It amazes me the amount of spam that comes through the comments on the various blogs I work with.
About 4-5 years ago comment spam, forum spam and other similar schemes were all the rage because they worked.
The world caved in on those things when Google finally started really cracking down on all forms of links. Additionally, Google cracked down on content farms that churned out content aimed at pleasing longtail keyword searches on Google without really pleasing the people actually searching for those keywords.
There are two things to remember about Google:
1) They really do seem to care about their users. They want to provide the best search results possible for actual people. It’s easy to get lost in the SEO world thinking about what Google wants. It’s not about what Google wants because they want what’s best for their users.
2) Google doesn’t owe website owners and business owners free rankings. If Google can please its users with 100% paid results they would do it and history suggests they’re moving in that direction. People, especially those in the SEO world, have been talking about the crackdowns on link building and content farming for a couple years, but I think the real story is the changes in the results. There are more paid ads in the rankings than ever. Google’s other properties are taking over the rankings as well. It’s hard to find a general result these days without seeing a YouTube or Google+ influence on the page.
Each of these has a takeaway for your business.
1) Any type of SEO that sees you thinking about links strictly for the purpose of rankings is a losing game. Forget about it now because even if it works it only works in the short-term and once Google quashes it you’ll see a huge drop in traffic and sales. Focus on something with steadier growth.
2) Start spreading out your sources of traffic now. Build your email subscriber list. This is even more important now that Google Reader is shutting down. Also focus on building links, but for the purpose of traffic. Really you aren’t thinking about link building as much as you’re thinking about exposing your brand to new audiences. It’s a type of referral. If someone with an audience mentions your brand they are recommending you to their audience and that can lead to sales. One such post has led to about five new clients here at GBW in the last six weeks. It’s not link building. It takes years of building relationships in the real world that lend people to refer you.
Finally, the basic SEO things are still the best way to go and that means focusing on making SEO a focus throughout your business.
An SEO-Optimized Business
It’s a big challenge to work SEO into your entire business, but in today’s online world it’s necessary.
Well, it’s not necessary if your target customer doesn’t use the Internet, but then I’d be curious why you’re reading this blog.
Anyway, making sure SEO is part of your entire business means you have to be a politician. You have to go around talking about just about everybody involved in the company and explain why it’s good for them and for the company that they focus on SEO when creating any type of content.
It’s weird, but in the corporate world people are rewarded for following the trusted formulas. Those that go rogue are usually cast off from the company because they really aren’t good employees.
So you’re going to find it struggling when you try to get people to change even if you know it’s for the better.
Your business is likely comprised of merchandisers, writers, designers, executives and others that all have an impact on SEO. Anytime content or design is created it will eventually touch the Web.
This means that your designers need to understand how to make sure content is seen as content by the search engine instead of making content part of the design.
It means that when your CEO helps write a press release that he speaks the language your target customers are searching for online. This gets tricky when you consider all the insider industry terms you use within your company. Your customer might not be searching for those terms and they’ll never find your content on your site because they’re not searching for it.
In business, people speak the language of money. The way to approach SEO throughout your business is to focus on new traffic new customers and more revenue.
When you talk to the designers give them examples of pages that are focused on SEO. Explain how more traffic to the page will help the design succeed. That makes the designer look good and it helps the company make money.
Use this same strategy with everyone in the company.
It’s going to be a lot of work on your end because people generally avoid change. You’ll have to do some pushing, but more than that you’ll be doing most of the work yourself. You have to get things rolling and start the momentum before others will follow.