be a nominee. The post doesn't even need to be read to be understood, appreciated and sticky. Just brilliant.

Oh, and I haven't read it yet (I will) but I just had to dash off this comment while the big smile was still on my face.

Zhiyu Yan

I am now a marketing analytics student, I learned some skills about the SEO, and one of my course requires our project team to set up a blog, in which using "Wpaboli" and "Bkrungu" as the keywords to apply the SEO skills. There is our blog: http://wpabolibkrungu2013.wordpress.com/ , we set it up yesterday, so can you just give us some advice to improve the rank in the google search result? Many thanks!

Hire SEO Professionals

I really enjoyed to read this article. It is a great article and i am very impressed with this information. I would like to thank you for sharing such a useful information.

Joseph Ratliff

I just checked the linked blog of one "Steve Buchholz"... who complained about David's "promotion" of his book in this post (related content recommendation ISN'T the same as promotion by the way, Steve).

It is in "blog graveyard" with the last post, ironically, in 2009. David's is still alive and well.

I bring this up not to pick on Steve, but to point out an important point about content marketing, publish GREAT content, and don't be afraid to mention your products and services appropriately (like when they'll help the reader further, as David has in this very post).

You get all the sales you ask for, and none that you don't.

That applies to content marketing (and SEO) as well.


I almost never drop remarks, but i did some searching and wound up here Web Ink Now: SEO and your crap filled site. And I do have a couple of questions for you iif it's allright. Could it be only me or does it seem like a few of these comments come across as if they are left by brain dead visitors? :-P And, if you are writing at other social sites, I would like to keep up with anything fresh you have to post. Could you make a list of all of your communal sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

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