Does Internet Ranking Really Matter?


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By Carl Weiss

About two years ago, a client wrote me in a panic. The client had received an email from one of our competitors saying they weren't ranking on Google search, and that the firm said it could help them do so. What stood out for me was the phishing email never mentioned what my client was ranking for. In fact, Website name ranking as a whole isn't important. For most businesses, only ranking for the important keyword in their industry matters. Overall ranking for most visitors (being number one) for the most part, is the dominion of large companies that have spent the time, money and labor (doing whatever it takes today), to get widespread name recognition. I showed our client the email was just a “phishing expedition.” That only industry keyword ranking mattered. I also pointed out they were showing up on Page One of Google, Yahoo and Bing, for no less than 12 important keywords in their industry. You can read the entire article called "Is Google Calling or is it Someone Else?" by clicking here.

Organic Search Matters ... or Does It?


Given the above, it’s true that being on Page One of Google’s search is significant in that it takes a lot of work to achieve that position today. Importantly, it can make a real difference for your company's Internet marketing success. However, it doesn’t mean a company can’t be successful if they're not organically on Page One of Google search. We have clients that, because of the work of previous digital marketing firms, had been black-balled by Google. So while they couldn’t organically get on Page One of Google search, they were on Page One of Yahoo and Bing.
Courtesy of  Washington Post

Also, getting on Page One is not the be-all and end-all. Your listing still has to motivate someone to click on it. On top of that, the page they land on also has to entice them to buy, call or leave their contact information. And let's not forget that there is always pay-per-click advertising. While this medium has its flaws, it can be a very successful marketing venue when managed correctly.

I’ve been in the business of working the Web for 19 years. Before 2000, it was possible to generate a Page One ranking on a number of search engines such as Yahoo, Lycos and Alta Vista in as little as 24 hours. Better still was the fact that everything you needed to make the grade online resided on your Website. There was no blogging, social networking or video required.

Back then, Google was a small part of things. It had yet to become the “800-pound gorilla in the room” that it is today. In 2000,Yahoo commanded more than 40% of the search market. A number of other search engines could also boast significant traffic. Back then, no single entity had a stranglehold on the market.

English: seo block
English: seo block (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fast forward to 2014: Google controls 80% of search and the rules have changed.  Now, instead of taking 24 to 48 hours to produce a Page One organic result, it isn't unusual for it to take three to six months. And getting there is no longer an injection of on-site SEO.  It’s an interrelated process involving daily social network feeds, weekly blogs, monthly videos, plus partner and directory backlinks, all of which need to be as organized and as well-optimized as your Website.  This means there isn't any quick fix that will enable you to generate prime search engine results.  Also, no sooner do you get a bead on what Google wants, it changes the rules. The result is that one day, you’re on Page One and the next you find yourself somewhere else.

Why Does Google Keep Changing the Rules?


Love it or hate it, the Internet is a game.  Play it well and you’ll be rewarded.  Play it poorly and you might as well not play at all.  However, the rules not only keep changing, they aren't even clearly explained. That can make it hard to devise a winning strategy.  While Google posts information, including videos, which purportedly tell us what it wants regarding content, its
Courtesy of SearchengineLand.com
explanations are oftentimes vague.  The reason it (and all other search engine operators) does this is to keep anyone from being able to dominate search. 

If you read about Google’s recent updates that sported adorable names like Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, then you know there after effect was anything but cute and fluffy. That’s because when it comes to updates, the search engines aren’t simply trying to improve their search algorithms, they’re also out to eliminate anyone who’s trying to cheat the system to get on Page One.

 Cheat and You Could Lose Big


In 2000, it was common for professional optimizers to sway the system by using black hat techniques such as link farms and keyword stuffing to make their client’s sites seem more valuable to the search engine spiders. Back then, the spiders weren't all that savvy, so it was relatively simple to trick them. Today’s spiders are much “smarter,” they can read text and understand its meaning. So now they can determine how well your posts and blogs are constructed. They can even assess if you’re plagiarizing previously written material (which is why auto-blogging can be so dangerous to your ranking). Worse still, once the spiders determine your site isn't playing by the rules, not only are they ready, willing and able to relegate your site to the backwaters of the Web, but they can also blacklist your site so it’s nearly impossible to climb back out
English: OXBOW - You Can't Cheat Nature - slogan
English: OXBOW - You Can't Cheat Nature -  slogan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
of the hole you've dug.

If you want to make the Internet part of your business marketing scheme, then you need to do the work. Or, decide how much of the work you can manage and then delegate the remainder. Either way, if you want to create a rock solid Page One presence, you’re going to have to take the long view and commit to creating fresh content every day of the week, 52 weeks per year.

Here's what Google has to say about hiring & SEO Vendor

Four More Ways to Skin a Search Engine


However, there are a few shortcuts to getting onto Page One that don’t ruffle Google’s fur:

Cover of Short Cuts - Criterion Collection
1.  Press Releases – Online press releases are an excellent way to get your business featured on Page One of Google search. Just don’t expect to stay on there for more than a few days. When it comes to search, old news isn’t good news.

