I’ve just taken over a website which has been managed by a [sort of] competitor for a few years. My new client works in the same industry as another business I parted with last year (long story that is available over a beer).

So, I am now helping one company in Basingstoke with their digital marketing, competing against a website I have spent the last five years pushing.

At first, I was afraid, I was petrified… Competing against five years of work I’ve just done, on a new site that an experienced marketing company has been working on. Could I really make a difference?

I did tell the new client this before I started working for him but still managed to knock him bandy with my charm.

But, a couple of weeks later, it turns out it’s going to be a little bit easier than I thought.

Firstly, my old client just had a new website built, knocking down all my hard work. Secondly, the website I’ve taken over has much more opportunity than I was expecting. And, they both have something in common.

It’s not 2008 anymore.

Search engine optimisation has evolved. Ten years ago I wrote a book about SEO and a lot of what I talk about (the basic 20% that delivers 80% results) still holds true today (you can download it free here).

But, some of the things I was doing back then (the extras) are so far down the list of “to do’s” now, I don’t actually care if they ever get done these days. In fact, when I create a website strategy and content in 2018, I don’t think SEO, I think…

How can I make this website super-useful for a user, and, drive intent for me with a business goal in mind.

Yes, relevant keywords are important in the content and meta-data, but it’s about engagement. And, the way to drive that (and navigate through the maze of SEO and Adword competition) is by having focus and applying context.

The two websites in questions overlook this and use typical marketing techniques that try and chase rainbows, adhere to sycophantic rhetoric about non-relevant case studies and are not oriented towards the needs of the client, or their customers’ needs and wants.

When I look at the code behind a key page on the website and do not see one mention of the word Basingstoke, when that’s the market; when I see focus on call-to-actions that steer away from the key driver of the site of getting sales enquiries – I know I have plenty of upside to aim for.

SEO for driving sales is not about keywords or blogging – there needs to be intent. Otherwise, you’re just pissing into a very strong wind.