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Only OLD SEO Dead 
Yesterday I shared some EASY SEO tips. A good friend +Brian Yanish shared a conversation with a designer. When Brian shared my basic building blocks of SEO the designer said he heard SEO was dead.

The designer got it part right. The SEO of winning via optimization is over, gone and dead. This doesn't mean that search engine spiders don't need context because they do. 

The most important contextual tip isn't included here. Title is and will remain the most important signal, but it must be confirmed by body copy, alt text, comments, social signals and links. 

Think of Google as this huge wisdom of crowds now. If you create something that turns the power distribution (the 80/20 rule) on its head such as driving links into your content via artificial means look out. The model knows YOU and has expectations about your websites daily operations. 

The only thing capable of "killing" these SEO basics is the semantic web and we are a LONG way from having siders truly understand context, humor, idiom and emphasis. 

Violate those norms at your own risk, but do inform spiders about what is on tap. How else can they enjoy a cold beer with you? 
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Thanks +Martin W. Smith I can use all the help I can get on the subject.. Keeping content current and properly formatted will be my goal. So much to learn!! 
Frank makes another VERY important point. The NEW SEO is all about QDF (Quality Deserves Freshness). This requires a rethink about evergreen content, the content you put up two years ago that is still ranked. 

I STRONGLY suggest adding reviews and comments since a little User Generated Content can go a long way to keeping a piece LIVE for the Google spider. 

The other thing I would share in response to Frank's note is I agree AWESOME content is magical. I write daily and about 2% of what I write goes mega-viral (potential views above 200,000 thanks to power Retweeters and Google +ers like Mark). 

I felt bad about this. Seth Godin sneezes and it goes mega-viral, but I know Seth Godin and I am no Seth Godin (lol). I've studied my mega-viral posts and here is what I've learned:

* Short (500 words or less) beats long. 
* HEADLINE - first test of mega-viral content is always a grabber headline and research on these suggests topical and positive bet negative and scary (though they too work sometimes). 
* HOT TOPICS are key, surf the waves as David Meerman Scott suggests in his books NewsJancking and New Rules of PR.
* PICTURES and VISUALS - when in doubt create a cool infographic.
* VIDEO - I've yet to have a video go mega-viral but its there waiting to happen because video skims on the web's surface via embed code.  

So, long answer to YES great content helps :). M 
SEO is a feature, but not a benefit. Instead of focusing on rankings, focus instead on the end results that matter: traffic, sales, leads, conversations. Then work backwards to see how your numbers improved. A No. 1 ranking in Google doesn't mean squat if it's not helping you improve your bottom line.
Steve is right. SEO is a means to a greater end that is what Google is attempting to set right with Panda and Penguin after years of creating a way too self referential game. 

Where I part with Steve's intelligent organization is I have NEVER seen a top ranking NOT also produce money. Traffic is a money proxy. I've NEVER been able to convince CFOs that, given all things continuing on the modeled road we are on, I will always take a RAW traffic increase over NOT. 

The tricky part is Google enhances their view of you when raw traffic goes up. Even if you destroy some level of your over all conversion (say a quarter point), the money to the bank went up because, again all things being equal, you are still converting x% of that traffic. 

AND, Google's re-valuation of your site (assuming bounce rates didn't go to crap) provides long term benefits. You have to use the More, Faster, Better law of course (i.e. NEVER go backwards), but Google will love you long time and that is worth something, worth a lot actually. 

Like I said, I've never been able to get a financial person to understand this level of online arbitrage. For them costs are always either variable or fixed. Online costs float in the moment and return always goes to the swift, smart and scaled. 
Martin has some valid points, but I learned something over the years. Let's walk down the street and visit every business along the way. If we ask them, "what do you want to see happen or do with your business in 2013?" not one of them will say "I want to be ranked higher in Google" or "I want to apply honest SEO tactics to my website. Instead, what we'll hear are various versions of "I want my business to grow."

Then, we can talk about their website, traffic, leads, sales, conversions, SEO, paid search, social media, content marketing, etc.

Overall, for a lot of businesses, the term "SEO" should be dead. It's either a term business owners don't understand and/or they've been burned by snail oil SEO that they don't want to have anything to do with it again.

Good conversation and good points Martin.

You too Steve. I hear you too. Have even written about the death of SEO. Great weekend. Marty 
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