So, for those of you who do not know, I have been involved, in one way or another, in search engine optimization since mid-2003. I that time, I have seen a lot of changes. Google has changed their algorithms about a gazillion times since then. Sites that were #1 in the search engines have disappeared completely from search results, and new sites that nobody has ever seen have jumped to the top, and then disappeared months, weeks, or even days later.
During this time, there have been hundreds of companies promising to put you in the first page of G’s search results for certain keywords. There have been thousands more, mostly individual, fortune seekers that have tried to “fool” Mr. Gs algorithms, into getting their sites into the coveted #1 position for high value, low competition terms that might make them a fortune in Adsense revenue, or affiliate earnings.
I am sure you have seen it… A new purple widget comes out, and you search for reviews. You see at the top of the search results, site after site (purplewidgetrevies.com/net/org/info/adnausium). Go to any one of those sites and you will see a site that tries to look like an honest review, but is full of affiliate links to buy the widgets.
Searchers do not like that, and Google knows this. They are far from stupid (trust me… my girlfriend works for Google). Still, someone that wants to put out a genuine review site about purple widgets might get discouraged by this.
I am here to tell you that you really do not need to worry about it. There is a difference between getting to the top, and disappearing in a month, and getting to the top and staying there. If you want to be in the latter category, there are some things that you need to fundamentally realize…
- Google is looking for the best possible experience for their searchers. They want people to use their service to search for things and be happy with the results they find. Basically, G wants people to find what they are looking for.
- Since it is basically impossible for G employees to search for absolutely everything, and physically rate where the sites should be in the results, they constantly come up with new algorithms to accomplish this task.
- If you want to come up anywhere near the top of the search results for any keywords, you need to do two things:
- Be as relevant as possible
- Be credible
In essence, you need to be an “authority” on the topic, and you need to be popularly thought of as an authority.
So, yea… if you want to rank well for a keyword or keyword phrase, you should probably know your s***. Not only that, but other people should know that, and recommend you for that fact. There are ways to fake that, and ways to actually accomplish that.
A bit of history for you… I made a decent income from running AdSense blogs for a while… about 2 years actually. I learned from some people that were very good at it, that I should always do my best to be as “white hat” as possible when trying to rank my blogs. That, combined with always trying to give my readers a high quality experience may have cost me a little bit here and there in AdSense earnings, but I have since sold many of those sites – one of which sold for $11,000.
The reason is because I went about SEO the “right way”. I gave searches that reached my site what they were looking for. I got genuinely honest backlinks (the staple for good SEO) that showed Google that my site was worth being #1 for the search terms I was looking for. When Google introduced the Panda update, my site actually improved, and showed up #1 for even more search terms.
After I sold my website, I even created a case study, and sold it on the Warrior Forum (the premier site for internet marketers). Now, I am not trying to toot my own horn here. I am just trying to make the point that short cuts almost always sell yourself short. If you are going to do something, do it right. Forget the shortcuts. Look for the long term goals, and do it right.
Incidentally… One thing that keeps happening that I cannot help but laugh at… I still own some blogs, here and there. Regularly, I get comment notifications that people are posting comments such as: “You have done a fantastic employment. I’m going to definitely yahoo that plus independently recommend in order to my pals. Now i am self-confident they will be taken advantage of this site”. Of course, their name is some form of keyword, and they leave a link to their site.
Do these people not realize that what they are doing (if I were to actually approve the comment) not only does not help them, but actually hurts them in the eyes of Mr. G? Sigh…
Anyway… Solid SEO still works. What has gone by the wayside is the shortcuts. Yes, people will keep finding ways to “cheat the system”, but Google will always figure it out, and how to stop it. Trust me.