I’ve been at this for 29 years. With that in mind, I can confidently state that not much has changed regarding getting search engine rankings.
Google is clear. We should be concerned about our site visitors first. Do that, and the rankings will follow, right? If only it were that easy.
Even with this “clarity,” website owners are still doing what Google stated is spammy, lacks quality, and will cause a site not to rank well. In addition, many disregard the importance of site content instead of quick fixes or “shortcuts.” (No such thing.)
How do you like having your rankings teetering on Google’s whim? View the Google Algorithm Change History. How can anyone be expected to keep up with that?
Not a good feeling, huh? I’m with you on that.
While it is essential to remain informed about what Google does or doesn’t do, the best approach is laser-focused on your market/customers. That is the sole thing you have complete control to control.
Your WordPress website SEO long-term strategy.
You need to have a strategy and implement it consistently regardless of what fits Google may have at any given time. It is not easy, but it is what needs to be done. And why so many fall short.
First, relying on free/organic Google rankings is not a strategy for building your business. It will take a long time; you cannot expect immediate results.
I find myself warning clients regularly, those stuck in the keyword stuffing, gratuitous content creation, spammy linking past practices — that they are on borrowed time. If they expect free organic rankings to help them turn a profit, it isn’t going to happen.
These are all questions I field regularly. But, unfortunately, most don’t like my response—a response based on the reality of what needs to be done.
Forget about “Top 10” Rankings
Unfortunately, the spam of easy listings and “top 10 positions” often drowns out the truth of what is required to gain and maintain those rankings. For example, did you notice how many organics are now above the fold (what visitors see without having to scroll vertically)?
One, two, none? Then, there is a handful below the fold. Your mission is to beat those folks to hit that top page. Be better than the site already listed and replace them. Good luck with that! [Read 5 SEO Truths for 2024]
To have realistic goals and expectations, I think we first need to put the massivity of the online world into perspective.
Wow! Based on the above, what intelligent person would not realize there will need much work to get discovered? As you know, it is not uncommon to find millions of pages competing for the same terms when doing keyword searches.
So, let’s get down to it…
The Ten Commandments of Search Engines:
- Thou shalt not expect Search Engines to drive massive traffic to your site based on initial or minimal efforts. Rankings take time to solidify. No tweaking? No updating? Not growing your site? There are 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 rank. 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, what makes your site better than 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. So don’t grow, track, and react; your site will never gain in positioning.
- Thou shall know there are no “top of page” listings for $$$ per month. Those are “Sponsored,” “Paid,” or “Featured Listings” ads that the Search Engines or PPC (Pay Per Click) services offer. These listings are purchased and have nothing to do with your site’s organic/free listings or what “keywords” are in your meta tags. And they are expensive.
- Thou shall realize that you need to play by the rules. There are no silver bullets or magic pills regarding your site’s rankings. Some use tactics that do not or may temporarily work and, when detected, could get your site demoted. This is called “Black Hat” SEO. If an “expert” advises anything different than noted here, run.
- Thou shalt not sit back and think that without participating, networking, and taking advantage of on and off-line opportunities to get exposure for your website, you will get traffic anyway. You won’t. Look again at the figures I mentioned above. After all, this is interactive technology-don’t interact, don’t be involved, and don’t expect rankings or traffic.
- Thou shall understand that this is no longer a “build it and they will come” telephone book environment. With literally billions of web pages online and millions going live daily, how do you really think your potential customers will find you without ongoing proactive efforts? They won’t.
- Thou shalt not believe that by copycatting perceived competitors, that is your path to better rankings. Did you know that Google personalizes all searches? Results provided when looking for your site may not be what other searchers see. And if your “competitors” are doing things that Google frowns upon, those rankings will dissolve. Maybe not today, but it will happen.
- Thou shall understand that only unwavering commitment, participation, and ongoing investment (in time and $$) is the only way to gain and maintain relevant rankings. It would be best if you also planned 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.
What Should I Do Right Now?
Many think rankings should just happen. Or by changing this or that, adding keywords or some phrases here or there, buying this program, or subscribing to that software, all your target customers will be able to find you. Unfortunately, there is nothing further from the truth.
FREE: Find new keywords for your market…
Rankings Grow with Consistency
Follow this approach, and the rankings will grow. Have no approach? Still have just a 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.
What if your competitors are more involved and aggressive than you are? You know the answer. You don’t want to be in the position of modifying your site to try to mimic success. Instead, 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.
“Wanting,” “feeling,” and “thinking” won’t cut it. Doing, planning, reviewing, and taking action in a fluid and constantly changing environment is what works best.
Don’t blame the Web, don’t blame technology, don’t blame the Search Engines. Please don’t feign anger that you must spend more time and money and learn new things to reach your goals.
All. The. Time.
That’s what this gig is all about – learning, changing, doing – rolling with the proverbial punches: testing and tuning. Trying new things to see what happens.
Indeed, don’t believe friends and associates who claim unbelievable results without the efforts mentioned here. Impossible. Start here…
At your service,