Specifically, I want to explore the empty promise of ranking for a certain keyword in a certain position. These are sold to honest people that are looking to grow their business and this makes me angry. There's an advert currently playing on television and in the cinemas - you might have seen it. It's from a high-profile website company that provides you with a website (you write the content, they'll supply you with an off-the-shelf template) and hosting - all for one fee and delivered with an utterly smashing and engaging voiceover. Without getting too personal, they also flippantly remark that "with search engine optimisation" you will be ensured Google ranking and thus lots of happy customers! Joy of joys - where do I begin?!
I find this sales patter to be disrespectful, untruthful and antiquated. I'm offended for myself, my peers and for my clientsSEO has changed significantly over the past couple of years; the SEO industry should no longer be seen as the scary second-cousin twice removed of the marketing industry where mysterious folk in dark rooms conjure magic and bewitch Google into ranking websites. The truth is SEO is hard and you know what? I'm happy that it is. Like most things in life, you reap what you seow (see what I did there?!). But this isn't about me or the SEO industry - it's about you, the website owner. One of the most important things I think for an SEO to be is honest. Honest with themselves and honest with their clients. If your SEO consultant is telling you they can get you to rank for a competitive keyword overnight they're flat-out lying. And if they can get you to rank then you can bet your Google dollar that that'll come back round to stab you in the back when Google Pika launches – Google Pika, I choose you!
It's important that you spend time investing in your website. I can't stress enough the importance of investing into your websiteWith Google Panda and Google Penguin we saw two very significant updates to the ranking factors for your website:
- On-page has been placed back at the fore-front of rankability. For a while, we saw that rubbish websites were ranking really well because of their back link profile, this has largely fallen away. We've all seen the incredibly poor quality websites that once plagued the upper echelons of Google's results
- Links are no longer the be all and end all. Links are dead, long live links! Links have traditionally been the stalwart of ranking but we have definitely seen their importance wane slightly - if you've been the receiver of one of Google's unnatural link profile warnings then you will be well aware of this
Read more of our 'How difficult is it to rank blog' series
- Part 1 - How difficult is it to rank?
- Part 2 - Here comes a new challenger!
- Part 3 - I'm holding out for an S-E-ro til the morning light