Digital Marketing: Old School Vs. New School

This week, I’m going to cover a topic that I don’t think gets talked about enough in our industry but really should: Stuff that doesn’t work anymore.

That’s right. Old school digital marketing trends, practices and other things that should be left in the past but always seem to come up again and again.

Since it’s the holiday week and we’re all probably pretty busy here, let’s dive right in.


Issue 4: Keyword Optimization For Ranking Vs. Useful On-Page Content


Old School:

Rank number one for all the keywords! That’s SEO!


Cram all the keywords on the page! If it’s a synonym for a word that we like, just shove that in there somewhere too!

No room for more keywords on that page? Just shove them on the bottom of the page and make them the same color as the background!

That’s how you SEO! amirite?

New School:

Look, you’ve all heard me harp on why keyword rankings and optimization are a waste of time over and over again and guess what, I’m going to do it again. Why? Because it just won’t die.

We all know it doesn’t matter what your rank for a word is. We all know it’s pointless and yet people seem to be obsessed with this nonsense. In hopes of putting this to bed once and for all, I’m going to say it again:

Keyword rankings and optimizing keywords to gain rankings has been an exercise in futility for over a year now and will be even more of a waste of time going forward. If you are doing this, stop it. You are wasting everyone’s time and energy. It’s not a thing anymore. Stop it.

This is the kind of thing people do when they don’t want to work very hard or don’t know any better.

Instead of trying to game the system with your fancy ‘keywords’, you need to make good, quality content that your users will love to read and engage with. If you want to get good organic traffic, you need to be relevant and cramming a page full of garbage and keywords isn’t being relevant.


keyword fight


Stop chasing things that don’t matter, like ranking first for magic words, and start worrying about actually helping your customers find what they need.

Don’t get more traffic to your site, get higher quality traffic to your site. Look, due to Google’s personalization features, you’ll never rank first for any keywords anymore because there is no static first page of google for a search anymore. You’re chasing a ghost.

You want to research something? Stop researching keywords and instead find out what people are asking via a tool like (and I always recommend them because they are amazing at what they do) Answer the Public or just simply listen to what people are telling you they want to know more about on social channels and write about that.

Once you’ve done that, mark it all up with some schema or JSON-LD markup and then you can push it out on all your social channels for added backing. It’s not that hard.



Issue 3: Not Taking Facebook Seriously As A B2B Channel


Old School: 


Facebook is just for talking to your buddies and looking at pictures of those crazy cats playing keyboards and whatnot! LinkedIn is where you make the business to business leads and sales magic happen!


New School:


Dude, there are literally billions of people on Facebook. Billions with a ‘B’. Do you really think that LinkedIn’s reach can even come close to that? (Hint: it can’t, Facebook has them by close to 100 million more users)

Studies have been done on which platform is most effective for B2B companies and guess what, it ain’t LinkedIn.




LinkedIn is great for growing your professional network and keeping up with trends in your field but it just can’t compete with the reach and options that Facebook has for targeting.

Also, from my own experience, the overall dollar for dollar value of my returns on Facebook for my past clients (national & international eCommerce shops & local service area businesses) to my current day job (an International STEM non-profit targeting engineers) vs. my horrendous experience on LinkedIn which I covered in detail here, I cannot recommend dropping LinkedIn in favor of Facebook enough.

I’ve said it before: be on LinkedIn, be active on LinkedIn but don’t rely on LinkedIn.

Also, don’t forget, there are more channels out there than Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Depending on your target audience, make sure you’re researching Snapchat, WeChat and the others as well.


Issue 2: Organic-Only & Repetitive Social Media


Old School:

Social media back in the day:

Step one: Create post about something

Step two: Post it to your followers

Step three: If people liked it, throw that crap in general rotation on and off for the next two years or so.



New School: 

Sorry, man. That’s not going to cut it anymore.


Problem One: The ‘evergreen’ (AKA: Not This Crap Again!) content posts:

Evergreen content is not a license to just throw whatever junk you feel like at people again and again until they’re sick of seeing it and sick of your monotonous nonsense account.

Most people do this because they’re just too lazy to try to find something relevant to that particular time. If you can’t be bothered to find something relevant to post that your followers will want to read and engage with, you’re better off not posting anything at all that day.




Also, let’s say you schedule your ‘evergreen’ content out on an automated calendar like Sprout social a year or six months in advance – because why not, right? – and six months later it turns out that whatever you posted is either wrong, out of date or not applicable to anything anymore but guess what, you forgot all about it because you planned your automated calendar six months ago…you see where I’m going with this?

Look, evergreen content is great when used sparingly. It’s not designed to be a tool for the lazy or for people who just want to do their entire year’s worth of work in one day and then just sit back and draw a paycheck for nothing the rest of the year.

Problem Two: Thinking that organic social media is still a thing.

Look. This ain’t just me talking:

Organic. Social. Media. Reach. Is. Dead. D-E-D. Dead.

Just read those articles and you’ll understand. Also, if you haven’t heard about Facebook’s experiment that started in October with moving all organic posts from businesses off the main timelines, you really need to read up on that now.


Issue 1: Buying & Renting Email Lists, Paid Social Media Followers, ‘Fiverr’ SEO


Old School:

Nah, dude, none of this ever worked. People in the email marketing industry have been telling you not to do this janky nonsense since like the mid-’90s in terms of buying lists and the rest of this is nothing but the social and SEO versions of buying lists.


New School:

Yeah, it all still applies. In terms of email, don’t be a spammer. Build your lists properly with opt-in forms, social campaigns and other quality opt-in lead gathering techniques. With the advent of social media and the like, bear in mind if someone is trying to sell you anything like ‘Social media followers’ you have to ask yourself if it’s worth the money and the answer is always no. What do you need to pay for followers on social that will never ever become paying customers for?

In terms of ‘guaranteed’ SEO services, we’ve covered this before.




It’s always a lie. Period. No one but no one can guarantee anything in terms of SEO, I don’t care who they are, who they know, what they do or what secret trick they claim to have. There is just far too much that is out of your direct control to guarantee anything with SEO, period.

If they guarantee you anything, THEY. ARE. LYING. TO. YOU. 

Don’t believe me? Go try that Fiverr SEO crap for yourself and watch what happens to your site.


The Bottom Line:


Look, digital marketing isn’t hip-hop: old school isn’t way better than whatever it is we’re doing these days.

If you don’t update your techniques, strategies, and planning, you’re going to fail. SEO is no longer about keyword optimization and trying to game search engines. Social Media isn’t another free channel to throw your ads on and hope something happens and if you’re still buying followers, email lists, backlinks or anything else, you’re just begging for trouble.

It’s almost a new year so there’s no better time than now to sit down and come up with a plan to bring your digital marketing into the 21st century.

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