For SEO, Read Content Marketing

Two things struck me recently. The first, an email I received from a colleague in Australia back in May to tell me that SEOMoz was now just Moz. SEOMoz was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, online resource for search engine optimization (SEO). With such a powerful reputation and brand built around being the go-to destination on the web for SEO advice and tips, it might seem curious that the company decided to rebrand and drop the SEO from its name.

The other thing that struck me recently was the recent article on ClickZ by Jessica Lee, “Matt Cutts on Links and How to Succeed With Content Marketing.”

The original article that Jessica references, which includes the interview with Matt Cutts, provides compelling reading for those of us who inherently believe that great SEO comes not through manufactured link-building strategies and code-based techniques but rather through publishing great content that people want to engage with (and will naturally link back to).

While the evidence of the success of this more authentic approach is clearly there, I think it has largely passed by the majority of clients I deal with here in Asia. I wonder whether or not that is due to the vested interests of the SEO, search, and media agencies that have historically worked with clients in the area of SEO and have made a lot of money out of their tried-and-tested practices. Has the wool been pulled over the eyes of clients at brands and organizations reliant on natural search as a key traffic driver by their incumbent agencies?

Coming at this subject afresh, from a PR point-of-view, is intriguing from my own personal perspective and is getting a lot of interest from clients. The industry has long ruled the roost when it comes to communicating through influencers, and with the move of PR agencies into the owned media space that I covered in my previous article with their enhanced content production capabilities, PR agencies can offer a perspective to clients that perhaps has been suppressed to date. Leveraging high-ranking influencers on the web and in social with content that rocks is essentially what Matt Cutts is advocating.

Clearly Moz gets it. The company gets it so much it has abandoned its association with SEO as if the acronym has become some kind of profanity and now Moz talks about inbound marketing. And as PR evolves its model from a traditional to a more digitally enabled modus operandi with content operations at its core, so, too, are the other agency disciplines having to evolve their approach. Moz might be one of the first, but it won’t be the last of the big SEO names to disassociate themselves from SEO as a distinct practice and just talk about marketing. With this disassociation will come increased competition and, you would hope, quality in the content marketing space, which has to be a good thing for clients and netizens alike.

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