New to SEO? Read our great introduction post! Search Engine Optimization: An Introduction.
When Google hit the web with its Panda update many webmasters cried foul. While it’s no secret that I’m not exactly a huge fan of Google’s somewhat deceptive and aggressive business practices, I can’t help but laugh to myself when I read webmaster forums where dozens of webmasters are screaming about their lowered ranking post-Panda.
Perhaps what I find so funny is that I’ve never had a site drop or lose ranking after a major update because my SEO focus has always been about quality. That ethos has followed every website and piece of content I’ve ever built. Quality.
Quality content; quality materials; quality information. Quality.
Enjoy the next 1,100 words of honest-to-goodness truth.
The Days of “Gaming” Search Engines are Coming to an End
Five or more years ago you could build a brand new website, submit a few articles to a few hundred directories, and voila- you had ranking. It really was that simple.
Today, if you want to build and rank a brand new website, you can submit a few articles to a few hundred directories, and voila- you have ranking. It really is that simple.
Wait… what? How does that make sense? All over the web you hear people crying about lost search ranking, when in reality all it takes is some article marketing to ensure your top ranking?
Well, yes and no. Yes, creating poor content and mass-submitting it in exchange for backlinks works. However, thankfully, it only works for so long.
Why Poor Quality Content Creates Poor Quality Results
Article marketing is only one method of obtaining links, and to be completely truthful, it can be a viable and effective method if it is carried out properly. I’ll be honest and admit that I still submit articles to ezinearticles.com, and I still create HubSpot pages and Squidoo Lenses.
The difference, however, is that the content I use to populate these various pages is 100% unique, and 100% high-quality content written by yours truly. I find subjects that I am somewhat authoritative with and write content to provide value to whomever reads it. Many of my fellow “SEO’s” have laughed in my face for maintaining such diligence, but as my continued climb in the search results shows, it pays off.
When you create poor quality content you create poor quality links. Have you ever wondered how Google, Yahoo, and Bing view those articles you blasted to all those article directories? I can’t tell you for sure, but I have a good feeling that things like “duplicate content” and “garbage content” are being used internally to describe them.
Remember that the online ecosystem is fluid and very much reactive. Each change that you make to it should be a positive one that helps build authority and credibility for you and your websites. Ask yourself: is submitting the same, spinned, crap content to 500+ article directories really doing that?
Search Engines are Stupid, but they Aren’t Dumb
A search engine is a machine. A machine that can not read into the delicacies and intricacies of human language with anywhere near the same ability as a human. This means that sometimes it misses the mark, or misinterprets what we are trying to do or say. This makes them stupid, in every sense of the definition.
Search engines being stupid is no secret, but many people confuse stupidity with the search engine being dumb. A search engine is not dumb- far from it, in fact.
You might pull the blanket over the search engines eyes for a while, but it’s smart enough to see that you aren’t providing any real value in the long term. That’s the difference between being stupid and being dumb. The search engine will wise up eventually.
This means that the onus is on you when Google releases an update that takes your $200/day cash-cow website from top-spot to page 50. Don’t come crying foul-play to me. Look yourself in the mirror and you’ll see where the blame needs to be.
Legitimate SEO Will Never Die
When I got into web marketing it was because I wanted to create a real, long-standing passive income. I wanted to make $50, $100, or $1,000/day passively each and every day. I have since learned that a “set and forget” income of such volume doesn’t exist, but having a consistent and reliable residual income is certainly possible online. That’s the goal that I pursued, and that’s why I got into SEO.
A mentor of mine from many years ago told me something I will never forget:
The internet is still anyone’s playground, and it does’t matter who or what you are- it’s going to be that way for a while. Since the inception of the web we have seen it evolve at a rate that far outpaces most people’s ability to keep up, but what will never change is that quality will always drive results.
Focus on quality in everything that you do and it will ensure your success.
That last point is probably the most important quote you will eve read when it comes to SEO. The message is so simple that I often shake my head when I read long-winded posts (like this one) that talk about the latest and greatest way to scam your way to the top.
If you think about what search engine optimization is you will realize that it’s not about link building, or even getting your website ranked higher. It’s about creating, and maintaining, a positive reputation for your website. Once you have a good reputation, you will naturally rank higher. Now that makes sense.
Ways to Maintain Quality and Build Links
For many new SEO’s, link building is downright scary and the allure of easy links from low-hanging fruit such as article directories and link exchanges is quite tempting. I understand that. However, you have to consider your long-term survival and instead opt for methods that won’t be deemed spammy down the road.
- Focus on user-created content whenever possible - If your website allows it, get your users to chime in. User created content can be a great way to add high-quality, exceptional content. Skeptical? See Wikipedia
- If there’s no passion it shouldn’t be done - If you hate writing there is no value in you writing hundreds of pages of content for your website. The quality will suffer, and the users who read it will notice. Find someone who is genuinely interested in creating content for you, and instead focus on other areas of your business.
- Reach out to related websites and provide value - Guest posts on related blogs and websites is a great way to gain some relevant links back to your website. But aside from just posts, what else can you offer your fellow webmasters?
- Create social hubs filled with high-quality, useful content - Remember those article sites and Squidoo lenses I mentioned I still do? Those are great ways to build hubs of content, where the content itself is high quality and optimized to be found by my desired readership base. Those high-quality hubs build their own authority and, of course, pass that along to me. It’s win-win.
- Look beyond the obvious - It’s easy to write an article; it’s easy to create an image and distribute it; it’s easy to build notoriety. What about something beyond that? How can you create value in other ways?
- Provide value - If you offer no value you have no reason to be read or ranked. Simple.
I hope you found this article helpful, and if so, please share it with your friends!