The key to being found online may soon depend on work, not wizardry

You may have read that Facebook has overhauled how it ranks the posts, videos and photos that appear in its users’ News Feeds, introducing major changes designed to put what friends and family have to say first.

wizardIn short, you’ll see more posts from friends that have spurred lively debates in the comments. And you’ll see fewer ‘cooking videos’ from brands and publications. Prioritizing what your friends and family share is part of an effort by Facebook to help people spend time on the site in what it thinks is a more meaningful way.

The changes are reflecting other moves by the online giants that will make things harder for businesses using Search Engine Optinisation to get their messages out there online.

One poster put this on LinkedIn, summarising the choices for businesses.

“SEO is dead. Google doesn’t care about your optimized blog post. And Amazon isn’t fooled by your search ranking hacks. If you’re thinking about paying someone to teach you SEO -Don’t.

Save your money. It’s ancient history. You’ll be a 21st-century dinosaur.

What, then? Content. The kind of stuff people actually love reading: — Because it offers real, actionable value — Because they’ll tell all their friends about it — Because it’s just too damn interesting to click away from.

And social media. Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest. Putting yourself and your work out there in a genuine, human way.

And finally, good ‘ole fashioned paid advertising done right – Ads with punchy copy selling real products that solve real problems.

Where to start? Learn from people who are doing it successfully. Keep coming up with new and creative ideas. Refine and clarify your message– Until you build a real following.

The catch? A classroom won’t teach you how to do it. And there are no shortcuts. You’ll have to put in the hours.”

I have always been suspicious of those who promised to game the search engines to get clients to the top of Google. Partly because -in the old days at least – it was like cheating.

And partly because those selling it made it out to be some kind of mystic art – usually the sure sign of a con.

Whatever we think of the constant Google  rule changes and the latest move from Facebook, you can be pretty sure that those who rely on decent content to develop their network will be better off than those who have given money to SEO optimisation firms.

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