Only your brand can create demand

We’re moving, and I’ve been having a clean out of our offices. It’s caused a bit of a stroll down memory lane, especially when I found an old beginner’s guide to the internet I wrote in 1996.

It really showed me how much the landscape has changed, and made it sink in exactly what you should, and shouldn’t, rely on. 

In the opening of the book, I talk about how there were between 60 and 70 million users online. Yeah, that’s all who were online back then, and they were predominantly male. Thankfully, that’s not true today.

I even talk about what an email address would look like, and why anyone would even use email. I mean, we didn’t even use email 22 years ago!

I also found a list of search engines from that time. There were four major ones back then. No Google, because this was pre-Google. The idea we’d have less competition in the field of search engines was a big surprise to me.

One of the things that has always happened with SEO is people try to trick Google. And that’s because they want to get traffic as easily as possible. They want that large Google audience.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the last 20 years, it’s not to rely on Google, on eBay, on Amazon, or on any other engine for your traffic. They can be switched off with no notice, through no fault of your own, or a catastrophic mistake on your end can eliminate your entire traffic stream in one fell swoop.

The only thing you can rely on is your brand. That’s what you have to build, and that’s where you need to spend your time and effort. If customers know about your brand, they’ll seek you out regardless of what the rest of the internet is doing.

This article originally published on

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