SEO January 2, 2021

Don't trust SEO, don't build backlinks

Mart @mart2021

Lessons learnt the hardway...

  1. Don't rely on SEO
  2. Don't build backlinks
  3. Don't rely on search traffic for your primary traffic (consider it as a temporary bonus at best)

If your business relies on SEO to get customers or users or as primary driver for revenue, you are in for trouble. Just a simple algo change by Goog or Bing can put you out of business. (There have been numerous instances of this happening).

Your business is at the mercy of G&B once you rely on SEO.

If you are starting to build backlinks to your website, consider this: (a) is this going to be of value add to your users or (b) is it solely for G&B to increase your search rank. If the latter, then all you are doing is polluting the internet with useless links for machines to crawl.

Do consider:

  1. Direct visits to your website as most importantsource of traffic (don't have to rely on 3rd party like G&B)

  2. App installs; once your app gets on your customer's phone, you can keep updating it, sending notifications etc. (still a minor risk, since relying on 3rd party app stores)

  3. Have your user signup and provide value add for signing up & logging in. This will decouple your traffic from G&B.

  4. Reach out to users directly and have them sign-up (relevant forums, mailing lists, followers etc.)

  1. 25

    Don't trust SEO

    This is a very naive statement.

    It sounds like you got burned, which happens often, but every marketing channel has risks. Developing multiple channels is good, but SEO is one of the best, most power long-term traffic drivers when done right.

    That said, things like buying backlinks or stuffing your content with keywords doesn't work anymore. You have to legitimately create best in class content on your niche, share it organically, and create value for readers.

    My only gripe with SEO as a channel is that it takes years, and most startups can't wait that long to get their first few customers. Once you have some revenue though, it's well worth investing in.

  2. 6

    Ok so you're obviously in some kind of rant here, but I feel it's important to point out a few things to get you back on track and help others.

    Don't rely on SEO
    Don't build backlinks
    Don't rely on search traffic for your primary traffic (consider it as a temporary bonus at best)

    I would rephrase the first point as don't rely *solely* on SEO .
    The second point is blatantly false and bad advice.
    The third point is more or less like the first one.

    If your business relies on SEO to get customers or users or as primary driver for revenue, you are in for trouble. Just a simple algo change by Goog or Bing can put you out of business. (There have been numerous instances of this happening).

    That's correct but your conclusion isn't. No one ever said you should do only SEO.

    I'm an advocate of the 3-tier traffic, here's what you should be aiming for :
    screenshot

    33% organic traffic
    33% referring sites (social medias & blogs etc)
    33% direct (brand)

    That's an ideal obviously don't freak out if you're not like this but keep that in mind as a rule of thumb that's the direction you would like to go to.

    If you are starting to build backlinks to your website, consider this: (a) is this going to be of value add to your users or (b) is it solely for G&B to increase your search rank. If the latter, then all you are doing is polluting the internet with useless links for machines to crawl.

    That's not correct and if you go down that naive road you will miss out on a ton of SEO value. The link industry is huge and no, not every link is there to help the users. That's what Google is trying to push you towards because they don't want you to rank, they want you to pay ads but that's just not the case in the real life.

    tl;dr

    • SEO is just like any other marketing channel. No channel should be your only lead source
    • The only exception to that first rule is when you're starting out and it's important to mention that here as a lot of products on IH are in the early stage. That's okay if you begin with one marketing channel and focus on that first. But as soon as you have more resources to tackle different channels at the same time, diversify !
    • Build backlinks. But if you don't know how to, then maybe don't as it can do more harm than good. Learn about it or feel free to reach me or post on IH SEO group for help if you're unsure.
    • Don't fear Google updates. That's the game, some lose some win, if you lose then learn why and fix it up, that's not the end of the world.

    I'll stop there as it's already a massive block of text but really @mart2021 (and others) feel free to post on IH SEO group and I'll be happy to help.

  3. 3

    Hey Mart,

    Personally I've performed SEO work for many clients over the years and always found it to be a fantastic marketing channel.

    I'd absolutely agree with you on one front, which is you are not fully in control of it, Google can change their algorithm and you can bet they will, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't use SEO, it just means shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket if you want to build a resilant marketing strategy.

    You SHOULD build backlinks (the operative word being BUILD, don't ever buy backlinks), but you need to build the right backlinks, the right way — that means getting people to organically link to and share your content by creating great content for your users.

    You always want to make sure your backlinks are high-quality, meaning from a trusted sources/domains that are relevant to your industry, otherwise it could indeed hurt your ranking, but good backlinks are essential to SEO.

    SEO is just one tool, but it's a powerful one and you need to know how to use it.

    As much as SEO has changed over the last decade, things like creating valuable, well-structured content that is delivered in a technically performant, secure and user-friendly way, are evergreen.

    Like good tea, good SEO takes time, if you want to build solid rankings that are more resiliant you need to play the long game, keep it whitehat and don't try to "game" the system, because it will only give you short-term wins at best.

  4. 3

    Thanks Mart, agree 100% with what you say.

    I lived it myself some years ago when a change in Google Play algorithm ranking put my app off the top listings.

    Here is explained in my post shorturl.at/bowQ4

    Br.
    Ricardo

    1. 2

      That was a good read, had read your post earlier!

  5. 3

    I would extend this to any form of platform. If apple/google decides to change app store policies or create a competitior app you are similarly screwed. Same with fb/twitter apis.

    1. 1

      Agreed, there has been a history of these stores doing this (blocking competing apps).

  6. 2

    This is very very statement.
    Thanks 👍 so much

  7. 1

    great title but... dude

  8. 1

    Hmmmm... the "it didn't work for me so it won't work for you" when n=1 is... not ideal.

    Tell me more about what happened. What's your site?

  9. 1

    Is there any acquisition channel that is not relying on third party platforms, companies or people?

    Sure, algorithms can change quickly. But so can click-costs for Facebook ads or percentages paid to affiliate networks.

    Also, if done right, SEO helps you to create traffic sources that keep on bringing in new potential customers, even if not every action has an effect on your search engine rankings.

  10. 1

    SEO is only one of marketing tactic, but SEO is doing great for thousands of SEO specicialist, so I guess you just don't have enough expertise in SEO.
    In seo, need to try-try-try-fail-try-try to get success

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