With Page Rank (Presumably) Gone, Will SEO Survive?
If you’re as proactive in search marketing as myself, any and all metrics mean something at some point. I’ve been optimizing websites since the advent of blogging, perhaps (if my memory serves me correctly) since .html was an exciting newborn child. After reading how Google’s John Mueller did not anticipate toolbar Page Rank updates moving forward, only a small part of me frowned. I was actually elated.
First, let’s refresh the minds of search marketing professionals to underscore why I’m happy.
The ginormous machine receiving billions of searches daily only wants what’s best for researchers. Businesses want to be that ‘best’. In an attempt to appease both sides, measures against unnatural methods of positioning businesses in searches were enacted – you may know them as Panda, Penguin, Pigeon or maybe some other waterfowl I’ve never heard of. For many, these search spam measures hurt their already malformed business practices; to ethical marketing pros, it’s merely a digital version of ‘The Purge’.
Everyone knows (or soon will) that relevant, well-written content tells a story and doesn’t force a hard sell. We all know that developing internal link structures helps create your own ‘map’ for researchers to follow. And, of course, the use of links should (theoretically) be for the sole purpose of citing sources who’ve covered similar sentences or stories as yours – if you’ve ever read books where you flip back and forth to create your own ending, you’ll understand what linking truly was meant for.
Should your content have relevancy and appeal to broad audiences, expect other blogs or newsworthy sources to cite your works; we call this natural linking. Problem has been, and always will be, the fact thousands of SEO workers across the planet are forcing a process meant to happen in its own due time. Small businesses hungry for higher ranks pay nearly anything just for the chance to hit page one.
Digitally based businesses who hire these firms are happy when they’re waking up to a coveted first page ranking, yet those tears of joy quickly turn south when Google appends a manual action to this suddenly #1 website. When penalty happens, it’s party over until a recon is submitted.
Guys like Matt Cutts and John Mueller weren’t hired for their good looks (not to say they’re not dashing); they’ve viewed thousands of websites, pages of data and have come to the conclusion Google should probably stop encouraging sketchy link building practices which, inevitably, rest on the laurels of shoddy Page Rank manipulations and irrelevant guest posting procedures.
Which brings me back to the title. SEO will be remanded back to ethical procedures, or die.
I’ve told people hundreds of times, so I’ll repeat myself in three bullet points:
People in Bangkok can’t buy plumbing services in Seattle. Yes, I know it breaks your achy breaky heart, so stop optimizing your small local business for a global audience unless your product or service ships, is useful and would benefit a global audience. Your buyers are in your backyard – literally. Start there.
Pay pennies for optimization, and penalty shall await you. Watch who you’re hiring, plain and simple. If you’re nickel and diming your way to Page 1, Google has a nice penalty waiting for you on the other side. Good marketing services exist, so do your due diligence ahead of time. An interesting group of articles which would appeal to professionals and potential businesses that want to hire ethical outside help was written by executives at Michigan-based High Level Marketing. Factual stuff right there.
Poor practices are obvious to spot. When you’re looking for search marketing assistance (and you are, admit it), avoid those individuals who’ll provide mass comment spam, directory links, profile links and other practices that make you go ‘hmm’. These services often cost pennies on the dollar, making the business owner think they’ve gotten a killer deal – until they’re submitting reconsideration requests.
While everyone else is scrambling to find themselves again after this (possibly permanent) event, it’s just another day for those providing ethical SEO. Watch as people begin buying up blogs that are pulling Page Rank since, essentially, the ranking won’t move if future updates are cancelled. It should be fun watching how search engine marketing unfolds moving forward, although I can already tell you with 99.5% accuracy that the above three bullets are pretty much as spot on as they’ve always been. And that, my friends, is why I’m happy. If you’re a realist, you should be excited as well.