Matt Kelly is the associate editor of the Daily Mirror and he famously knocked the entire SEO industry recently when he declared that SEO consultants should be knocked down a peg or two, and that companies should ignore SEO in favour of building websites for real people.
Matt has been rewarded for his stance against SEO by heading up the Trinity Mirror websites, which includes the Mirror’s own mirror.co.uk and other websites.
Matt criticised SEO stating:
In our great frantic headlong rush to accumulate users at any cost, many of us were all too quick to sacrifice anything that stood in the way of search engine optimisation.
The game is up. The days of leading the newspaper industry by the hand, down the path of mythic riches, are coming to a rapid close.
He added that website owners should:
…build sites that perform well for humans, not search engines is one change necessary to reverse the damage we’ve done to ourselves in the last 15 years of the internet.
So is what Matt Kelly said accurate? Should we be forgoing SEO in favour of our readers?
In a sense it is, but only if you consider the form of SEO that outdated SEO companies are practicing. The Mirror’s websites are all content rich, featuring regular updates throughout the day. This is exactly what readers, and Google, want to see.
If you separate SEO and your intended audience you’ll be failing in your SEO efforts. The two should never be at odds with each other, quite the opposite. So Kelly may have dismissed the effectiveness of SEO, but he’s clearly talking about the older forms of SEO that ignored real people and existed purely for rankings, regardless of effective traffic, conversions and repeat visitors. SEO isn’t just a ‘rankings at all costs’ belief, it’s the whole package of building a website so that it works for search engines, people and conversions alike.
Some SEO companies still practice the old SEO techniques that are at odds with your intended customers, and these should be avoided.
Of course, Matt Kelly’s very statement about knocking SEO has proven to be a genius SEO strategy in itself. He’s stirred up the whole SEO community and generated hundreds and thousands of forum posts, blog posts and news articles all talking about what he has said, and the Daily Mirror’s website – the essence of SEO.