Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.
December 3rd, 2009
Google has become so massive and so powerful that it can’t help but be dangerous to the small guys if not approached and treated with the most extreme of respect and caution.”
Yesterday Dan Macsai over at Fast Company posted, G-Railed: Why Did Google Bury the Web’s Oldest Entertainment Publication?, which was a timely underscore for two strategic principles that we’ve been passionately advocating for some time:
1. Placing too much weight on search engine marketing creates a high-risk business plan
Counting on Google for demand generation is extremely risky because it places the life of your business completely out of your direct control. You’re creating a system with a single point of failure and giving a kill switch to a capricious third-party who may not be “evil” but by the nature of its massiveness has become indifferent to the particular wants, needs and even justice afforded to the insignificant speck your business represents. I believe strongly that Google’s approach to search engine ranking was founded on truly noble principles; namely that the Internet community be the ultimate authority as to the value of a particular site. However, as a wise Englishman once said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Google has become so massive and so powerful that it can’t help but be dangerous to the small guys if not approached and treated with the most extreme of respect and caution.
To hear more ranting on this topic, please review the post I made just a few days ago entitled The Danger of Relying on Search Engines for Your Business in which I advocate a strategy of building a business plan which does not rely on search engines to exist, but which absolutely still takes advantage of the marketing opportunities they offer.
2.Play SEO by the book (the Google book that is)
We’ve pontificated on this topic ad nauseam in the past all of which might be summed up with the statement:
- Do not under any circumstances engage in any SEO practices that might be regarded as unfavorable by Google.
In other words, don’t fall for the scams of those SEO firms that keep spamming you. Great ignorance has persisted in this area giving rise to myriads of carpetbagger “SEO” firms from whom you’ve likely received an email from this type recently implying some proprietary approach to SEO and implying they posses secrets that will somehow fool Google into granting you a high search engine page placement. Not only are these types of approaches scams, in the long run they are more likely to damage your standing with Google.
There is no secret to SEO, in fact Google tells us plainly how to make your site Google friendly. Even cheating a little is not safe anymore. Google’s algorithms are continually evolving and improving, much as anti-virus software does, and may at some point recognize and penalize even your smaller infractions and indiscretions (how many domains do you have auto forwarding to your main site for example?). Don’t be left like Studio Briefing was, scratching your head and looking on in despair as Google shutters your cyberdoors.
Google’s unrivaled power and indifference to your particular business is not a bad thing, but it is a fact that you have to embrace. For those who grant Google the respect and caution it demands, its power can be channeled towards your significant benefit. To play Google’s game right, here’s where to start:
- Build using a smart business plan that mitigates potential risk from Google while maximizing the potential for benefit. Put simply don’t rely on Google for demand generation but take all you can legitimately get from them. Understand that (unless you intentionally are developing a high-risk/high-reward business plan) search engines should not be a foundational element of your comprehensive strategic business plan.
- Religiously adhere to Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine tactics as guide lined by Google.
- Be extremely wary of “SEO” solicitors.
Comments and questions are welcome.
Tags: Search-Engine-Optimization, Web-Development-Strategy
Posted in SEO | Comments Off on Don’t get blacklisted by Google
November 30th, 2009
Your business plan needs to rely on demand generation from a source other than organic Internet search engines—a source over which you have more direct control.”
I ran across a great article by Darren Rowse over at ProBlogger entitled, “What to Do When Your Search Rankings Drop.” In it he recounts a time when his site’s traffic dropped a dramatic 70% suddenly and for no apparent reason. He relied on Google to bring in most of his site visitors and some unknown change in their algorithms resulted in this costly (for him) change of fortune. While not the point of his article, this example underscores a principle that we’ve been emphasizing for years—it’s very risky to rely on awareness and demand generation being driven primarily by high search engine result page placement (please note my emphasis of the words rely and primarily).
I’m not suggesting at all that search engine optimization efforts are not important, but rather that your business plan needs to rely on demand generation from a source other than organic Internet search engines—a source over which you have more direct control. The risk of building your business with a single point of failure over which you have no direct control whatsoever is prohibitively risky in almost all business scenarios.
It’s for this reason that we typically advise our clients to build a business plan without consideration for demand generation via search engines (referral marketing is always the most desirable and secure foundation for demand generation) and then go ahead and implement a best practice SEO strategy. If your business plan is solid and your unique value proposition legitimate a by-the-book (Google’s book that is) SEO campaign will generate demand over time; all of which should be treated like “gravy” until significant enough to begin including in your sales forecast. This strategy then mitigates the high-risk of relying on search engines for your business while at the same time taking advantage of the great high ROI opportunity that organic search engine marketing offers.
