I recently had the honor of meeting with a prospective client who owns a long-standing plumbing business in the Waukesha area. They contacted me because they recently had their website redeveloped and are facing problems with their search results rankings. We set up a meeting time and I performed a multi-pronged analysis of their SEO and Local Search parameters to discuss with them.
After performing the analysis it turned out that not only was their website SEO in disarray, but their local search SEO has some pretty serious problems as well. It turns out that the marketing company who did the redevelopment of their website had little or no expertise in setting parameters for titles, descriptions and keywords, where applicable. Further, their listings in local search had multiple addresses, phone numbers, and duplicate listings at other geographical locations where the business does not exist. Fortunately for this business hope is not lost, and through the help of a seasoned internet marketer their website can regain its ranking and authority.
I find this story rather sad because this company likely paid a lot of money for their new website and they deserved to have it done correctly! I also find it appalling that there are web development businesses out there who perform poorly with either no conscience or the requisite knowledge and skill to at least retain, or even improve a businesses internet real estate value.
This case should be a warning to all businesses who are considering redevelopment of their website and/or SEO for their business. Please, do some research. Check the credibility of local web development companies to make certain they know what they are doing. Have them show you live examples of their work and search rankings for current or past clients.
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
I’m certain that most of us can relate to that adage of long ago, but for me it rings true even more in the context of Google and their litany of algorithm changes. Panda, Penguin, blah, blah, blah! Here in Waukesha, WI Google sure seems to be having a lot of negative impact on a lot of legitimate businesses. I’m positive these businesses have never implemented any negative SEO or backlinks because they have no clue what SEO even means.
The Alleged Purpose
Granted, Google is trying to clean up search results under the guise of providing a better “user experience”, but from what I can see over the course of the past year a lot of damage is being reaped upon legitimate Waukesha business websites while the crappy one’s still linger in top search results with their SPAM content and Adsense ads everywhere.
Meanwhile here in Waukesha
One good example is the multiple ranking fluctuations that this site has had. I can usually tell when an important algorithm has been launched because my site will drop off of the map for a few days. It’s no big deal to me because I know that I have never implemented any negative SEO tactics for this site. I mean hey! I live in Waukesha and the business is in Waukesha County – not a real big or competitive niche to compete with here in Wisconsin. I will admit that I used to be a frequent commentator and I used this URL as my profile, but that is who I am, right? Maybe that’s what Google doesn’t like, but it is what it is and I still make my way around to a comment or two now and then and I still use my profile info here at Liberty Web Marketing.
What Really Matters
It seems that one thing has remained constant in the SEO arena, even here in Waukesha. That element is content. Original, un-spun content that has not been published anywhere else. Of course the content should be relevant to whatever your business is about.
Another thing that is important is having quality citations from trusted directories that provide your business profile information. These directory listings help Google and other search engines decipher and categorize your Waukesha area business.
For several years I have been actively engaging the art of internet marketing. Otherwise known as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Local Search Optimization, and other forms of Online Marketing that include press releases and positive reviews, this process of attaining reputable citations (backlinks) from prime internet real estate used to be an achievable goal that would help websites rank higher in the search results.
However, just like anything else, if a good thing gets too popular people will figure out a way to “game the system” to make a lot of money from other people who lack the requisite knowledge to perform the task themselves. When that happens it usually doesn’t take too long before someone else realizes that they are loosing money that should be theirs. Google discovered this some time ago…
Approximately 18 months ago Google’s Matt Cutts began implementing sweeping changes to their search engine algorithms to change things up. Why? SEO’s and Internet Marketers were getting too many crumbs of Google’s multi billion dollar pie. For thousands of years it has been the nature of people to make the most amount of money by doing the least amount of work. Google was not going to have any part of people earning free money on the back of their search engine.
In the context of SEO and Internet Marketing this principle of greed has been accomplished by programmers who have designed software to mass produce backlinks and otherwise steal and manipulate search rankings to favor their websites. (I will hereinafter refer to these sites as “Dummy Sites”) In many cases these “Dummy Sites” were actually outranking legitimate sites owned by businesses and other reputable companies who invested large sums of money for marketing and advertising, including advertising through Google Adwords. Nevertheless, their content and ranking were fleeced by the dummy site and visitors were ultimately redirected from the dummy site to the original site, but not before earning the dummy site owner revenue through affiliate fees and/or advertisement PPC revenue. Essentially advertisers were paying to have visitors directed to their site via these dummy sites and Google was conveying a portion of that revenue to the dummy site owner.
It wasn’t long before advertisers were complaining to the search engine monster about these dummy sites and Google realized that if only they could eliminate the middle-man “they” could kill two birds with one stone. (1) Advertiser sites could rank higher – making them happy; and (2) Google would be earning all of the advertising revenue instead of sharing it with Adsense advertisers.
The only way to accomplish this, however, would be to revamp Google’s algorithm parameters to eliminate preference to sites that implement certain keyword and backlink methods to rank better – a method that has been exploited by people across the globe. As a result of their Panda and Penguin algorithm updates SEO’s, Online Marketers and business owners have suffered the wrath of changes by Google and the future of successful search ranking methods are anything but certain. (NOTE: For those of you who used to take advantage of this good thing it’s time to find a new way to swindle people out of their money because Google doesn’t want to share at the expense of “their” search engine!)
A New Vein of SEO Gold
Of course, marketers are quick to see a “golden” opportunity to make good money from the victims of these updates and it didn’t take long for SEO’s and Internet Marketers to hop on the “We can help you recover from Panda/Penguin Update” train. It seems that despite the great secrecy of these algorithm parameters, there seems to be hundreds of individuals who are not Google employees who claim to know exactly how to fix a website that has been banished by Google. Granted, perhaps there are obvious indicators that even a novice SEO can identify and undue, the truth is that even legitimate SEO’s and Internet Marketers lack the capability to truly know what will and will not recoup a website that has been branded by Google as SPAM. I don’t care if a proclaimed SEO has 1,000 websites that he or she monitors and claims to be ahead of the curve on these Google updates, because quite frankly I don’t think Google themselves knows what the hell they are doing – other than scrambling search rankings to eviscerate these dummy sites. Clearly I intend no disrespect to the hundreds of Google technicians who fervently implement algorithm tweaks in their attempt to achieve better search results, but it is obvious that the frequency of these tweaks and the chaotic search rankings indicate that this is anything but a science that anyone has mastered.
The sad thing is that despite the fact that there are legitimate Internet Marketers out there that are capable of helping sites recover from bad SEO, for every legitimate SEO strategist there are 20 bogus SEO’s that only take people’s money and likely inflict more harm than good. Do yourself a BIG favor: Don’t make ANY investment with an SEO until you have thoroughly done a background check to verify that their methods are legitimate.
The New Age of SEO
Quite frankly, I personally believe that Google is completely revamping their entire search engine to completely eviscerate backlink and keyword manipulation effectiveness. From the changes that I see it appears that unique content and popularity through various social channels such as Google+, Facebook and Twitter are the new age of SEO that has a very minimal chance of being manipulated in such a way as to give an untrustworthy, unpopular website any leverage in the search engine results. If you want good rank you need lot’s of visitors, social attention, and content that has been intelligently and legitimately written for your brand and target audience.
I would be more than happy to hear your opinions in the comments below