There are two aspects to SEO from a high level. There’s the on-page aspect, which is making changes to the content and meta tags via a CMS or in some other backend, and also improving the search engine crawl-ability of the site. Improving your website for search bots and for your human visitors is called on-page SEO.
Then there’s link building or off-page SEO, where you would go and figure out how to get other sites to link to your site to improve the rankings of the site. Backlinks are links coming in to your site from other sites. That used to be what we did, and it’s still more or less what we do, but a lot of the tactics we use, particularly in the link-building arena, they’re just not as effective anymore.
Worse yet, a lot of the tactics are actually now penalized by Google.
So actually in the last year or so, I’ve done a number of what we call link remediation projects, which is to go and get a bunch of backlinks removed because Google doesn’t like them.
So there are still a lot of SEO consultants who will do these tactics, but the old practices just don’t work anymore. The best backlinks are the ones that you earn because your content on your website is so awesome that people will naturally link to it.
So the SEO game today is to build a great site and then design marketing campaigns that get people interested in what you have to say so that they share it with their audience.