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 not to rank well.
How do you like having your rankings teetering on Google's whim? Not a good feeling, 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.
View the Google Algorithm Change History.
Your WordPress website SEO long-term strategy.
Your strategy needs to apply regardless of what fits Google may have at any given point in time. (You guessed it, I'm not a fan.)
Your goals to be reliant on free/organic Google rankings are not a strategy to build your business upon. Let's get that out there before we proceed, okay?
I had to say that because 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 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? “Where do I list my keywords?”
These are all questions I field regularly. Rankings are fleeting, and if you are currently ranking well without correcting these clearly called-out practices by Google, your days are numbered!
Forget about “Top 10” Rankings
Unfortunately, many times the spam of easy listings and “top 10 positions” drowns out the truth of what is required to gain and maintain those rankings. 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 — you've got to beat those folks to hit that top page.
Good luck with that! [Read 5 SEO Truths for 2021]
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 January 2020 survey we received responses from 1,295,973,827 sites across 249,618,033 unique domain names and 9,576,845 web-facing computers. This reflects a gain of 27.7 million sites, 5.86 million domains, and 146,000 computers.Netcraft.com
Wow! Based on the above, what intelligent person would not realize there will need to be a ton of work 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 traffic to your site based on initial or minimal efforts. Rankings take time to solidify. 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 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. 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. Don't grow, track and react; your site will never gain in positioning.
- Thou shall know there are no “top of page” listings for $$$ per month. Those are “Sponsored,” “Paid,” or “Featured Listings” ads that the Search Engines or PPC (Pay Per Click) services offer. These listings are purchased and have nothing to do with your site's organic/free listings or what “keywords” are in your meta tags.
- Thou shall realize that you need to play by the rules. There are no silver bullets or magic pills when it comes to your site's rankings. Some use tactics that do not work or may temporarily work and, when detected, could get your site demoted. This is called “Black Hat” SEO. If an “expert” advises anything different than noted here, run.
- Thou shalt not sit back and think that without participating, networking, and taking advantage of on and off-line opportunities to get exposure for your website that you will get traffic anyway. You won't. Look again at the figures I mentioned above. After all, this is interactive technology-don't interact, don't be involved, don't expect rankings or traffic.
- Thou shall understand that this is no longer a “build it and they will come” telephone book environment. With literally billions of web pages online and millions going live daily, how do you really think your potential customers will find you without ongoing proactive efforts? They won't.
- Thou shalt not believe that by copycatting perceived competitors that is your path to better rankings. Google personalizes all searches. What you see when looking for your site may not be what other searchers see. And if your “competitors” are doing things that Google frowns upon, those rankings will dissolve. Maybe not today, but it will happen. You don't want to be in the position of modifying your site to try to mimic success. Make your site about what works for your customers and site visitors, and over time you'll find your rankings improve instead of worrying about when the other shoe will drop.
- Thou shall understand that only unwavering commitment, participation, and ongoing investment (in time and $$), is the only way to gaining and maintaining relevant rankings. 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 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!
- Look at your stats! Review what is happening, so you know what to build upon. Do keyword research (aff) 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 regularly. 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 search engine algorithms. 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!
Rankings Grow with Consistency
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!
Don't blame the Web, don't blame technology, don't blame the Search Engines. Please don't feign anger that one has to spend more time and/or 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. 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,