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Is Overnight SEO Success Still Possible?

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As the owner of a search engine optimization company, I have seen the SEO industry evolve a great deal over the years but never more dramatically than it is right now.

Lately I have noticed signs that the “free ride” of getting easy website traffic from search engines is coming to an end. And that has caused many optimizers and website owners to ask themselves, “Is overnight SEO success still possible?”

In the early years (very early), it sure seemed like it was. One could simply add a bunch of keyword meta tags and get almost instant results. Then, meta tags were out and doorway pages were in.

The next fad was links from any and all sites, the more the better. When relevancy in links became a factor, many webmasters rushed to get link scripts installed and set up link directories with relevant categories.

Then content got a good run for a while. And most recently, text link ads (paid links) became all the rage.

Paid Links: The Straw That Broke Google’s Back?

As soon as link popularity became the holy grail of SEO and webmasters began learning how to artificially increase it with paid links, Google began working on filters to stop ranking manipulation. It also seems to have inspired the rumored “aging delay” in which new sites on newly registered domains face long waits to get indexed by the grand daddy of all engines.

While catching cheaters is a good thing, a lot of legitimate, quality sites are also getting caught up in Google’s new fishnet. There is plenty of grumbling among webmasters who report waiting up to nine months to appear in the Google rankings for even the most obvious keywords such as their company name.

Yes, getting top rankings in Google is definitely a lot harder (and slower) than it used to be. This is partly because more sites are being indexed and the sheer volume of competition is making it tougher to rise to the top. But that’s only part of the picture.

Google and the other engines are hell bent on preventing rankings manipulation, and since they hold all the cards, we’d better learn to play the game by their rules. And that, funnily enough, could mean going back to some of the “no brainer” promotional methods in use four or five years ago, when many of us took our businesses online for the first time. Back then, we did things like distributing articles and press releases and buying ads in relevant publications – not for the incoming links but for the visibility, traffic and credibility they generated. It just made sense.

With overnight SEO success a thing of the past, online business owners/operators not only have to change tactics – they also need to adjust their expectations.

Keeping SEOs on Their Toes

Responsible and workable SEO these days means not wasting your time or money trying to trick the search engines into ranking you highly for keyword phrases that you have no business ranking for in the first place. That’s why it’s so important before signing on with any optimization company to discuss these new expectations with them. You need to be an informed consumer because there are still SEOs living in the (very recent) past and still deeply committed to paid linking schemes, keyword stuffing, etc.

Now more than ever you as an SEO client need to investigate the optimization companies you’re considering. That means pumping them for details not just about their proven results but about their methodology such as keyword selection and link popularity before you pay the deposit.

Another reality check: SEO is going to be a tad more expensive in this new world (unless you are among the few who have the time, skills and resources to do it yourself). Reaching your target audience with interesting and compelling information about your industry is now the best way to achieve link popularity. But it’s definitely not as easy, fast or cheap as buying 100 site-wide text link ads or swapping links willy nilly.

If you don’t have the resources to produce regular copy about your business or industry, hiring an optimization company that has content writers to do the research and writing for you is probably your best bet. The benefits of greater link popularity AND visibility will be worth it over the long haul.

In Conclusion…

SEO continues to evolve, which these days means we all need to accept that getting top ten placements for competitive terms will not happen overnight nor in one month or even two.

Your task as a responsible SEO consumer is to do careful due diligence in selecting an optimization company. Be wary of any SEO that offers a quick fix, uses dubious tactics, and guarantees #1 rankings. Expect your optimization results to improve gradually over time.

No, overnight SEO success is no longer a reality for competitive keyword phrases but don’t let that get you down. It’s still worth doing… only now it’s worth doing well.

Anyway, the alternative – doing nothing – isn’t really an option. It reminds me of a saying hanging on the wall in my karate class: “While you are sleeping, someone else is training to kick your….”

I’ll let you guess the rest.

Michael Pedone is the President / CEO of eTrafficJams.com, a search engine optimization and website marketing company <http://www.etrafficjams.com> located in Clearwater, Florida that specializes in getting targeted, eager-to-buy traffic to your site. You can catch him blogging at: <http://www.etrafficjams.com/blog/>.

Is Overnight SEO Success Still Possible?
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