Thou Shalt Not Suffer An SEO To Live

It’s Hallowe’en and by looking back, I see my blog posts take a religious bent at this time of the year.   Not that I’m at all religious!  My Seven Deadly Sins of SEO blog post probably dispels that notion.  Last year I asked if Google was becoming a modern day God – and a scary one at that.  No, I have nothing in here about killing SEOs  The title is just to grab your attention.  SRSLY – you should love your SEO.

There are times when I have considered the possibility that sacrificing a goat to the Google god might be more effective than trying to do SEO.  After all, sometimes it seems so random. Why so I continue to get spam in organic results?  Why does this search result Dave called out at A4U have Aussie results in it ?  Should I only dine out in South Africa?  But it is not all bad news – the big G is opening up more and more dialogue so as you read this blog post, remember it’s not all doom and gloom.

Google has, for some time, seemingly operated under the false impression that by focusing on doing no evil, it can do no wrong.  By gaining a market dominant position, they may feel that they can focus more on delivering quality search results and less on marketing and perhaps “doing good”.  But what happens when that switch gets pressed, a new algorithm goes live and a small business suddenly finds itself buried and in ruins?

Google recently made changes through “update Vince” to its algorithm giving a bonus to trusted brands.  This can effectively mean that launching a new brand becomes next to impossible without huge marketing and PR budgets with which to buy links through offers, editorial links and the like.  Even with paid links, the new brand is less likely to succeed because of the tweaks Google regularly gives its search results, no matter how much quality they offer.  As I mentioned last year, Google has become a modern god and it seems to be a scary one.  I always think of Yahoo more as a Goddess of search, Bing as a little demi-god aspiring to full godhood and Ask as the forgotten deity of a lost people.

In the UK with a market dominant position looking at 90% of all search traffic coming through it, Google has become THE vehicle for business.  Ranking well is essential for a business and if that means paying to get in to the search results, they will.  But what happens if you don’t have a large marketing budget and a specialist firm behind you and just struggle along?  You get your PPC account yanked by Google.  As many ancient cultures learned, you may not understand why you angered the gods but once angered, there is no chance to beg for forgiveness – you are simply struck down.  Some days even Job looks like he had it easy compared to small businesses in search.

Even when the chosen one, god’s Google’s disciple on Earth speaks, even then we do not always get true guidance.  When examined, Donna revealed how “Listening To Matt Cutts Is A Bad Idea”  We struggle on and as more and more prophets of the one true Google emerge, the picture gets even murkier.  How can a small business survive without a guide through this strange land of misleading information?

As small and medium businesses struggle to rank well for things they hold stock of and should be authoritative for, they all cry out the same thing ‘just tell us what we are doing wrong’ and Google, in its benevolence created the bible Webmaster Guidelines.  Transgressions of these guidelines are punishable by being smote by the one true Google but not all transgressions are recorded in the book.

When even fixing on–page SEO causes trouble it may feel like there’s no way to win – but you can just by reading, staying informed and just taking time  and reading up on how-to.  There will be more of those in the coming months so keep coming back!

Yes, this blog post has nothing to do with the title.  Don’t be afraid of Google.  They may be able to ruin your business though so understand their guidelines through Webmaster Guidelines.  Register your site in Google Webmaster Tools (free!), add Google Analytics and read up about SEO.  We’ll keep blogging because we’re here to help!