If you haven't seen the latest SEO news lately (yeah, only us geeks read that every day), in the last few weeks, both JC Penny and Overstock.com have been penalized by Google for trying to manipulate Google's search results algorithm. Here are the stories:
The Dirty Little Secrets of Search (www.nytimes.com)
This striking performance lasted for months, most crucially through the holiday season, when there is a huge spike in online shopping. J. C. Penney even beat out the sites of manufacturers in searches for the products of those manufacturers.
Overstock.com Lands in Google's Penalty Box Over Links-for-Discounts Deal (blog.searchenginewatch.com)
Overstock.com was enjoying some great rankings earlier this year. Unfortunately for Overstock, Webmaster World began examining why they were seeing such great rankings for numerous common terms, a review which led to yet another mainstream news organization "outing" a major retailer for linking practices.
There are two sides to this argument. Google doesn't want people figuring out how search results work and then manipulating results. But then Google is such a giant that it's kind of the only game you can play - the only choice out there.
What Does This Mean for You?
I think it means that good SEO takes time. You're really only manipulating things when you get greedy. You really have to be patient with SEO. It's going to take some time... a lot of time. If you consistently build links over time, and not too fast, then you'll eventually rank well for your keywords. That way is natural.
What this means for you is, what are you waiting for? Do you want to rank well next year, start now. That's the only way. Don't put SEO off until tomorrow because then it'll never get done. You'll one day wonder why your website isn't doing well and that'll be in a time when you really need it to. We see it all the time. We'll get some clients that want to rank #1 for a keyword tomorrow. Sorry, we can't help you with that. That's what PPC (pay per click / AdWords) is for. Use that until you do rank high. It'll cost you but you'll be there. And that (PPC), we can help you with... well, both actually.
The SEO Process
In a nutshell, we'd do a number of things:
- Make sure your website is up to par. This means the on-site SEO.
- Research keywords. You want to go after the right ones or else it's like starting your journey being 1-2 degrees off - you won't end up where you need to.
- Optimize your website for those keywords. We'll target certain pages for certain keywords.
- Do some link building. Again, this takes time.
- Lather, rinse, repeat. We'll continue optimizing and link building for you over time. How much time it takes will depend on a few factors like the authority your site has and how competitive the keywords are.
Bam! That's SEO.
My tip to you is hire a company that will follow through and continue the job until success is reached. How do you know who that is? Ask around. See how that company's website ranks. If they can't do it for themselves, they can't do it for you.