On SEO copywriting & disruptive innovation: Susan O’Neil

We are delighted to feature this guest post by Susan O’Neil of Website Publicity, who you may recognize as one of “The women who made SEO great.” Here, Susan briefly  summarizes what she and her Website Publicity business do to help her clients stay one step ahead of the competition, with “disruptive innovation.”

Since a company loses its edge if it doesn’t keep innovating, my team and I are always pondering and preparing for the “next big thing” coming our clients’ way in terms of digital marketing opportunities and challenges. To that end, I recently attended Disruptivate, a conference on Disruptive Innovation.

Listening to stories by diverse “disruptors” like Doug Clark of NEF Manufacturing who is reinventing how shoes are made, and Jeff Carlisle of Our Health Connector who is putting our health records under our own control rather than that of healthcare providers, I considered how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was disruptive back in 1998.

All of a sudden, consumers were able to quickly find whatever they wanted simply by forming a query in their mind and typing it into the blank box at AltaVista or one of the 9 other major search engines.

No one told them how to think about their problem, need or desire. In the privacy of their homes or offices, people searched however they wanted and soon learned how to get the new librarians of the Internet to help them find what they were looking for.

Enter Website Publicity & SEO 

That’s when I closed my PR firm and opened @Website Publicity.

By helping to develop and refine SEO, our company was assisting in the disruption of standard advertising for brands pushing their messages out to consumers.

Marketers had to learn how to alter their websites in order to pull in search engine driven traffic by using the new strategies of SEO.  Marketers were forced to think and operate differently, and new businesses offering SEO services were formed and an industry was built.

Now, SEO is the norm. It’s a basic that should be built into everything we put up online.

Pay-per-Click (PPC) isn’t disruptive, either, at least at first glance.  But when you add in innovators like Pinterest, you can see how Search, Social and Mobile marketing are intersecting in new ways that can and will impact our clients’ success in the marketplace.

Marketing tools may change, strategies may change, and certainly the standard bearers in our industry may change, but one thing won’t: disruptive innovation.

It is our job as marketers to observe and anticipate disruptors in order to help keep our clients ahead of their competition, and to be disruptive ourselves when it serves a purpose.


About the Author – Susan O’Neil

As CEO and Founder of Website Publicity, Susan established a digital marketing agency in 1998, long before the internet marketing explosion. She also co-authored Maximize Website Traffic, one of the first books on SEO ever published. Follow Susan at @suejon.


3 replies
  1. suzanne says:

    The “librarians of the internet.” Now there’s a neologism that has some monetization potential. In other words, new career requiring new training and training programs. IT makes me mad that med records were controlled by docs for so long. How can we shake up this content stuff in other ways. I’ll be thinking . . .

  2. Lewis LaLanne says:

    “Website Publicity” – I love that reframe for SEO. It makes the concept about a thousand times more accessible to the Joe Six Packs of the world who are running business that are invisible online. That’s what you call a strong idea simply presented!


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  1. […] SEO copywriting along with Search Engine Watch listed a few great examples of disruptive companies that you can see below (with a few of my own thrown in as well): […]

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