Like you, I also receive those emails that start with the guarantee of ensuring a top ranking inside Google. The use and style of English prompts leads you to believe they were sent from a far away land. How nice. Someone from far away who his concerned about your experience with Google. And all this for a fraction of what you would expect to pay. How could you resist?
A year ago picking a vendor this way may have had a very slight chance of working. These strategies were especially enticing as they required little involvement from you, the business owner. Vendors like these just did “stuff” on websites other than yours which would magically have an effect on your rankings.
This was a time of creating enough links to your website in whatever way they could. Let’s not worry too much about the quality of the sites those links came from – just get them and move on. I remember meeting the owner of a supposedly reputable SEO company telling me that they purchased all their links. So once their customers stopped paying their fees these links were retired and the rankings with them.
Anyway, surprise, surprise the positive effect that all this type of work used to deliver has finally come to an end. In late May Google went through quite a large update which included a change that specifically negated any positive effect strategies like these had produced.
So with this change, what’s left for Google to interpret when deciding which web page should be at the top of the results and which should sit at the bottom? Well to tell you the truth nobody exactly knows. If they say they do then beware. But all is not lost. Google widely distributes details on the over aching principles that when applied help it to find and successful rank your website. Follow this link to read one of the many documents they have published on the subject area. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35291?hl=en
One key principle they mention highlights the need of producing a steady stream of good onsite content. Links to this work will follow as people naturally find what has been produced and link to it. The last part of letting the links to your site grow naturally conflicts exactly with the previous strategy of manufacturing these links in a very unnatural manner.
Now there are still some ethical things you can do to help push along this natural link building process, but let’s talk about the first task at hand – producing great content.
Remembering that this content needs to be read by everyone – humans and those tenacious Google spiders – the task ahead can seem quite daunting. Especially when the style and quality of this work will more than likely have an effect on it converting “readers” into “sales leads”.
All of this makes the offer of effective Search Engine Optimisation from those in far away land seem even more interesting. Who would you like to produce your content? Someone who can barely produce an email describing what they offer? Or a business that can take the time to learn the business you are in and then work with you to help create a stream of quality content that your audience will want to read?
Now I understand that the road ahead looks a tad more difficult for those struggling with poor rankings. For instance a year ago a business owner could just pay someone to “do something” and their only involvement going forward was settling their account. All this has been replaced by a ongoing time commitment of them to work with a third party to not only produce content that makes sense but also place it on their website in a way that ensures it is read and has the desired effect of improving conversions.
I’m convinced that those with a half hearted level of commitment to the online space will find this all too daunting and will give up. Leaving the control of the organic results in their industry to others who can see the real payoff for their effort.
I liken this change to altering the type of work Search Engine Optimisation is for the business owner. Consider it moving from an “expense driven purchase” – where you bought it each month from someone who did “stuff” you never really understood – into one of creating “search assets”. They take time to create, and probably cost more in the process. Nevertheless, just as assets should, all this investment is rewarded with a positive return over an extended period as they sit solidly within the Google search rankings providing clicks to your website at zero marginal cost.
Last week a client summed all this up with a statement that in their opinion that if was hard to do, and still ethically fitted with what Google wanted to occur, then it was probably a good SEO strategy to embark upon. And conversely if it seemed too easy, and had question marks over the ethics – then there’s a very strong chance that Google will penalise them for using it, if not now then eventually in the near future.
Let me know if you would like to know more about how we can lighten some of the load.