Cliches and Buzzwords That Anyone in SEO is Sick of Hearing

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Every branch of marketing has its own delightful lexicon, and I’ve no doubt that whichever arm I may have wandered into, I’d still have my own pet hates when it comes to clichés and buzzwords that we all like to bark at colleagues and clients.

I think this list covers most of the offenders.


“I’m a Black Hat SEO”

Not said so often unless the person in question is a bit drunk. It’s one of my most hated things to hear simply because yeah, you can still make a fair bit of money on it, if you want to be known as a notorious black hat SEO and deal with upwards of 100 sites which are constantly slapped. Even I have too much of a social life to dedicate myself to that sort of thing.

And stop boasting about it. You and your…house. And designer clothes.



Hehe, I love this one because noone really knows what it means, a bit like ‘content curation’, but like to use it in client meetings. Just say ‘working together’ and stop being silly.

Although I admit I like to be really obnoxious sometimes and say ‘coaction’.


“According to Matt Cutts…”

The amount of times this phrase has been appended with something which he absolutely did not say must be phenomenal. It seems putting his name in a sentence suddenly makes whatever you happen to be spouting perfectly viable.


‘SEO Guru/ Marketing Ninja/ Analytics Architect’ etc.

The people I have known who band about these job titles, or are given these titles by their employers, are always actually very lovely and surprisingly humble. However, when you get an email and the sender has this in their signature, you’re not about to take them seriously. You want to throw them at something.


‘Quick Wins’

Also known as ‘low-hanging fruit’. Might please the client, but there’s very little chance that your competitors aren’t going for the same wins i.e the same sites and the same tactics.

That said, I get that technical SEO quick wins are often a must. It depends. It’s still an irritating phrase, though.


“So What’s Your Job?”

Just say marketing. It’s a heck of a lot easier than explaining ranking to someone who a) thinks websites appear in Google naturally and b) isn’t actually interested and is just making conversation.


‘Blue Sky Thinking/ Think Outside of the Box’


(I know these are general office quotations, but I hear them all the time and it makes me cry.)


“Nobody cares about Bing”

True, to a certain extent. However, using Bing data can actually be pretty useful to get audience insight or a good idea of where you can go with a campaign. But I never say that when someone tells me ‘nobody cares about Bing’, I just giggle to be part of the gang.


‘SEO Is Dying’


First off, we all know it isn’t. It’s just changing, which is a very different thing. What is dying is all the black hat stuff, from which – to be fair – many currently successful websites were originally built from. And back then it wasn’t even strictly black hat, it was just how you did it.

And while we’re at it, aren’t the phrases ‘black hat’ and ‘white hat’ a bit annoying?


‘Content is King’

One of the worst ones, made all the more irritating because it is true. But we know it’s true.

It was pretty much the first thing I was told on my first day of SEO, and I wasn’t even really in SEO then, I was just a copywriter and I genuinely thought I was going to leave that agency to become a journalist. (Lol. *sigh* *cries in corner*.)

I swear every time I hear ‘content is king’ I die a little inside. It literally makes me feel like my blood is boiling. We know it’s true; please, PLEASE stop saying it.

Have I missed anything? Let me know so I can have a good cringe.


Honourable Mention: “Google quietly rolls out/launches…”

WHY does Google always ‘quietly’ roll out minor updates? Why does it always ‘quietly’ announce changes to its products? I was glad to see with a quick search that I’m not the only one who finds this especially irritating. I can’t put my finger on why it’s so annoying, but it is.


Written by Sarah Chalk

Sarah Chalk

Sarah is an SEO Account Manager at 360i and has a keen interest in all things SEO. She has also written for a number of sites, including Vue cinema’s film blog and a number of tech websites.

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