SEO 2.0 Reality Check: What Works?


I’ve been writing for this blog and popularizing SEO 2.0 for 15 years!

Yes. It’s time to review some of my theories and predictions.

I have promised you a new era. Did it really arrive?

Did SEO 2.0 turn out the way I imagined it? Yes and no.

It’s time for a SEO 2.0 reality check! Here it is! See below:

15 Insights from 15 Years of Blogging

Yes, I started this blog here back in 2007! What works then? What doesn’t?

OK, let’s take a closer look at some of my most important assumptions:

1. A blog can thrive without Google traffic: well, it can but it’ll be much smaller than a blog relying on Google traffic.

Ideally you combine conventional SEO 1.0 with social media focused SEO 2.0 techniques to get the whole customer journey covered.

People will usually discover things on blogs and social media to search for them later once they finally need or want them.

2. A blog is a must have unless there already is demand for what you sell and your rank on Google. It’s probably the most important SEO and marketing tool in SEO 2.0! Yes it is. Why? It’s simple.

No useful educational content – no easy online success anymore. You have to get the word out before you sell.

Content is not “king” as the Web is not a monarchy but with an empty site people won’t find you as often.

Also giving away all your content to gatekeepers and publishing it in their walled gardens won’t be effective really.

So publishing photos on Instagram or videos on YouTube is a nice to have addition but without high quality written content on your site you will struggle to get the word out beyond a third party platform.

3. You can make blogs profitable and live off them. Yes you can. There are plenty of blogging business models that work. I know people who started with me and blogging pays their bills.

It did pay mine as well. I usually combined with classic SEO services and blogging for clients.

The “make money online” blogging thing isn’t just about selling affiliate crap. You can do it genuinely.

4. Social discovery overtakes the Web: well, social media is still there but social discovery hasn’t taken over. Social networking went and stayed mainstream instead.

Discovery remains just a niche, a big one but a niche. Search still reigns supreme. Social networking on Facebook comes close though.

Also there are no real discovery platforms anymore. Most social media sites have a discovery built-in yet most users simple re-share what others shared before them.

The actual discovery happens when people discover something new they did not know before. Yet only a handful of high-profile content curators truly discovers new content.

Most people only consume what they are served or promote themselves and their own content.

On popular social media like YouTube, Instagram or TikTok creators push themselves 24/7 and never even share content from other people.

5. Google is a dangerous monopoly and you have to find ways to get traffic from elsewhere. Yes you do. Every now and then Google threatens whole industries.

As long as you depend on gatekeeper traffic you may wake up one day with your business shattered. It happened to me and my clients even though I didn’t SPAM.

Google just changes the rules over night at a whim and you will never know how they changed and what you did wrong.

6. SEO 2.0 is main stream. Yes it is. While most people do not refer to it as SEO 2.0, social SEO and content SEO is all over the place.

Similar holistic concepts have appeared: findability, inbound marketing, web design for ROI were some of them over the years. I tried to call it popularization.

Instead people use old bottles for new wine. They will say SEO but mean a completely different thing than 10 years ago.

7. You can rank high without reading what Google employees say. Sure, You can get some valuable insights for beginners like

  • “don’t spam”
  • “just create great content”
  • “[x] is not a ranking factor”

etc. you can get from John Muller and his colleagues. You can spend the time reading their advice actually working on your site though.

8. You don’t need 50k visitors from getting viral to become successful. You don’t! I’ve grown this blog without the likes of Reddit or even Facebook.

You do not need Reddit and the other anti-social sites that often ignore non-mainstream topics and opinions.

Your “1000 true fans” (and blog subscribers) are much more important and are are much more likely to get on by way of Feedly, browser notifications or good old electronic mail.

9. Dofollow works to get plenty of comments. My SEO blog got thousands of them in the early days.

The long term engagement is encouraged by other means though. You can’t get it from the “get links quick” crowd.

I can clearly differentiate between fake “give me a link” commenters and the truly engaged ones.

Over the years “manual spam” has forced me to use plugins and moderation so that only those genuinely participating get a link.

10. Twitter can be huge. Some things have turned even better than I thought and others have appeared that I haven’t foreseen at all.

The success of Twitter and the usefulness of this simple app have blown my mind. It can even drive traffic when you go viral.

I got more than 500 targeted visitors from Twitter for my post on short URL services thanks to a few people tweeting it.

They were just a few tweets from my online friends and a few more viral retweets by power accounts and their followers.

11. Trust can be built online. I got many big clients through and by people I’ve “met” only virtually due to my blogging and social media engagement.

People who I have never met in real life trust my expertise and recommend me to other people.

My name is not only known but also renowned and I don’t even have to visit all the search marketing conferences.

12. You don’t have to be an influencer from the start. Even an outsider can succeed. I’m a Pole living in Germany wearing a turban.

Would you have believed me in 2007 that I’d end up on TopRank Online Marketing Blog’s most popular SEO blogs list less than two years later?

13. Blogging success comes and goes. It all depends on how consistent you are. You can’t be successful with your won blog when you mainly focus on third party sites.

Even a part-time job will prevent you from publishing on your won blog. Thus either go all-in or don’t expect success in the long-term. Blogging is not a side-hustle.

14. Health, kids, pets impact your blogging. When you are not healthy yourself or your family members struggle with physical or mental health your blogging will not be inspiring.

Somehow your health always seeps into your writing. You will sound less enthusiastic and more pessimistic when you know that you or someone close to you suffers.

It does not have to be even that bad. It’s enough to have a puppy who absorbs you attention half of the day by peeing, pooing, eating trash, running away and being too cute to handle.

15. Content is aging. You are not only aging yourself, content is also aging, quickly. Thus you either need to update it all the time or give up, bury it in the archives or delete it altogether.

I started updating and optimizing existing content early on. Thus some of my posts are still or again performing well on Google after a decade or longer. My Twitter advantages/ advantages post from 2008 is the best example!

Yet even I delete articles from time to time when they are so irrelevant or downright wrong by now that you can’t simply rewrite them anymore to make sense again.

What Else Do You Want to Know?

What more do you need to know about the reality of SEO 2.0?

This is a no-bullshit SEO 2.0 blog.

Please ask tough questions in the comments.

* Creative Commons image by ScubaBear68.