If there’s one thing that all SEO experts will agree about, it’s that the previous year was quite a turbulent one. Everything from recovery from Panda, to Penguin, to the EMD update, the Top Heavy update (just to name a few…) have contributed to drastically changing the landscape of SEO. This has caused many to move away from relying on search engine traffic to sustain their business and move onto either social, referral or paid sources of traffic. Yet, some people still rank #1 in Google, and others are people are growing in traffic month after month. Competition be damned, they are taking over the first page of Google.
What on search engine hell could they possibly be doing?
The ones that are succeeding, ironically, are the ones that opted not to listen to all the gloom and doom news updates regarding the search engines. When Matt Cutts said: “This will be an update that will shake the foundation of SEO” (I’m paraphrasing), many shivered in fear. And… in a way, he was right.
The frightened ones stopped building links, stopped optimizing everything on their site and moved towards… well.. paralysis. I even know some people that stopped updating their site because of the updates!
In SEO, you will get what you focus on!
Slowly but surely, they began dropping in rankings. Sure they would try the latest ranking trick (ie: Pinterest is hot, let’s try it for 1 hour! Or even.. posting on blogs still works? Let’s do that!) but quickly gave up after not seeing immediate results.
I’ve been saying this for years… significant ranking changes usually take 1-2 weeks to take effect!
Yes Google is fast… very fast in fact. However, the internet is a giant place and sometimes it takes the Googlebot weeks to crawl your latest high PR link. Even once it re-crawled it, it has to re-evaluate all the links around it. Re-calculating everything takes time and that’s why many impatient SEO’ers tend to give up after a few weeks.
Successful Information Marketers
Instead, the most successful information marketers of have used the updates as an incentive to create higher quality content and to step up their link building process. As soon as they find something that works… even if it’s just a little, they continue to do it constantly. While most people are looking for the magical link that will increase their position by 300+ ranks, they are constantly doing the basics.
“Posting on Google+ helps you say? Great, I’m going to implement that into my toolbox and consistently post about it every time I release a new article.”
“Related back links on related blogs helps? Awesome, I’m going to tell me staff to only concentrate on related sites now.”
Although having Google+ votes might only increase your rankings by a mere 1 or 2 positions, it’s the cumulative effect that matters. With each additional related back link, each related blog post and every new piece of high quality content, their site grows.
Think of ranking on Google like walking on an escalator. Although it’s possible to get a big enough lead that you stay at the top for a year or two… if you stop climbing, you’ll eventually be surpassed.
The trick then becomes to have content that is of such high quality that OTHERS do the climbing for you. (Natural links). Ironically, when you’re in the #1 position, you tend to get more natural back links because others have an easier time finding you. I can’t tell you how many people have recommended my articles… mostly because they were in the first position of Google.
Continuing with the escalator analogy… those that continue to climb with effective techniques will eventually reach the top. It will most likely take 3-6 months and that’s normal. I hate to say it… but that’s how it’s almost ALWAYS been for competitive keywords. Sure you hear about the odd story about how someone achieved first place rankings in under a week… but that’s like hearing stories about people that lose 100 pounds in a few months. The norm is a few positions per week, and it becomes exponentially harder when you get close to first place!
If you can persist for longer than your competition, then you’ll achieve your goals regardless of the year or the state of SEO.
The golden SEO rules still apply:
1. Create great content that your customers read.
2. Build links in places where your customers might be hanging out. (ie: related sites)
What do you think? Do you agree? Do you have a Google penalty? Do you have an SEO technique that you have been using to outrank your competition? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear about your success (and even failures) of the previous year.