I wrote an article for the Spring edition of Search Marketing Standard, in which I coined the term MAD SEO, which stands for Moderation and Diversity. Because the editors wanted a short summary type article, I didn't list the many aspects of Internet marketing that have woven their way into SEO's lives over the last few years. The polls you've been taking over the last week here, have been an attempt to both list some of those diverse SEO tactics, as well as gauge whether or not we are actually using them. Some of the feedback I received from the polls were along the lines of "Gee thanks, Donna, for pointing out all the things I'm NOT doing!". My response to that is "Hey, don't feel bad. I don't cover all that ground either!"
Although the polls didn't receive as many responses as would be ideal, I think we've gotten enough to be able to make some general statements. Most people are still doing what they've always done, or at least they believe that the most important things to do are the same ones they've always believed to be important. Create compelling content, and acquire relevant, trusted backlinks. (Actually, the relevance and trusted part of that is somewhat newish in the scheme of things).
If SEOs are not yet focusing on things like distributing content via feeds, writing press releases, linkbaiting, local search, conversions, PPC, podcasts, video, and measuring ROI, then why are these tactics being discussed ad nauseum in the SEO blogosphere and forums? Is it only a select few who are utilizing these methods and then discussing them? Is everyone else just assuming that if "they" are doing it, then everyone else must be doing it too?
If most SEOs are not yet "in the game" with these tactics, would it be fair to assume that much of the niche webmaster competition isn't "in the game" either? If you were to pick one or more of these "new" tactics and focused on utilizing it for your niche area of interest, would you be one of the first to do so? Would you then be able to own that area? I think you might.
I've long held the belief that being the first to do something can be the catalyst to increased ranking and increased traffic. Even if others come along later and do it better, you still have the advantage of being the first. Do some research on your competition. Are they utilizing any of the "new" SEO tactics yet? If not, perhaps you should start a new page in your dusty old SEO todo list, and make inroads into some of these new areas. If the search engines notice that your site is garnering attention via these new methods, that attention may contribute to higher rankings. And even if the search engines are not yet using that as an algorithm aspect, you will still be attracting visitors via other avenues. We've all been admonished at one time or another to avoid relying on search engine traffic. Receiving traffic from other areas is a bonus in and of itself. If that traffic is also complemented by an increase in search engine rankings, then you've hit the sweet spot of SEO dreams.
It can be difficult to do something new. Whether we are lazy, confused about how to make use of these new tactics, or just entrenched in our old ways of doing things, it is often hard to step outside our little box and expand horizons. But if you haven't yet added some diverse tactics to your SEO regimen, now is the time to do so. You'll be ahead of the game, and that will make you a leader. Gain advantage in these untapped areas before "everyone else is doing it".
Be diverse. Don't go crazy with any one tactic though. Don't turn a good new idea into spam. Be moderate in whatever new areas you choose to participate in. Combine moderation with diversity and enter the age of MAD SEO.
P.S. Rand over at SEOmoz also has a poll going today that fits right into what I've been doing, so you may want to check that out as well.
P.P.S. I have one extra copy of the spring edition of Search Marketing Standard. If anyone isn't subscribed to it, and would like me to mail them my extra copy, be the first to email me with your address, and I'll get it to you.