2. Optimized Blogs – Particularly if you use Blogger (which is owned by Google) to write optimized blogs at least once per week, it’s possible your blog could find its way to Page One in as little as 24 hours. Like press releases, expect this position to quickly erode.

3. Video SEO – Have you ever done a Google search only to find a thumbnail image that led you to a YouTube video? This is another example of cross-platform SEO in action. Since Google owns YouTube, a properly optimized video can sometimes wind up on Page One on Google.

4. Pay Per Click Advertising (including Pay Per View) – As stated earlier, this avenue has its flaws, but when managed well it can pay big dividends with results that can easily be measured and adapted to changing circumstances. I’m referring to PPC for search engines, but PPC is also available for social media. And you’re not just restricted to Google; Yahoo has 800 million users and is a viable place to advertise based on the size and demographics of its user base.

Not only are blogs and videos a great way to jump onto Page One of Google, but they can also generate a following of their own. In fact, there are some enterprising people who make a comfortable living by publishing blogs or YouTube videos. Even if your videos don’t generate millions of hits per month, having hundreds or even several thousand motivated followers can be a great way to generate results online. We’ve had several clients generate more conversions from their blogs than they did from their Page One search engine listings. The reason is that on the search engines, you’re just one of the herd. On your blog, you’re the star.

Organic Search Isn't the Only Game in Town


As stated earlier, being on Page One of Google search can be a godsend for most companies, but it's not always cost-effective for small businesses. Here are some other ways you can get Website traffic, clicks or calls that aren't directly search-related(aka content marketing):

The cover of The Only Game in Town.
The cover of The Only Game in Town. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1. Retargeting Ads – These are network ads that continue to follow you and serve the same ad that a customer showed interest in. It’s a type of PPC ad except it's not running in search.

2. Social Media Promoted Ads (Social PPC) – These can be useful if your ad motivates followers to "Like" your fan page or provide their contact information. It’s particularly useful when you include testimonial information in the sponsored ads. There are a wide variety of these depending on which network you use (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and the prices can be very cost effective.

3. Social Network Marketing – Posting useful information along with a mix of testimonials and an occasional specials.

4. Sponsored Articles Ads – These are a hybrid between PPC and blogging/article marketing.

5. Industry Specific Directory Ads – If you have a directory that has a highly targeted audience, it may be a fruitful place to run an ad.

6. Partnership Banner Ads – These run on blogs, video channels, and other symbiotic Websites. It's completely okay to enter into an arrangement with another company that has the same customer base and the high traffic you’re looking for. Make sure it's cost-effective and feel free to negotiate for perks and exclusivity.

7. Article Marketing – Unlike blogging, article marketing allows you to gain a higher level of credibility by being published on third party ezines. There can be backlinks and author profiles that can also produce the right kind of Website traffic, even phone calls.

8. Podcast Marketing – This is another useful way of producing content that’s in some ways less competitive yet easy to produce. It can have a long shelf life, especially if it’s produced in an Internet radio format.

9. Email Newsletters – Touch marketing is a great way to subtlety stay in front of your clients minds while enticing them to check out your specials and also tell their friends.

As you can see, there are many ways to get traffic. What's important is that your return on investment be measurable and realistic. Oftentimes we see a prospect spending $2,500 a month and only taking in $2,500 in new business for that month's ads. This is okay as long as those same customers spend an additional $2,500 over the next 12 months, (producing at least a 2 to one return).

When it comes to putting search engine ranking in its proper perspective, ask yourself: “Am I ready to do what it takes to play this game to win?” “Do I know my budget?” “Do I know how much I need to spend to make a sale?” And lastly, “How much is the customer worth over the next 12 months to my company?” Answering these questions intelligently will allow you to plan and measure properly. If you take our advice, success can be yours, but only if you're willing to play to win.

In this article I've explored the value of organic search ranking and provided alternative, cost-effective ways to develop Website traffic, ad clicks, calls, leads and closed sales. Use this information to grow your business, without the fear of Google blacklisting your site.

If you like this article, you can find more by typing “SEO” in the search box at the top left of this blog.

If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, family and co-workers. If you feel you have something to add to this article, leave a comment below.

Thanks again, until next time.


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Carl Weiss is president of Working the Web to Win, a digital marketing agency in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly web radio show of the same name as well as the YouTube, Working The Web TV Show series. He is also the co-author of a new book call Working The Web To Win, based on the hit web radio show and blog.
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3 comments:

  1. "Elooooooocidating," to say the least. (The o's represent search pages on Google.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gone are the days when you can cheat the search engines. Today you have to be willing to do a lot of work to produce quality content. But it's worth the effort.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Every time I read WtWtW's blogs, I learn something -- oftentimes many things -- new.

    ReplyDelete