As a part time consultant for small business owners competing in localized arenas one of the first things we do for any small business we take up as a client is encourage them to launch a virtual store front optimized around their locale.
This is extremely important because everyone searches for localized products and services using search engines. No one really uses the phone book or yellow pages anymore because, well, its just too slow to search for it, whatever “it” is, that way.
For this reason, at least a small “well optimized” (not “over optimized”) business website that gives a clear and concise overview the products and services offered is a must.
What NOT To Do
I was reading a very interesting post over at SEO by the Sea this morning about the Google Rank-Modifying Spammers Patent in which Bill hilighted a number of common SEO practices that are now being targeted as spamming tactics, tactics such as:
- Keyword Stuffing
- Invisible Text
- Tiny Text
- Page Redirects
- Meta Tags Stuffing
- Link-Based Manipulation
Of the items on this list, most are pretty rare among regular webmasters and marketers, however two stand out to me and are quite readily used by most of us, these two being: “Keyword Stuffing” and “Link-Based Manipulation”.
Not me! You say? Maybe, maybe not. Do you perform keyword research and stuff keywords in your title tags, and make sure that they are a certain density in your content?
Do you build links to those pages using those very keywords as anchor text? If so, you may need to back off a little and rethink your SEO.
While the jury is still out on this one, determining what works and what doesn’t is getting harder due to the fact that Google has introduced new functionality that is targeted to confuse SEOs as to what works and what doesn’t.
As it is stated in the patent document itself:
“When a spammer tries to positively influence a document’s rank through rank-modifying spamming, the spammer may be perplexed by the rank assigned by a rank transition function consistent with the principles of the invention, such as the ones described above. For example, the initial response to the spammer’s changes may cause the document’s rank to be negatively influenced rather than positively influenced. Unexpected results are bound to elicit a response from a spammer, particularly if their client is upset with the results. In response to negative results, the spammer may remove the changes and, thereby render the long-term impact on the document’s rank zero. Alternatively or additionally, it may take an unknown (possibly variable) amount of time to see positive (or expected) results in response to the spammer’s changes. In response to delayed results, the spammer may perform additional changes in an attempt to positively (or more positively) influence the document’s rank. In either event, these further spammer-initiated changes may assist in identifying signs of rank-modifying spamming.”
So what does this mean for SEOs?
It means that they will get mixed signals when trying to rank web pages. And this can be a nightmarish scenario when clients are paying SEO handily for great SERP results.
But it really doesn’t have to be that hard. All that is needed is a little patience.
What We Do
Google is really easy to beat at their own game if you just follow this one simple rule: make them look good.
It’s just that simple. Make Google look good for serving up your content in search queries.
So how do you make Google look good? Drum roll please? Add a high quality, continuously updated, all-original, well written blog to your small business website.
That’s really all you have to do.
Unbeknownst to most, SEO has actually gotten much, much simpler. SEO is no longer an arms race and I am thankful for that.
This means that an SEO can now focus on what is most important…copywriting…writing high quality blog posts for their own blog and, if necessary, for their client’s blog(s).
Simply put, blogging works and blogging gives Google what they want, fresh unique content that makes them look good
How To Blog Step-By-Step
This is really pretty simple here is what we do…
- Write A High Quality Blog Post – Don’t promote it right away. You need to let it sit and get indexed first. You don’t really have to promote it if it is well-written and unique. Let Google find it and then “Google” the title in a day or two. It should rank at least on the first or second page.
- After A Week, Perform A Little SMO – SMO stands for Social Media Marketing for those who want to know. I am really not that good at SMO, but knowing how to do it is really a necessary evil. After your post has been indexed, give it a chance to “SEO itself” using [ this technique ]. With any lock, that’s all you’ll have to do.
- Link To It From Future Blog Posts – Over time, this is a great way to build trust rank on old blog posts. Additionally, if you have any regular readers, this gives an old post another change to benefit from a wave of social media.
- Link To It By Doing A Little Blog Commenting – Blog commenting, however, should be used sparingly. I have a sneaky suspicion that it is in the cross hairs. But for now it seems to be working. If your interested in learning how to do it right, check out [ this article ], [ this article ], [ this article ], and [ this article ]. That should pretty much do it.
The key to all of this is well-written and unique content…and boosting your rankings for “long tail keywords“.
If your web pages rank well in SERP results for long tail keywords, then over time, your site’s main pages will start to rank for “high competition”/”short tail” keywords, short tail keywords being the pinnacle of any SEO’s efforts, of course.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is this. Don’t frustrate yourself by trying to manipulate search results. It’s a messy and confusing process and anyone who is in SEO as their business has my condolences. That is an extremely frustrating business to pursue. However, “great copywriting” + “patience” + “a client who understands that it takes time” will ultimately lead to great results.