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The Evolution of On Target

How difficult can it be to rocket your website up to that elusive No. 1 spot in Google search results?

Just optimize your H1 and meta tags, build a bunch of backlinks, and crank out a few dozen “keyword-rich” blog posts. Once you take those simple steps, you can sit back and watch your site rise to the top.


The truth is, that cookie-cutter approach doesn’t work anymore. A few search engine optimization (SEO) companies still engage in those practices and convince clients that tweaking some tags and adding a few more links will net them a higher ranking. But those agencies have been gradually going extinct over the past few years as we’ve entered a new era of SEO.

We know more than a little about old-school SEO here at On Target because that’s precisely where our agency started. Sure, we’ve grown into a mature content marketing

agency. But we own our SEO past just like I own that mullet I had back in the ‘80s. I can’t deny it, because I know there are photos. It’s who I was at the time.

So the big takeaway here is that early SEO was the mullet of digital marketing. The style made sense at the time, and all the cool kids were doing it. Now we know better.

So much better.

Contrary to what some people claim, however, SEO isn’t dead. It’s just evolving. And On Target has evolved along with it. We don’t rely on outdated hacks to help our clients get noticed. We base our approach on one of the oldest, intrinsic activities known to humans. Something people have engaged in since the beginning of time. Something that comes naturally to everyone.

No. Not THAT activity.

I’m talking about storytelling.

Take Me to Church

When he was in college in the early ‘90s, our founder and CEO, Tom Jelneck, was on track to become a priest. That fell by the wayside when they told him about the “no girls” policy.

I grew up listening to fire and brimstone sermons in the Baptist church, and hearing my great-grandfather tell stories that enthralled me – despite the fact that he had long since retired from being a minister.

So Tom and I both learned the power of storytelling early on.

He went on to take advantage of the solitary lifestyle at a rural seminary, which gave him the space and time to dig in deep with his creative writing. I started working in radio while I was in college because, after years of getting in trouble for talking too much, I found a way to get paid for it.

My career evolved into print journalism, online publishing, and a tech startup. Tom honed his writing and digital marketing skills at a Catholic retreat center, a mortgage company, and a custom T-shirt manufacturer before starting On Target. When he launched the agency back in 2005, his approach was firmly rooted in the classic SEO

tactics he picked up during the early days of internet marketing. Those methods worked for several years. Then little by little, Google started making algorithm changes that favored authentic, original content over keyword stuffing and hacks.

Now our business is all about being organic and telling great stories. But it’s not a trend. Unlike the mullet, good storytelling will never go out of style. It has always been there and always will be. It’s just that the internet finally caught up.

Throughout our respective careers, Tom and I have both used storytelling to share information, create interest, and attract attention.

These days at On Target, we have the opportunity to combine our experience with the skills of a stellar team of creatives and online advertising specialists. Together, we help clients share their stories and become established thought leaders.

But while I sit here behind this keyboard strategizing, conceptualizing, and creating content, I can still dream of a day when the mullet comes back in style. THAT will be a great story.

John Terry is the chief storytelling officer at On Target Digital Marketing, and sadly out-of-touch with hairstyle trends.

On Target Digital Marketing is a content marketing agency that helps brands stand out and rise above the noise. Through great storytelling and rich content creation, On Target turns companies into thought leaders. Founded in 2005 as a search engine marketing (SEO) firm, On Target Digital Marketing has evolved into Orlando’s only agency that specializes in creating remarkable online content.