“SEO.”

We really don’t like the term around here because it can mean many things to many different people.

Say SEO to one person and they will have a set of preconceptions, say SEO to another person and they will have a completely different set of preconceptions.

Naturally, this creates a lot of confusion.

This word baggage makes it nearly impossible to have an intelligent and clear conversation without a “what type of SEO are we discussing here” disclaimer at the start.

Here at Digital Flavor, we’ve been looking for smarter ways to clarify the word with prospects and even clients because the phrase “search engine optimization” has been flung around for too long and now it’s too vague. Because of this, it carries around with it lots of preconceived notions, most being at least inaccurate and misleading.

Attmepting to clarify what is meant by the words isn’t new. There have been attempts at more accurate labels in the past by various experts. Specifically, black-hat vs. white-hat ended up being thrown around a lot.

Here’s what generally meant by the white-hat vs. black-hat distinction:

  • Black-hat SEO generally means manipulating search engine results in whatever way that works right now even if it violates Google’s quality guidelines.
  • White-hat SEO generally means following the rules and optimizing content around keywords in a way that does not violate Google’s quality guidelines.

But the white-hat vs. black-hat distinction doesn’t provide real clarity in 2014 because the phrases were invented before content marketing entered into the picture. As a result , whenever the word “SEO” is thrown around, there is automatically a cloud of confusion that comes with it. After all, what are you referring to specifically?

Redefining SEO…finally

SEO that works in the long-term has nearly boiled down to simply creating great content, but doing it in a way that maximizes it’s potential to gain favor with search engines.

Because of this major change, we’ve been talking about redefining what SEO means to us here at Digital Flavor to encompass this shift in thinking. Recently we’ve come across 2 infographics, both coming from fresh thinking companies, that are attempting to redefine what SEO means. This requires creating new words that are free of the clutter of the past.

Our good friends over at Copyblogger are now calling SEO OC/DC or optimizing content for discovery and conversion, and our friends over at Positionly are now calling SEO “New SEO.”

Both of these are attempts at erasing a somewhat ugly SEO past and starting fresh with an updated perspective.

Both companies have made very descriptive infographics to nail down exactly what they mean. Check them out and pay close attention to the distinctions they provide.

SEO OC/DC

SEO is Dead - Infographic

SEO New SEO

SEO is Dead - Infographic

So is SEO dead or what?

The process of creating content in a smart way that optimizes your chances to be seen with search engines is definitely not dead, and probably never will be. So technically, no, SEO is not dead. But to us, the term “SEO” as it is referred to from outdated ways of thinking, is definitely dead.

So we’re upgrading semantics that will include new ways of thinking about SEO. SEO 2.0 is what we’re calling it here at Digital Flavor, and we’ll have much more to say about this in the near future.

Ps. Looking for another top-notch infographic? Check out this one which describes inbound marketing very well.