Search Engine Optimization SEO is Dead. Long Live SEO

    June 18, 2004

I get a lot of inquiries from web site owners looking for magical search engine optimization results. I wonder where they’re getting the idea that top rankings can be had so easily for such a minimal investment. Many truly believe that Google’s most competitive rankings can be conquered that easily.

It’s time to send a wakeup call up call that search engine rankings are extremely valuable and can’t be had through some feeble effort, despite the thousands of spam advertisements and spam e-mails that say they otherwise.

Many Web site owners aren’t trying to exploit SEOs. Some aren’t even checking around for price comparisons. They truly believe it is a simple matter to top the listings against hundreds of competitors vying for the same rankings. Many have heard so called search engine reports that all you need is a high PageRank, a few tricks and lots of link exchanges and number one is yours. They feel that the site’s content has no correlation to rankings and search engine visibility. “Get me the top rankings within two months and don’t touch the site.” Some even emphasize meta tags which haven’t been used by search engines in nearly 4 years.

Well, in the new search engine environment, this is the stuff of fairly tales and myth. It’s time to educate search engine optimization buyers that the playing field has changed and a new attitude toward search engine optimization is needed.

What’s Changed?

The Google search engine has gained a stranglehold on the search engine industry. It came in with a simple algorithm but that was then, this is now. Google’s search engine algorithm and computing system is a huge and enormously complex Web page indexing system. The company is launching a 5 to 20 billion dollar public stock offering by the fall of 2004. If this company could have its core product so easily manipulated, no one would want to purchase their stock. They have to make it as complex as possible so that even the top SEO specialists feel hopeless.

Their search engine algorithm searches your Web site for the keywords and linking patterns within the site. These digital, mathematical patterns indicate whether a site matches what Google considers a relevant site. Links that point to your Web site are important too, but you can’t build links through linkswaps anymore. Google found that this process was undermining their index. No more linkswaps.

Web site owners are buying links and Google is trying to eliminate what appear to be links that were purchased with the intent of boosting some site’s rankings. Many times this “filter” is wrong about a particular link. Nevertheless, to Google, this link looks suspicious and the apparent paid link is deleted.

So how do you build links to your site? You must do it through content development. With relevant content, other Web sites will be willing to link to yours, maybe. You may have to contact them via e-mail or telephone to persuade them to do it. Very often, they won’t do it unless it fits with their own Web site strategy.

Google is an Intelligent Organization

Google is treating many keyword phrases as synonymous even though they aren’t. Type in these keyword phrases real estate appraisal, real estate appraising, real estate appraiser and real estate appraisers and you’ll notice that the results are all the same.

So even though a Google searcher is looking for real estate appraisal, they’re not going to get it. They’re going to get real estate appraisers whether they like it or not.
Those selling real estate appraisal courses, books, information, sources and companies will instead have to compete for the phrase real estate appraisers.

Google uses a new authority based algorithm that attributes a weighted emphasis on certain popular Web sites. If those sites don’t link to yours, you’re in trouble. Their link to you is very important so you’d better have a good reason for them to link to your site such as newsworthy content. Anything less and you’re a nobody. Brochure copy on your site is not going to be successful.

Despite this complexity, your SEO will understand how to take your site from nowhere to high ranks if you listen to his/her suggestions. Your SEO specialist wants you to rank well, but you should understand that this business is tough. Search engines have their own business goals and you must conform to their needs. They have the power. It’s that simple.

Don’t get discouraged and pull back to spam techniques and banners ads. Those have failed badly too. Trust that your SEO specialist has your long-term goals in mind.

I have many client’s sites who have taken as many as six months to gain excellent rankings and wide exposure, even though they wanted instant results. Even when their site rises to the top, all they can think about is those first few months where they were “supposed to be at the top.”

Search engines don’t want you to have instant results anymore. They have a quality control checking system that you can’t circumvent. They’re smart and you will have to give them what they want.

A good SEO specialist knows this and will help you build a strong foundation for your site so that it is a compelling force in the listings for years to come. You have to decide whether you’re in business for a few months or for the many years ahead. Think ahead because your site’s future is what’s at stake.

Gord Collins has been offering top notch search engine optimization services since 1999 and has authored two books on SEO techniques. Gord is a frequent reader of Web Pro News.