My Old Boss Asked Me for SEO Advice

Karen Cherry
3 min readAug 8

Here’s what I told him

Happy Christmas; Free marketing advice for ex-employers! Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

My ex-boss had a few drinks under his belt at the Christmas party when he approached me with a wobbly grin.

“Your website ranks really well. What tricks do you use?”

The company he co-owned, which had employed me for years, needed more customers. It needed better website traffic.

My boss didn’t want to pay for a digital marketing specialist and had been ‘doing’ SEO (search engine optimisation) for the company’s website himself. In the age of the internet, you can learn pretty much anything you need to know by poking around online. He had taught himself SEO a few years back.

He’s a smart man. But he didn’t appreciate that SEO techniques evolve. He was trying to use strategies from the 2010s… techniques like keyword stuffing, low-quality backlinks and meta tags, and wondering why they weren’t getting good results.

SEO tricks are so last decade

The search engine designers at Google know what people want when they search for something on Google.

People want high-quality, well-organised content that answers their questions.

In the old days of SEO, search engines counted backlinks and keywords to ‘decide’ which sites were best. They did this because they didn’t have better tools.

In 2023, search engines have dozens more techniques to rank websites. Google never wanted to show us low-quality pages that were stuffed with useless links, they were just doing the best with the tools they had. These days, search engines have better tools for finding and remembering pages that readers value.

The reason my website ranks well is because I work hard to create top-quality content that answers multiple related questions on each topic for potential customers. Google knows when a reader stays on a page, learning, interacting and finding the information they searched for.

Google also knows when a reader clicks away because a page is low quality or stuffed with useless keywords. It won’t serve that page up again.

How to Rank in 2023

Karen Cherry

Substack writer. Secret tree hugger. Aussie business owner with >$13K revenue on Substack. Refusing to dumb it down.