Tags: Search-Engine-Optimization, SEO, Web-Development-Strategy
Posted in SEO | Comments Off on The Danger of Relying on Search Engines for Your Business
January 12th, 2009
I read recently that there are over 800 billion documents on the Internet. Now there was no documentation to this statement, definition of what an internet document is, and the number seems high to me given the Wikipedia stats for Google….who knows the real answer. Regardless of the exact number, no one is going to argue that there are a lot of pages on the Internet and a lot more being added, so many that the probability of any certain page being visited by an individual diminishes daily. This fact brings up a good question for each of us who are stakeholders in a website to ask ourselves—with all the choices out there why would anyone visit our site?
Well funny you should ask, because the answer to that question has occupied me in the past on this blog:
For my grand finale of SEO posts (is that applause that I hear?) I’m going to share some secret insight…well, it’s not really secret but it’s the type of insight that I’m always tempted not to share because I want to keep the real good stuff for myself. So, being in this altruistic moment, here are the top 7 strategies from the gurus on how to bring attention to your site. I’ve hand picked the single strategies that I thought were the absolute best, but each one of these links takes you to a whole article or site that is golden with advice.
- This is the most important tip. Build your web site around a blog that you keep active and updated with relevant and valuable information. Why you might ask? Because such blogs get noticed much more than the same content updated on a static web site. See Why Blogs Rank High In Search Engines by Fredrik Wacka. This tip is really is a prerequisite for the rest.
- Write about stuff that people (your target audience to be exact) will want to read and share. As I highlighted on this past SEO post, SEO is really all about maintaining quality content. See How to get traffic for your blog by Seth Godin
- Establish your site as a trusted authority for your target audience. And market your content. See
Search Engine Success Through Article Marketing at the flyte blog.
- Understand the fundamentals of SEO and hone the technical details of your site to accommodate. See
SEOmoz | Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization by Rand Fishkin
- Attract people who will link to your site and concentrate on creating interest. See Generating
Buzz with Link Baiting and Viral Campaigns by David Wallace
- Embrace the Social Media . . . create a site that is more relevant, more easily linked to, and openly shared within your social web communities. See 5 rules of Social Media Optimization (SMO) by Rohit Bhargava.
- Make your web site a platform for launching viral marketing. What is viral marketing? It’s any method that encourages others to pass on your marketing method to others. See The Six Simple
Principles of Viral Marketing by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
So there you go, you just read the document that turned the Internet count to 800 billion and one. It’s not too late to start the transformation of your site from that old-school stale brochure to a vibrant broadcasting and interactive
blog based site that will keep you site in the thin quality segment as the internet continues to explode. As always, I encourage you to comment or share other fundamental strategies that should be included in ones short list.
Posted in Content Marketing, SEO | Comments Off on Strategies to Increase Your Website Traffic
May 15th, 2008
We receive a very high percentage of customer inquires regarding two general type of solicitations they receive. Since these same scams continue, sometimes with different company names and angles, we thought it would behoove our valued clients for us to post some info on them.
The most important principle to remember to protect yourself from any marketing scam is to always be extremely wary of any unsolicited communication, whether by phone, email or postal mail, that claims to:
A. Be able to do something that seems too good to be true, or
B. Presents a “bill” or “invoice” regarding your domain, Website or some other Web related service from a company that sounds official, but of whom you’ve not dealt with before.
Scam 1—Bogus Domain Registration Invoices
Almost anyone with a domain name registered has probably come across this one. An official sounding company sends you an invoice that states or implies you will soon lose your domain if you don’t register with them. If you have never heard of this company, there is a 99% chance it’s an unethical attempt to get your money. The easiest thing to do is Google the company name or do search on the FTC site. If are still uncertain don’t hesitate to fax or email us a copy.
Scam 2—Unsolicited SEO Spam
I get a kick out the chutzpah of professed SEO companies who resort to spam marketing their implied expertise in driving new customers through search engines. If they really are so good at getting business through search engines why do they have to resort to the most despised of illegal Web marketing to get their own? The answer is obvious.
Google states it best:
Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue….Reserve the same skepticism for unsolicited email about search engines as you do for “burn fat at night” diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators. No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. (Read the whole page at Google.com)
We encourage you to read this prior post of ours where we go into more detail on the topic.
Tags: Search-Engine-Optimization, Tech-Notes
Posted in SEO, Web Security | Comments Off on Be Aware of These Web Scams