“How Do I Increase My PageRank In a Month?”
“Is It Possible To Pay For a Number One Spot?”
“How Can I Get a Million High Quality Links in a Few Months?”
“How Can I Outsource My SEO Campaign to India for £100?”
If you take the time to browse SEO forums like SEOChat and SEOmoz, you will inevitably come across questions like these from both aspiring SEO’s and business owners. There is of course a common theme surrounding each of these questions: the inquisitor is searching for the easy option, the “magic pill” that will solve all of their SEO problems and give them a number one ranking in Google overnight.
What these people need to understand is that the secret to success in SEO is the same as it is in any other area of life: slow, sustained, steady progress will always trump a “quick fix” solution.
Let’s take a look at weight loss for example. There is no shortage of products on the market that make hyperbolic claims like “get six-pack abs in just 28 days, all for just £29.99”. But as you will know if you have ever asked anyone who has ever lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off, the secret to their success was not an ab swinger, a diet pill or the latest unsustainable crash diet. Nor did they lose the weight overnight. The reason they were able to lose weight is that they consistently ate a healthy diet, and supplemented it with regular exercise over an extended period of time.
SEO is no different. Any website that has consistently achieved a first page ranking in Google over a long period of time, did not get there by carpet bombing forums and blogs with 1000’s of spammy links using automated software. They did not get there by getting all of their content written in barely decipherable pigeon-English by someone from a third world country working for a $1 an hour. Nor did they get there by indiscriminately submitting to every free “SEO-friendly” web directory they could possibly come across. There is a reason why these tactics don’t produce consistent, long term results…
They are EASY. Anybody can do them.
Why would Google base their algorithm on factors that can easily be gamed by lazy SEO’s and business owners who don’t want to invest the time and money to build a decent website, write high quality, useful content and form genuine relationships with their customers and others in their industry?
With every year that passes, Google’s algorithm only gets better at detecting sites that attempt to use cheap, manipulative and easily replicable tactics in a bid to achieve quick rankings. While there is no doubt that some of these dodgy techniques may offer short term bursts of traffic, anybody who thinks this is a sustainable long term strategy seriously needs to get their head read. You’d be better off emailing Google now and asking them to de-index your site, to get the pain over with.
So if there is no magic pill for SEO success, what is the key to achieving sustainable, long term visibility at the top of the search engines?
I would argue that any business that wants to consistently compete for highly competitive search terms needs to invest time and money into strategies that require effort, strategies that are hard to replicate, and above all, strategies that offer genuine value to users and customers.
Effective strategies like building a high quality SEO-friendly website, guest blogging, submitting news-worthy press releases, maintaining a solid presence on social media, developing viral content, engaging with journalists and industry influencers, and maintaining an industry leading blog all require time, effort and resources to implement. The reality is that businesses that are prepared to quit looking for the easy option and begin utilising these strategies will be greatly rewarded by Google, with rankings, visits and revenue, both now and in the future.
Remember, search engines want to display quality search results for their users. If your website isn’t ranking well, it might be time to ask yourself whether it really deserves to…
***Newsflash: Several widely used spammy linkbuilding networks have been penalised and de-indexed by Google this week and the “big-G” are also on the verge of releasing an algorithmic update targeting sites that have been “over-optimised”. It might be time for many webmasters to think about cleaning up their back link profiles and anchor text, because big changes are once again afoot over at the Google headquarters…