When MoreVisibility began in 1999, Search Engine Optimization was an esoteric concept that most marketers had either never heard of, or viewed as a confusing come-on by slick salespeople promoting some new form of black magic. These notions were further fueled by the fact that in the early days of SEO, it was actually possible to game the system and as a result, companies gained (and maintained) first page presence that drove significant amounts of customers their way.
Numerous things have changed over the past 14 years that have made it much more difficult to take shortcuts to the top, while increasing the penalty for those who decide to take the black hat path. Furthermore, the factors that are weighed by Google and the other search engines within their algorithms are much more diverse and are designed to lessen the likelihood that "cheaters" can prosper.
So, what is the truth about SEO today and how can an organization craft and execute a profitable strategy? The answer lies in making an ongoing commitment to several initiatives. They include:
- Creation of unique and relevant content
- Cultivate inbound links from relevant and authoritative websites
- Ensure there are no technical issues impeding Google's ability to crawl and index a site
- Avoid duplicate content and canonicalization issues
Make no mistake, there are still SEO firms offering unrealistic performance promises. Some utilize practices that are frowned upon by the search engines and will ultimately lead to penalties. Others focus on very long tail or non-valuable keywords to chart their progress. Neither will be beneficial over the course of time.
Regardless of whether you choose to tackle SEO with an agency or in-house, take the time to learn what's known about the ranking algorithms and apply those lessons. In SEO, slow and steady wins the race.