Press Releases and Reports

Digital agency Hallam has taken on national newspaper The Guardian after it posted an article claiming ‘SEO is dead‘.

The article, which claims ‘Search engine optimisation (SEO) was always a flawed concept‘ was posted on Monday 22nd July and by Tuesday morning, Hallam had posted one of the first in what was to become a stream of opposition articles.

Hallam’s post, entitled ‘Social media optimisation: the end of SEO?‘ tackled The Guardian‘s piece head on and spearheaded a social media storm for Guardian author Tim Anderson as SEO practitioners from across the UK took to Twitter and Google Plus to have their say.

“There’s always going to be debate around the value of SEO, as there is with all marketing techniques”, explained Laura Hampton, Digital Marketing Manager at Hallam and author of ‘Social media optimisation: the end of SEO?’.

“It’s always healthy to discuss different techniques but on this occasion, the argument put forward was seriously flawed and factually inaccurate. This kind of discussion isn’t healthy and I’m glad so many SEO practitioners have got involved to intelligently and articulately defend SEO, using real life experience and expertise to do so.”

Following in the popularity of the post, Hallam’s Managing Director Susan Hallam met with The Guardian author Tim Anderson and interviewed him on his article and his response to the adverse reaction it received.

“I had a chance to meet up with Tim and over a cup of coffee had the chance to dig a bit deeper into his thinking and why he wrote the article,” said Susan Hallam.

“The article has stirred deep controversy and quite a social media storm, primarily as a result of some of the provocative statements in the post. Tim agreed that the tone of the article was wrong but claimed the sensationalised title came from editorial teams, not from him,” she continued. “The article was not factually correct and I have no doubt when I say that, contrary to the article, SEO is not dying.”

In a comment posted on Hallam’s blog, Tim Anderson later apologised for any offence caused.

— Ends —

Laura Hampton, ‘Social media optimisation: the end for SEO?’:

Susan Hallam, ‘SEO is Dead (according to The Guardian)’:

Tim Anderson, ‘SEO is dead, long live social media optimisation’:

High res images are available.

About Hallam

Since 1999, digital marketing agency Hallam has been working with its clients to deliver successful search engine optimisation, pay per click, email marketing, and social media marketing campaigns. Hallam is committed to delivering ethical search marketing to assist its clients in reaching their business goals. Call +44 (115) 948 0123 or visit for more information how Hallam’s experts can help your business to get smarter using the Internet.

2 responses to “Hallam Takes on The Guardian in ‘SEO is Dead’ Controversy”

  1. Graham Jones says:

    What I really wish was dead was the term “SEO”. The mere collection of worda “Search Engine Optimisation” appears to make many business owners believe that ALL they have to do is some kind of technical trickery that gets them to “Number One” and that after that they can sit back and rake in the millions. As you have said, the debate about SEO goes back years – indeed I have been a contributor to that…! The debate would disappear if the SEO industry had another name which truly reflected what it does and which does not make people think that SEO is some kind of Holy Grail for business success.

    • Hi Graham,

      Thanks for your comment.

      The argument that the terminology itself is out of date has been raised before, and there’s certainly some basis to it. I’d agree that there are some connotations around the term SEO, but equally I wonder if those connotations exist that far beyond our own community. Do our clients and potential clients really think of SEO as the Holy Grail for business success? Or do they see it as part of their marketing mix? I guess it depends on the client.

      I’m not sure there’s an answer to the debate you have raised, Graham. We work in an industry where things are continually evolving, and the processes we use now may not be the processes we used a few years ago. Because of this, we can shape people’s understanding of SEO based on common themes (content, keywords, link building etc) but there’s always going to be an element of the ‘unknown’ and it is perhaps this that gives that ‘Holy Grail’ aura of which you speak.

      I think the debate was re-raised recently when SEOMoz dropped the ‘SEO’ to become ‘Moz’. They told us it was a business move to diversify their product, but the products they offer are still very much centred around what I would consider to be SEO (i.e. all elements of raising a brand’s profile online), so this may well indicate a move for them toward dropping ‘SEO’. The term ‘inbound marketing’ has also grown in popularity of late.

      Whatever the terminology we use, I believe it’s our responsibility as SEOs to ensure we continue to be open about our practices and that we educate our clients and potential clients on the benefits of what we do. When The Guardian posted their article, they damaged the reputation of what is arguably one of the most multi-dimensionally user-centred disciplines around. And that’s why it was so important that we post our article in response.


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