Sharing is for Lovers, SEO is for Suckers

D William Jones Director of Online Marketing, Cusp Creative

Posted on June 4th 2012

Sharing is for Lovers, SEO is for Suckers

Content Creators are still focused on creating tasty content that the GoogleBots will gobble up, thus thrusting their article, post or commentary higher up the ranks of Google Search. Well, I am here to tell you to forget all of that. Those GoogleBots are not the diners you should be creating delicious content for. Instead, you should be cooking up some great strong content that will satisfy the palates of all users; specifically one’s who will share it with others.

One must entice others to like, +1, RT and/or share their content with others. Great content on its own sometimes simply is not enough. Unlike content farms and SEO champions, the New York Times focused on building a brand, loyalty and a community. They installed their pay walls and actually showed a profit; something a lot of people had thought would be disastrous.

The Atlantic took down its pay wall in early 2008, grew its web audience from 500,000 to over 13.4 million visitors a month and showed that there is more than one way to leverage media in the new Newscape.

Was it their crack Tech team slapping keywords on their pages? Producing headlines laced with SEO juice?


What these two publications did was add a number of high-profile writers to drive content, created two new online properties and built up digital ads to pay for those properties.

They now get over 40% of their traffic from Social Media. They changed their editorial strategy to adapt to the burgeoning Social Media landscape; maximizing these platforms as sources of traffic. Spinning stories to go viral.

How did they do that? Here are some way to take you content viral.

Create a Viral-worthy Headline

The headline can make or break your viewership. Create a unique title that has not been used previously. Do research; Google it and see if someone has used it already. Be very specific and draw in a more focused audience. An audience that perceives the article as useful and contains an emotional benefit will engage more quickly. Another way to pique readers interest is to implant a sense of urgency in the title. Do this, before this happens or Why this doesn’t work and how to fix it. Using one, if not all of these suggestions will result in a better engagement rate and more shares.


Create Great Content

In most cases, when creating great content the source material is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of your piece becoming a viral-worthy article or post. Making the new Facebook Ad specs sound sexy or championing the newest update to Foursquare’s api can only sound so exciting and in most cases are a pariah to something going viral. There are, however, some ways to overcome the obstacles poor source material can cause. Again, do research - what’s hot right now?

Writing an article on New Facebook Offers? Create a post describing how a local Health Food store can use offers to sell juices for bladder infections. The term “bladder infections” is trending pretty high right now. You can create an article around the Top Ten Offers on Facebook right now. People love lists, there are whole websites devoted to them, and people simply cannot get enough of them.

People also love feel-good stories. The Internet is not fully inhabited by trolls. There are a lot of positive people looking for inspirational content; especially to share. Write a piece celebrating something, instead of tearing it down and watch the shares pile up.

Conversely, people cannot help but be attracted to controversy. Construct controversial content that will start a conversation. Opening a can of worms can sometimes produce a variety of surprises. Internet trolls are out there and they can take your content viral, good or bad, to new heights.

These are just a few ways to help your content go viral, but once again, it is the content itself. Ask your colleagues to read your piece; share it. Ask you friends to forward it on. SEO is not dead, but virility is becoming more and more valuable in this new Social Media landscape. Create tasty content to serve the GoogleBots just as before, but also don’t forget to appeal to the people who actually consume the content; the reader.







D William Jones

Director of Online Marketing, Cusp Creative

With over 10 plus years of experience in implementing marketing campaigns, traditional print, and web-based solutions with measurable results for national and regional brands in the grocery, travel, real estate, wine, hospitality, sports entertainment, restaurant and manufacturing industries Bill Jones has been know to apply strategy, ingenuity, creativity and technology to produce budget-conscious solutions that are designed to turn passive observers into passionate fans and followers. Bill Jones currently resides in Southern California and is a father of two, husband of one.
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right on, bro


Finally . . . someone else who is willing to step up to the plate and say that the Emporer Has No Clothes On relative to SEO effectiveness!

I wrote a series on the myth of SEO late last year ( in which I was met with vociferous opposition from the so-called SEO experts.

What is interesting is that the 4-Part series became one of my most popular and most widely shared series of articles.  At that time this told me that the majority of people doubted the merits of a contrived SEO strategy but had lacked the confidence to rule it out.

With your post today, you have heped bring an important truth to light and created the proper context in which SEO should be viewed!

Well done - and not just because your views coincide with mine ;)

Mr Hansen

What is it they say about like minds...?

Anyway, thanks for the support and great article(s) on your blog by the way. Another post that I found interesting, and was posted a couple days after mine, is this one by Chris Horton It justifies my claims above, whether opinion or fact, almost perfectly and I wish I would have been able to sight it. While SEO is not completely dead, it is no longer the driving force in absolute exposure; no longer dominant. Think Shaq on the Lakers vs. Shaq on the Suns.



Love the Shaq analogy . . . if you are open to it, would love to have you on my radio show to talk about this in greater depth.

Let me know your thoughts.

I would be more than happy to discuss this or anything else in regards to Social Media...or sports for that matter.


Mr. Jones... Spot-on. Great post. Using your own advice, I see. You definitely caught my attention with your headline. Btw, I Shared the link with a work group that is hyper-focusing on SEO and not SMO - Yes, you know who you are :-)

As I say in my Boot Camps, in the insurance space, circa 2012, we are finally transitioning from early adopters to mainstream. By 2017 or so, Social will be 'Mandatory'. Why? Because the next big technology advancement will build on TOP of Social, just like Social is build on TOP of eCommerce and Web properties. You have to have both to do Social correctly. And your Web properties must be effectively designed as both Destination and Conversation to maximize the Sharing opportunity described here-in.

Curious on other reader Comments. Any ideas on what the next big thing will be that builds on top of Social?

Thanks again. Tweeted.



Thank you for the kind words, and the RT. I whole-heartedly agree with your comments and point of view. There is one point of contention; 2017. I believe that 2013 will be the year of the big shift and it is becoming more and more manditory in 2012 to have a strong Presence Online, particularly Social.

Cheers! for the support and @dwilliamjones is now following @MikeWise07

Probably true re 2013. Things are moving REALLY fast. But if I said that to these folks, they might throw their paper and pens at me. LOL Thx for the Follow.

I think one of the biggest problems with content is its timescale. Remarkable content can take a great deal of time, money and effort to make and something that wont turn the conversions you want. Shame.

But I would't shun SEO just yet. Inbound Links from authority sites is still key and I worry about the reliance many people have on Social Media which is becoming so niche now that I feel that there is some kind of peak and downfall on its way.


Content is and Always Will Be King. As you stated remarkable content can, and most often does, take a great amount of money, effort and time. There is no magic box or secret formula to turning conversions towards your goals. Good content gets read; Great content gets shared. 

On this new Social Landscape, most often the Social Objects shared do indeed have a shorter shelflife, but the real objective should be taking hte message viral. Not just the link, but the conversation. Case in point, this comment thread. Getting people to discuss and come together with ideas and explore new ones should be the ultimate goal. Monetizing content should be a bi-product of sharing information for the greater good.

Anyway, thanks for your interest and opinions; great insights!


LoL love the title! Your content has to build a relationship for it to work. Skype ID is...AbiiDaniels.

Great read. Well Done. And regarding is all about the SF Giants. Best staff in baseball; you will be watching them in October