The title of this article “what SEO tactics will work in 2018?” is a tease – I did it to get your attention.
Because the answer is NONE.
And it’s vital for your future online presence that you get this right (even if your reading this in 2019 or later).
I founded a software company in 1999, Accountz.com.
By 2009 I was still struggling to make the company work.
So I decided to become a marketing guru, specialising in SEO.
Like everyone else I knew the basics. I’d been ranking sites since my first Apricote.com in 1996 (sold along with the company I formed back then – Apricote Studios).
I struggled like hell to get my new company to rise up the charts.
And as my rather grey hat tactics turned greyer, I did start getting increased results.
Private Blog Networks were very private back then (in fact the term hadn’t even been coined – although the practice was well known in secret circles).
The Circle of Influence strategy using structured tiered networks and so called web 2.0 sites was all the rage in the SEO underworld (some people were paying $25k to attend seminars on how to implement it).
But by 2011 Google had woken up to just about every spammy technique on the planet and had finally started to make serious in-roads to fixing it.
By 2012, sites that displayed any aspects of dodgy SEO tactics started to be hit.
And I don’t mean just spammy sites, I mean major serious sites from large corporations.
We were like lemmings.
If you wanted to compete online for organic traffic, then you had better damn well compete! – and that included anything SEO.
There was one thing though, that I would never compromise on – and that was the quality of our articles (that was my only smart move).
Great content is the line that must never be crossed.
You are either putting out great content and building your brand and business or you are putting out trash and letting the whole world know you don’t care about your reputation or your customers (what do all those Taboola ads say about the people who allow them on their sites).
So it was the grey tactics I did to support the articles that got us penalised by Google. And our main site suffered an almost overnight loss of 30% organic traffic.
It took 6 months of work to get most of our placements back, and 12 months to recover all the traffic.
And from that point onwards I vowed never to be involved in any dodgy or even remotely dodgy SEO practices again – and I’ve stuck to it.
And yet despite this, so called SEO gurus are STILL recommending and selling crappy SEO tactics as services.
The point I have stressed over and over again is that Google want to stay in business, and they will only do so if they stop the spam.
What that means is they are determined to stamp out any and all gaming of the system.
When an SEO expert comes to you and asks for a list of keywords, they’ve already made the first mistake.
You’re business was never about keywords. Keywords are meaningless.
And that’s because keywords need context.
Context can be put into a single sentence, but it’s still not good enough – and certainly not good enough for Google.
It’s why Google understand Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) long before any of us had heard of it, let alone understood it.
They were already hard at work engineering machine learning and artificial intelligence machines way before they became buzzwords.
And it’s not surprising. Google employs more PhD engineers than any other company – even Facebook (Google employs 72,000 people, Facebook employs 17,000).
In 2016 Google announced their experimental engine RankBrain was online.
This was a game changer for content. They had harnessed the power of patterns and machine learning to understand in detail better than any human how web pages and links worked in the natural (ie. real) world.
And more importantly, how it worked in the unnatural (ie. spammy) world.
That’s when it really hit me that Google needed a foolproof way to only rank great content that people wanted to read. Great content that answered whatever was being searched for – without wasting the searcher’s time.
And I noticed articles I had previously written, that had never been search engine optimised start ranking – and ranking therefore for all the right reasons.
Which meant I needed to investigate what on earth was going on.
It was at this time that I started putting together a blueprint to help others do this research too.
That blueprint became SEO Expert – a 30 day beginner to expert course.
And it was during the writing of that course, and realising just how time consuming the research was, that I came up with an idea for some software to automate the process.
And so SEO Roadmaps was born.
12 months later, in September 2017, the app was ready and being used to create SEO roadmaps for our own content.
And with the success of that, we decided to open it up to a small number of external serious content writers as well.
Today you can hire us to fulfil all your serious content work, or you can subscribe to the SEO Roadmaps app up until our charter member quota is reached.
But whether you do or don’t, the one thing you must absolutely NOT do in 2018 and beyond is resort to any SEO tactics at all that do not involve the most important principle of all – Only Write and Publish Great Content.
Anything less lets everyone down at every level. I know that sounds all preachy, but it’s the principle on which we stand – and which Google has shown us just happens to work as well.
Thank you for reading.