Google has been clear -- we should be concerned about our site visitors first. Even with this "clarity" website owners are still doing the very things that Google has stated are spammy, lack quality and will cause a site to not rank well.
How do you like having your rankings teetering on Google's whim? Not a good felling, huh? I'm with you on that! While it is important to remain informed about what Google does or doesn't do, the best approach is to be laser focused on your market/customers. That is the sole thing you have complete control to control.
Google updates it's algorithm 500-600 times each year.
View the Google Algorithm Change History
This is how to view your Website strategy for the long term...
... regardless of what fits Google may have at any given point in time. (You guessed it, I'm not a fan.)
To have your goals be reliant on free/organic Google rankings is not a strategy to build your business. Let's get that out there before we proceed, okay? Why? I had to say that because I find myself warning clients regularly, those stuck in the keyword stuffing, gratuitous content creation, spammy linking practices of the past -- that they are on borrowed time.
If I SEO, can I get on the top page?", How do I SEO for cheap? , If I 'do' SEO, then what? Where can I buy SEO?
These are all questions I field on a regular basis. Rankings are fleeting and if you are currently ranking well without correcting these clearly called-out practices by Google, your days are numbered!
Unfortunately, many times the spam of easy listings and "top 10 positions" drowns out the truth of what is required to gain and maintain relevant rankings. Forget Top 10 -- did you notice how many organics are now above the fold (what visitors see without having to scroll vertically)? One, two, none? Then there are a handful below the fold -- you've got to beat those folks to hit that top page.
Good luck with that!
In order to have realistic goals and expectations I think the first thing we need to do is put the massivity of the online world into perspective.
In the July 2016 survey we received responses from 1,073,777,722 sites and 6,058,513 web-facing computers. This reflects an increase of 28 million sites and 107,000 computers. NetCraft.com
Wow! Based on the above, what intelligent person would not take as a given the work that will be required to get discovered? As you know, it is not uncommon when doing keyword searches to find millions of pages competing for the very same terms.
So, let's get down to it...
The Ten Commandments of Search Engines:
- Thou shalt not expect that Search Engines will drive massive amounts of traffic to your site based on initial or minimal efforts. Rankings take time to solidify over time. And, as you grow your site for better placement you can expect a certain level of latency in any changes your tweaks may ultimately reflect. No tweaking? No updating? Not growing your site? No relevant rankings.
- Thou shalt not expect that Search Engines care about where you are ranked, where you want to be ranked or where you think you should be ranked. Their stated goal is to try to rank sites based on many variables to produce SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) that best meet what searchers are looking for. (So they say.) Look at it this way... What makes your site better than the those already ranked to nudge them out of the top positions? Nothing? Get to work!
- Thou shall understand that if you don't track your site activity and review analytics combined with keeping your site "fresh", growing with content and current with technology, those competitors that do will be ranked before you. Don't grow, track and react, your site will never gain in positioning.
- Thou shall know there are no "top of page" listings for $$$ per month. Those are "Sponsored", "Paid" or "Featured Listings" ads that the Search Engines or PPC (Pay Per Click) services offer. These listings are purchased and have nothing to do with your site's organic/free listings or what "keywords" are in your meta tags.
- Thou shall realize that you need to play by the rules. There are no silver bullets or magic pills when it comes to your site's rankings. Some use tactics that simply do not work or may temporarily work and when detected could get your site demoted. This is called "Black Hat" SEO. If an "expert" advises anything different than noted here, run.
- Thou shalt not sit back and think that without participating, networking and taking advantage of on and off-line opportunities to get exposure for your website that you will get traffic anyway. You won't. Look again at the figures I mentioned above. This is interactive technology after all -- don't interact, don't be involved, don't expect rankings or traffic.
- Thou shall understand that this is no longer a "build it and they will come" telephone book environment. With literally billions of Web pages online and millions going live daily, how do you realistically think your potential customers will find you without ongoing reactive and proactive efforts? They won't.
- Thou shalt not believe that by copycatting perceived competitors that is your path to better rankings. Google personalizes all searches -- what you see when looking for your site may not be what other searchers see. And if your "competitors" are doing things that Google frowns upon those rankings will dissolve. Maybe not today but it will happen. You don't want to be in the position of modifying your site to try to mimic success. Make your site about what works for your customers and site visitors and over time you'll find your rankings improve instead of worrying about when the other shoe will drop.
- Thou shall understand that only unwavering commitment, participation and ongoing investment (in time and $$), is the only way to gaining and maintaining relevant rankings. You also need to plan on consistently growing your site with content rich targeted information that is of interest to your site visitors or you risk not attaining any relevant exposure.
- Thou knows that even though they may not like the Ten Commandments of Search Engines, that in no way diminishes the reality of fact and truth in how Search Engines work and what you need to do as a site owner to ensure consistent relevant rankings over your competitors.
Many think rankings should just happen. Or that by changing this or that, adding keywords or some phrases here or there, buying this program or subscribing to that software that all your target customers will be able to find you. There is nothing further from the truth!
What Should I Do Right Now?
- Look at your stats! Review what is happening so you know what to build upon. Use Google's Adwords Keyword Tool to determine what folks are searching for within your market and then jump to provide that information.
- Create informative articles, resources and "how tos" and add them to your site on a regular basis. Start your Blog and Blog at least once a week to keep the new, fresh and valuable information that your market desires coming! Then share them across your social media channels.
- Don't waste your time chasing algos -- instead spend your time writing about your experience, expertise and share your knowledge by continually adding and growing your site. Talk to your customers, address their concerns and answer their most asked questions on your site.
- If your site is not on WordPress and not responsive -- no time like the present! Accomplishing everything mentioned here will be much easier and you'll have tons of plugins and premium themes to choose from to make your site stand out!
Follow this approach and the rankings will grow. Have no approach? Still have just static unchanging "brochureware" website because that is all you are willing to deal with? Then you really cannot expect to get results and rank well, right? What if your competitors are more involved and aggressive than you are? You know the answer.
"Wanting", "feeling", "thinking" doesn't cut it! Doing, planning, reviewing and taking action in an environment that is fluid and constantly changing is what works!
It is not the strongest of the species that survive nor the most intelligent, but those most adaptive to change.
~ Charles Darwin
Don't blame the Web, don't blame technology, don't blame the Search Engines, don't blame the fact that to reach your goals one has to spend more time and/or money and learn new things. All. The. Time.
That's what this gig is all about - learning, changing, doing - rolling with the proverbial punches. Trying new things to see what happens!
Certainly, don't believe friends and associates who claim unbelievable results without the efforts mentioned here - impossible! Start here...
At your service,