Why too much SEO / marketing is a waste of time

Working with different business owners and entrepreneurs, many of us see the web like they do: “the more exposure…the better”. Besides, the point of having a website to get exposure…right?

Online marketing and SEO has come a long way. There are so many different activities you can do now to promote yours or your client’s site / product / event / service. It is very easy for SEO to be an addiction. I’m sure many of them look like addicts with the amount of over-promotion they do. I know this because it’s happened to some of my clients and myself.

Are you an SEO / marketing junkie? Here’s what you can do to recover:

Admit there’s a problem

You’re spending countless hours seeking dofollow backlinks to improve Pagerank and your spouse feels like your marriage is with the screen instead of him/her. Think of the situation objectively and try to find the thought chain in why you’re doing in what you’re doing. Here’s an example:

“I’m building great backlinks BECAUSE it will help my client’s business succeed BECAUSE that will lead to my success”

What is ‘success’ and will spending all day marketing it really further business? Is money success? Sure, it’s something that you need, but is the active notion of clicking the “send message” one extra time of so many times really going to further you in life?

Get back to the roots

Think about the fundamental practices and advice people say about SEO / marketing. Try not to get sidetracked from it with some unusual Digital-Pointesque easy-exposure concept.

Content is King and some solid, authentic, white-hat ways to promote it is the way to go. If people like the content on your blog, the concept of the product you’re selling, or your latest design work, they will spread the word through the hundreds of social apps we have now and your manpower will substantially increase. If you’re only one person promoting it and over time it still doesn’t pick up amongst a broad audience, maybe there’s something you should be doing differently. Change the content, write with a different style, or add a feature to the product that will benefit people.

The right mindset

A while back, I was constantly using StumbleUpon in hopes that I’d increase traffic. I realized I was missing the point…entirely. For example, do you enjoy tweeting away messages to people, or do you see it as a way to advertise your blog? Or both? These are both good examples of tools you can use to help share pages that you want to share, but if you’re using it FOR just getting traffic, you’re missing the point. I noticed that when honestly building relationships online, authentically communicating with people without the goal to promote my blog ends up being the people that help me the most – both personally and for business.

There are no loopholes

I worked for an SEO dude in Montreal at one point and he told me that there’s no easy ‘loopholes’ in SEO / marketing. There’s a cost to everything. I chose not to believe him. I believed that back in the day when SEO / online marketing started there may have not been an easy way, but with all this software helping SEO and marketing, there must be something out there that would easily promote my site. I realize it’s actually the opposite. It’s increasingly becoming harder to be found, search engines are a hell of a lot smarter, and the scammy software’s functionality barely helps. These “miracle traffic” programs are all scams. If you know a miracle IM technique that isn’t already popular, I would love to hear about it in the comments section.

Moderation is the key

Submit your new article to some news sites, digg it, and promote your awesome new web layout on some CSS showcases. Just don’t get caught up with going out of your way to harm people’s mental environments with your content. If it’s great stuff, people will do the work for you. Amen!

Related posts:

  1. Idea engineering: Making your content unique
  2. Why lesser exposed music has more artistic freedom
  3. Making strong decisions with a designer, developer, or marketer

Robin Bastien
Howdy! I'd the head of Ocular Harmony. I spend most of my time designing, reading beatnick literature, and pounding sound waves of experimental pulsation into my brain's frontal lobes. Contact me if you have any questions!

Get the latest: RSS feed for new comments on this post


  1. Leila says:

    April 9, 2010

    I have found that going back and messing with keyword density and metags, based on what everyone says you should be doing, is a waste of time.

  2. Calgary Web Design says:

    April 23, 2010

    I agree with you that content is king. I’m not sure I agree completely with your laissez-faire attitude toward link building, however. Being active in online discussions (like this great site) and actively promoting your content is critical. The ‘little links’ can start the snowball effect toward obtaining the ‘bigger links’. I’ll finish by saying that I completely agree with your position on “miracle traffic” scams. They’re just that - scams. Being genuine and authentic and offering value is the new SEO.

  3. Scott C. says:

    July 20, 2010

    Like you said, content is the golden egg. Writing good relevant content takes time, so not becoming addicted is a problem, how do you write quality content without putting in a lot of time? You mentioned all the social apps, and this helps, if you write some good articles they will be found out and passed around, keeping them alive for longer and drawing interest to your site.

  4. Steve Small business web design says:

    December 16, 2010

    The whole point of SEo is to get TARGETED traffic. Too much to go wide is obviously a waste of energy