Well, the title would be seemed odd, but the real truth is now the so called seo is not accurate as it was before. Invoking search engine position optimization process as seo doesn’t reveal the appropriate value. If we go back to some years ago, seo was named appropriately because just some optimization steps could take position to top of the ranking. But now, an seo expert tries so hard or not, without effective strategies there won’t be any positive result.

I think, Branding and Relationship are the new versions of seo strategies. In the past months, a bunch of case studies, posts and reports have been published in popular blogs about how seo is changed in 2014 and will be in the far future.

What we have learned from there? Low quality contents, side wide backlinks, guest blogging, paid links, forged links and so on are supposed to be dead. We all are depending on Google, but what is going on there?

After reading some posts and views, probably Google is trying to indicate an important point. The point is the webmasters should alleviate seo and it should be substituted with branding and relationship. Let’s see why.


SEO is Now Branding: Google Still Favors Brands

In February 2009, Google made the update “Vince” which was stated as a minor change by Matt Cutts. But there was a huge change in ranking and dramatically the sites focused on branding get sudden ranking. They were spotted to the top of all other results. So, that easily describes that Google favors brands either it is big or small.

Nowadays, Google is still favoring the brands. In a post on SEOBOOK.Com, they said:

Over the years Google has moved to increase the weighting placed on brand-like signals in their organic search algorithms.

It is clearly stated that Google gives priority to brands rather than keyword based domains. We always see Wikipedia, About, Moz pages on top of Google’s search results. Why is it? It is sure that none of these sites are mainly based on keywords. Even all are focused on making the brand awareness. That is why all the search engines show these website pages on the top.

As there is no game or point view of keywords, why the process could be said as seo? Yeah, it is true that seo is not just keyword optimization, but the ongoing process is more likely as branding. It is why seo is now formed into branding.

Link Building is Now Relationship: Google Loves Earned Links

In many video statements, Matt Cutts tried to explain again and again, Google doesn’t like created backlinks, Google likes earned backlinks. If we force a page to make a backlink, it doesn’t seem natural. So as ruled, unnatural links are going to have negative values for sure. Then how link building should be done?

On the other hand, if a person writes a content and would like to make a link to your resource, it seems natural. This type of links is considered as earned from others. And Google is likely to these links. So it is proved while you are commenting or guest posting leaving a link inside it, there will be no value of it. Because it is created not earned.   

As there is no deal of creating backlinks, how can we name it as link building? Link building is the process of creating links, but now the ongoing process is not an accurate link building. It is one type of relationship that will make the writers to link. Suppose two bloggers are having good relationships through blogging career. So if any of them write a high quality content, probably another could add this as a resource in his content. So that is what Google expects to keep up the natural results.

So, Time to Kick Off SEO, Welcome Branding and Relationship

In the above paragraphs, I explained, why I think seo has turned into branding and link building has turned into relationships. That is the truth because Google has completely changed their ranking algorithms. It is because seo has gotten too spammy. The seo process is so risky because every seo step is veiled with spam as Google thinks.

My Secret Case Study: I first thought about this matter on January, 2014 and decided to do a quick case study on it. I intended to rank a new blog just with branding and relationship as Google loves. So, I made a firm determination that there will be no link building for keyword optimization.

First of all I chose a short domain name as I wanted to make brand awareness. I am not revealing it, suppose it was x.com which’s niche was blogging. Then I started to make brand promotion. So, I jumped into guest blogging and social media because these are the best resources for branding. I kept up linking to brand name and its variations. But I kept keywords less than 5% of all links. Now I can see good ranking in Google where I have only 7 blog posts indexed.

That is why I finally come to a decision that branding and relationship is going to win the competition of search engine ranking. And the process I tried is not exactly seo.


  1. Sudipto


    Hey Abrar,
    Nice post and Yes, branding and relationship with other is really like a substitute to SEO. Commenting helps in building relationship with other bloggers and also helps in promoting our blog and drives traffic to our blog. Thanks for sharing this post. This post really gonna help many newbies.

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee


      Hi Sudipto,

      Thanks for reading this post. Yeah, commenting will help us to build good relationships. Even, there are a lot of hidden amenities of blog commenting. So I wish, you also keep doing.

  2. Reply

    Excellent article!

    However I think I am missing something as we have worked on “branding” with our website and blogs long before it was a popular term in SEO.
    Our website is constantly updated with fresh content, but more importantly is very well respected and referred to in professional aquarium keeping circles.
    We are well known in these circles as the place to go for researched and accurate information, so much so that we are constantly plagiarized (for both content and pictures), even by much larger websites than our own.

    Our own tracking software also proves this as many when they cannot find an article of ours will simply type in our name “American Aquarium Products”

    HOWEVER, we have dropped on Google, so I am guessing I/we are missing something in our branding of our website as per Google (not so much Bing and others), so what are we doing wrong?
    Should we be using our actual name instead of articles names in Facebook, blog, and other posts?

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee


      Thanks Carl for your excellent comment.

      It’s really hard to identify why a website is not ranking. You already know, there are a good amount of Google ranking factors. Lacks in these could cause lower ranking. So I wish you check all those factors and compare to your website. Just one tip, make best efforts of on page and off page seo. And you will get ranking for sure. And don’t forget to focus on branding because it would be the life saver in the upcoming days.

      It’s not necessary to use actual name all over. Use your brand name on social media pages. And for your blog, you could use Title or Title + Brand Name for meta title.

  3. Michał Krawczykowski


    I also started to link with branding names anchors. It looks everything goes great and my website ranks better and better in SERPs. SEO is changing in front of our eyes.

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee


      You are following the appropriate way in 2014.

      Those who are thinking of linking more and more keyword rich anchors, would definitely suffer in the upcoming google algorithm updates.

      So, all the best Michal…

  4. Reply

    I think this a big move for SEO. In one hand we can refuse advantages of SEO through years, bloggers or website users can do SEO to increase their PR or traffic. But in other hand Google doesn’t like SEO cause they can earn nothing from it and in fact a lot of sites are eliminated due to their illegal back links. Hopefully we will have a new bright dawn of Branding and Relationship.
    thanks for your sharing.


    • Abrar Mohi Shafee


      Yep, Stephan you are right. Google is looking to for sometime new and exciting. But old strategies are almost spammy.

      So, I think branding and relationship would be their expectations. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Gautam


    Link Building really seems dead to me now and it is very hard to get links from High Pr sites automatically is really hard and I don’t know what is going to happen with Guest Posts.

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee


      Link building won’t be hard for quality content writes. Many popular blogs are eagerly waiting for high quality contents. So, there will be no hesitation from them giving one or two promotional links.

      Do guest blogging with branding purposes and must with high quality contents. I assure you, there will be no problem at all.

  6. I. C. Daniel


    I too believe brands will benefit when it comes to ranking on Google’s first page for specific keywords, but for now link building is not dead yet(link from High PR sites) and Matt Cutts latest news regarding guest blogging was a warning, something is coming, we’ve got to be ready that’s for sure.

    Regarding your little study, the time is way to short to make a SEO study for a brand new website in my opinion, anyway thanks for sharing with us Abrar.

    Kind regards from I. C. Daniel

    • Abrar Mohi Shafee


      Link building isn’t dead yet only for the real builders, but the spammers should believe their days are gone. I also said that Guest blogging is still effective if it could done properly with branding and relationship purposes.

      Thanks for your comment, Daniel.

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