As someone who has been working in SEO for about five years now, I have heard the phrase “SEO is dead” countless times. But recently, in March of 2014, Copyblogger’s resident “SEO guy” Sean Jackson declared that SEO is now dead. He instead offers up the term OC/DC as an alternative. No, not the AC/DC tribute band from Orange County, California. OC/DC stands for Optimizing Content for Discovery and Conversion, what has already been the heart of true content marketing.
So why does he, an SEO guy of all people, want SEO to die? Technically, it’s only the term itself he wants to die. OC/DC is a term that far better describes what you should be doing in your content marketing efforts. Optimization for search is only a part of what you should be doing. With all of the negative connotations that SEO has been gaining in recent years, and especially in recent months, a lot of people are steering away from it due to the negative connotations that Search Engine Optimization has garnered.
Jackson’s point is that the true mission of content marketing should be primarily about the content itself and how well it converts visitors into leads and customers. Obviously, big marketing firms like HubSpot have been preaching this for years, and extolling the virtues of focusing on your social media presence and continuously pumping out quality content.
Yet, many people still believe that SEO is all about ranking #1 on Google. Obviously, Google traffic is wonderful to have, but it is not the be-all end-all of anything. Just because you rank #1 or #2 or even #3 on a search engine like Google doesn’t mean that your content is useful. If anything, it just makes search engines look bad for being allowed to be taken advantage of by clever “black-hat” SEO wizards that can crack the codes of the search engine algorithms.
So people aren’t 100% wrong about SEO. This is why Jackson offered up this new acronym.
The Copyblogger infographic outlines what OC/DC really means. As Jackson said in his article, the term “SEO” has been used far too many times to describe activities that have had nothing to do with content marketing whatsoever. Despite possibly artificially increasing rankings due to questionable tactics, it doesn’t actually help anyone in the long run. With everyone so obsessed over SEO being all about rankings, most people have lost what it was originally about, content marketing, and this new term brings us back to that.
First and foremost, OC/DC focuses on having a “fast and flexible” website with useful content and a design that is optimized for conversions. You want people that find your content useful to be able to sign up to get more of it right away. Responsive design websites are crucial to this, as Jackson notes, so that you have one website and not separate ones for desktop and mobile (or, eek, not one for mobile at all!) You also want to make sure your website loads quickly. A slow-moving website might as well be a website that no one sees.
However, this does not mean you still shouldn’t focus on getting high-quality links to your site. In fact, getting this authority is more important than ever. However, it is important to be highly strategic in acquiring these links. Not only do you want links from high-quality sites in your industry and related industries, but high-traffic sites, as well, for better conversion rates. Also, great content still will not always get you to page one on Google, Bing, etc. by itself – so the trick is now to focus on keyword context, not just stuffing keywords into articles just to possibly help your ranking.
As any other good content marketing firm will tell you, another major part of OC/DC is of course creating the quality content and building a community around it on social media. Social interactions with your content make more people trust you more and more, and lead to better conversion rates. Also, syndicating your content is still a great strategy, as well, as it improves both your trustworthiness in your fields and your search engine rank authority.
The future of SEO is OC/DC, whether the term catches on or not. But the core values of what makes “white-hat” SEO – the good guys – still remain exactly the same. Only the focus has changed, from rankings to actionable content. Join the OC/DC revolution today, as we have at 118group, and let’s get to make some awesome content that answers your best potential customers’ burning questions and help you to become the best source for their answers.