I’m continuing to have a lot of conversations about the devastating impact that Google’s Organic algorithm updates have had on the bottom lines of some businesses. It’s disheartening to hear stories of business owners, online marketers, and webmasters who, many without deep understanding (though some clearly knew, or looked the other way, what was going on to attain such high rankings), followed the advice of non-best practices’ SEO specialists and now have previously top-ranking web pages drowning in obscurity beyond page 3 in Google’s Natural Search Results – with traffic falling to below half of what it once was.
I was in a meeting the other day with a company who was looking to retain our services. As we got deeper into the discussion, I learned that they were comparing us to other companies, some domestic and some off-shore. That’s fine and is an every day occurrence within our business.
What I found surprising was that several of the competitors were recommending techniques that we would unequivocally consider to be black hat SEO and making promises that were unrealistic. Their logic apparently was to take illicit measures that they felt would boost a client’s rankings in Google, even at the expense of damaging the credibility of their domain. Personally, I don’t think these businesses did an adequate job of explaining the risks involved, but rather sold the upside potential that these tactics may deliver.
I do not pretend to personally understand Google’s algorithm, but I am confident that the brainpower behind it is sufficient to continue to weed out techniques that are considered non-best practices, even if it doesn’t always happen overnight.
SEO should be an ongoing initiative within your organization. Shortcuts are not the answer. Don’t allow your site’s viability to be jeopardized by tactics that are very likely to backfire in the long run.
With the recent drops in Google’s PageRank and other algorithmic adjustments, many companies are in a frenzy to dramatically readjust their SEO strategies. These same businesses exert the same ferocity, again and again, every time the industry shifts. What many people are failing to notice is that the evolution of SEO is a fluid, ongoing process, that is ultimately meant, on the part of the engines, to provide users with the most relevant and highest quality search engine results.
Tips to Avoid SEO Tunnel Vision:
Don’t forget about the user.
While SEO results are important, your primary motivation shouldn’t consist of being “#1 in Google” or having a PageRank of 10. Instead, realign your goals to reach users, provide a quality experience, and enhance your business. With good content and a quality user experience, SEO relevance will follow.
Create a well-balanced site by following SEO best practices.
Websites experiencing long-term success have created environments for the users and made them easily accessible (and understandable) to the search engines.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Focusing too much on one or two aspects of SEO can lead to disastrous results when algorithms change. SEO is a comprehensive strategy with dynamic elements and should be treated as such.
Additionally, steer clear of SEO methods that offer results based on one or two “quick tricks.” These usually signify non-Best Practices, and sometimes even “black-hat,” techniques that can get you banned from the search engines.
Algorithm modifications are, by nature, designed to benefit well-conceived websites.