Busting the SEO Buzz Phrases


Sarah Oxley

Technical SEO

Anyone in SEO knows what a fast paced industry it is, and while this pace is part of the appeal, it also requires methods and tactics to be abbreviated via buzz phrases.

On the one hand these buzz phrases are quite useful  (to avoid having to explain the same concept each time), on the other hand they get a bit tedious and can be confusing, as the concept behind them evolves but the buzz phrase remains the same.

With recent updates from Link Love 2013, I thought it would be good to take a closer look at the currently most popular buzz phrases, and see what this means for the future of off-page SEO.

Content Is King

This phrase is probably the most famous in SEO, and the oldest one which is still relevant. While it is a pretty straight forward phrase, it has changed over the years, and so is worth analysing.

Last year, for example, when SEOs discussed “Content is King” the majority were referring to creating quality content which bloggers would be interested in putting on their blog in form of a guest post (Not a sponsored post, a guest post- big and important difference).

And while content was a big focus, it wasn’t the only focus. Things like C-blocks, IP Addresses, and anchor text all played a significant role.

The advice from this years Link Love is to stop worrying about these matters aka stop thinking like an SEO and start thinking like a PR. These aren’t brand new revelations, but ones which are still in the process of being completely adopted by the industry.

So, what does this mean for “Content Is King”?

  • Worry less about SEO metrics and more about clients marketing communications
  • How does the client engage with their audience and how can we as SEOs contribute or expand on this communication
  • Use the clients marketing communication tools, such as their blog to host content and interact with their audience
  • Research the industry and competitors
    • How are they engaging with the audience, what content are they using, how can we improve on this
    • What is the big thing in your clients industry (Is it SEO buzz phrases?)

Once you understand what everyone is talking about, it’s important to add something new or put your own spin on the story for “Content Is King” to be achieved.

  • The golden rule of this buzz phrase in future will be the same as the golden rule of writing:

“Write what you know”

(Another buzz phrase, I know. Couldnt resist)

For example, if you’re a big fan of rugby and know your stuff, why not compare this to your industry.

“Build Relationships, not links”

This phrase is being praised as a new concept, but it has been used in SEO ever since Panda. Its been around so much that SEO experts are getting a bit tired of it, as the buzz phrase is losing its meaning due to being used out of context.

This is why I thought this buzz phrase needed looking at, aka busting.

  • Build relationships and keep relationships, but remember what this relationship is for
  • Relationships are an important part of your outreach, but not the only part of your outreach
    • The content still needs to be good (or king)
    • Relationships need to give and take, i.e. exposure and a link for your client, exclusive quotes or research help for the journalist or blogger
    • It’s not just about your relationships
      • Does your client have relationships, i.e. work with a charity or university. Is there a way to work together to create an important feature about the relationship

Don’t get lost in the thrill of collecting contacts, and remember how you and the contacts can benefit from the relationship.

  • The golden rule of this buzz phrase for SEOs is: use these relationships with your content

“Black VS White Hat SEOs”

Black hat and white hat used to be a useful way of distinguishing between SEO agencies, and their methods.

There is the moral argument, but as Dr. Pete from SEO Moz discusses, I’d rather take that out of the equation for now (else it will turn into a blame game) and simply focus on the buzz phrase.

White, black and even grey hats are bound to still be used to describe and distinguish between agencies, but I agree with Dr. Pete that the terms are becoming out-dated.

As mentioned at Link Love 2013 and by Dr. Pete, the future of SEO is in the long term tactics and changing from thinking like SEOs and more like Online Content Marketers or Digital PRs.

Once the focus on content, relationships and long term has been taken on board by the majority of agencies, there may well be a time to distinguish between them by referring to white or black hat again, or by then we may have a different buzz phrase.

Whatever the future holds, don’t forget to keep an eye on buzz phrases and how their meanings and focus change with the industry.