Often times clients come to me and one of the first things they ask me about is search engine optimization (SEO). There is a common misconception, that you can make a few easy tweaks and all of a sudden you’re number one in Google for any keyphrase. Now, that would be nice and oh so easy. If only it were true…
If you have a website, I am sure you are no doubt inundated with emails from SEO companies promising to make you number one and very quickly. However, in their emails they fail to even mention what you do for a living and/or what your website and businesses is even about. Still, they make you these promises and I am sure after sending tens of thousands of emails they hook a few fish on the line. Many times they will use what’s called black hat SEO methods which may even give you a quick bump, before Google removes you from the index all together. Now, you have spent thousands of dollars and your website is in even worse shape than it was before. As the saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Google’s algorithm is one of the most closely guarded secrets on the planet. It is worth billions of dollars, and there is not a single company that can reverse engineer Google. No way, no how. True SEO is following Google’s guidelines, and using some elbow grease. You have to commit to trying to improve your website, both by doing the SEO basics, as well as sticking to producing consistant, quality content that is well written and beneficial to anyone that visits your website.
It is right there on the Google’s own website. And we have this text on our SEO page:
“Give visitors the information they’re looking for: Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. In creating a helpful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic. Think about the words users would type to find your pages and include those words on your site.”
There it is, they laid it out for you. There are no shortcuts, and like anything else in life, you need to work hard for success.
To me, I want my website to be of such a high quality that when potential customers/clients read the content, they have a believe in my skills and subject matter expertise pertaining to the web. So write your content, not from search engine standpoint, but from a human readable standpoint. Because there’s no sense getting people to your website, when they will just read a bunch of gobbledygook and leave to go to one of your competitors. That’s the thing the black hat SEO companies never tell you. They’re all about quick rankings. And, unfortunately what they promise, they can never deliver .
Here’s one of my favorite examples: an offshore SEO company emailed me and called me for months, begging for an appointment. Well finally, I had enough and said yes. I spoke to this guy and he promised to make me number 1 for anything and everything. I asked what the cost would be. He said it would be roughly $1500. I said, I’ll tell you what, I will give you $3000. He was flustered, and said what do you mean? I said that you are an SEO company. Yet I don’t find your company in the first 200 rankings in Google for “SEO”. So I will tell you what, if you can get your company on the first page (Not even number one) I will then pay you double your rate to work on my website and recommend you to many clients. He thanked me and said he would be back in touch soon. It has been three years, and he has never called me back, and their site still is not within the first 200 listings. Why? Because if it was that simple, anyone could do it. I assure you, it is not that simple.
Here are some tips for improving rankings:
This of course is not a complete list. The moral of this story is to remember Rome wasn’t built in a day and you really need to put in a lot of time and hard work in order to improve your rankings. While no one can guarantee you number 1 for any given keyword, I can promise you that you can make steady improvements over time. But you have to use Elbow Grease.
If you are in a hurry to be ranked, and don’t have time to wait then I would recommend using Google Ad Words in order to be found quicker. Now this of course can be cost prohibitive depending on what keywords and phrases you need to be found for. What I like to do is do my best SEO work and then filling the gaps by using Google ad words. A well constructed ad words campaign can be profitable, but you have to be very careful as expenses can really get away from you and before you know what you’ve spent thousands of dollars with very little return. But that is the subject for another day, contact me if you need help managing your ad words campaign, your SEO or anything at all. We are always glad to help.
Well, The one good thing about search engine optimization is you really can’t BS. Now I have 1 million search engine optimization firms call me every week, (maybe a slight overstatement) promising to make me number one. The problem? They don’t even know what I do for a living when they call! The reason I say you can’t BS is that those firms typically are NOT in the top hundred for the search phrase “search engine optimization”. If it was so easy, don’t you think they would be number one?
My take on the whole industry is that it’s really a bullshit industry that sprung up with the advent of Google. When someone calls you up and promises to make you number one: hang up the phone. Do it quickly. Do not waste your time. No one can make that promise. (well, they can make that promise but they cannot fulfill it)
When I work on search engine optimization, I do it with a common sense approach. I don’t try and trick the algorithm, no on can. I work within Google’s guidelines. Quality content wins. Consistent solid content achieves desired results. Most people are lazy. If you can commit to a schedule of posting good content on a regular basis, you will improve in search results. Think about it like this. If you add one post a week, at the end of the year you posted over 52 new links within Google’s index. If during that same timeframe, your competition hasn’t added anything to their website. Shouldn’t you improve? Of course you should!
I recently had a chance to prove this to myself. A client (one of my most favorite) emailed me that they had noticed a drop in performance for organic search. We had been following a blueprint I laid out adding a lot of great content. So I was startled when I read the email. A little background: She had recently been working with a so-called SEO expert who fed her this nonsense about her rankings dropping.
I did a bunch of tests and found that not only had her company not dropped, but actually improved considerably! As I said the proof is in the pudding! I sent her the search results and she was thrilled. I made no promises other than we will improve if they follow my roadmap. She was number 1 for over 20 phrases! I was vindicated, and as usual the SO expert was proven wrong!
The pudding tastes excellent by the way.