SEO consultants are like personal trainers

So what’s the point of SEO? Can I really get to the first page of Google? Can I only do it for a few months then stop? I can learn SEO myself can’t I?

As SEO consultants, we often get queries like “so what exactly do you do?”. Ultimately everyone knows that SEO is all about being on the top of the search engine results. We’ll try to best describe what SEO consultants do in an analogy – they’re like your personal fitness instructors or personal trainers, but for your website/online market.
Customised plan
We all know that each body is different, each person is unique in their own way. This too applies to businesses. Like your gym instructor, SEO experts find the best strategy, the best keywords and phrases that will help capture your targeted demographic, audience and market. After an initial brainstorm and discussion, we present our research and tailor a unique plan that will profit your business. Once we’ve done the ground work, it’s all about working hard. It can take a few months before you see results, but having a well researched, tailored and specific strategy will be crucial to your online marketing success – just as it is important to have a workout plan before diving into a fitness program.

Expertise, knowledge and techniques
Like your personal trainer will tell you, there are a dime and a dozen ways of achieving the same outcome. Your SEO consultants will work out the best techniques and technologies to employ for your website and business. They’ll apply various onsite and offsite techniques to maximise your search engine rankings.

Just as it takes years to gain a repertoire of knowledge for fitness and body building, SEO expertise comes from years of online experience. Researching SEO can be fun (for some) but let’s be honest, it can be a very tedious task. Of course you could learn SEO yourself, but for the same reasons we pay fitness instructors – if you want great results quickly without the wasting years of time on trial and error then SEO consultants can help you.

Desired results achieved
It’s like walking into a gym and seeing all the equipment all for the first time. What do we do? It can all seem quite daunting and most of the time depressing. It’s all about knowing what tools to use to get your desired look, may it be chiseled abs or solid biceps. When it comes to SEO, there are so many link building strategies. Article writing, blog commenting, forum signatures… the list goes on. We listen and work with you on the desired goals and we set you off on the right foot. It’s definitely possible to get those killer abs, you just need to trust and listen to your SEO expert. Simple!

Long term results
Like any fitness regime, it’s all about consistency. The moment we stop, we start to put pack on the weight again, we lose momentum and we slip back into old bad habits. The same goes for SEO. The moment you decide to stop with SEO, you website starts to slides back down the search engine ranking and you lose the momentum you had built up in the previous months. Backsliding perhaps isn’t the best way of putting it, it’s more that your competitors jump ahead and take your once high ranking.

SEO weights
Unlike fitness, in SEO you DO NOT have to do all the hard work. Those tedious tasks of lifting weights… or building links and reputation for your website can simply be done by SEO experts or an SEO company. Speak to your SEO consultant and he/she will surely have contacts to get you a great deal for your investment.

Google Panda Algorithm Update Myths

Officially what Google has told us about this update is: (I’m paraphrasing)

“Trust Google, we’ll get everyone better search results… oh by the way we can’t tell you how we do that.”

Google’s Matt Cutts states (source: Wired):

“If someone has a specific question about, for example, why a site dropped, I think it’s fair and justifiable and defensible to tell them why that site dropped. But for example, our most recent algorithm does contain signals that can be gamed. If that one were 100 percent transparent, the bad guys would know how to optimize their way back into the rankings”

Many webmasters make a big deal about the lack of transparency from Google, but Google has always been secretive. It is very fair for Google not being 100% transparent to avoid ‘the bad guys’ ranking highly, but why not just tell us exactly what quality, trustworthy and user desirable internet content looks like?

Obviously, Google’s algorithms are no where near bulletproof, since they admit that they can still be ‘gamed’. Until such time that it is impossible to manipulate Google rankings, no one will ever know any exact information on Google’s algorithm.

So what’s NEW since Panda update?
Google can be gamed. Nothing we didn’t already know.
Google are being secretive. This isn’t new either.
What is newsworthy is that Google have filed a patent for a system that identifies search queries which have low quality content. The system then asks either publishers or people searching for the topic to create better content themselves. Volume of searches are taken into account with looking at quality of the content.

It would appear Google will either implement this type of system based on this patent or do something that reduces poor quality content displaying in search results.

So what’s GOOD content?
If someone told us the criteria of what useful content is to Google then we would say this person is a liar, because simply no one knows. It has boggled everyone in the industry why a site like remains untouched in the countless Google algorithm updates yet is notorious for poor quality, repetitive and generally useless content.

So for those who want to publish content and rank well, we are left to guess.

The Content will pass a human inspection
The Content is not advertisement heavy
The Content is well linked externally
The Content is not a duplicate of other content
The Content t is typically created by a brand or an entity which has a distribution channel outside of the search channel
These are dead obvious and really don’t provide much assistance as far as the algorithm update is concerned. People want proof and solid evidence, which Google is really lacking in. For example what is the difference between e-How and Suite 101

The Myth
“Do “these things” to avoid being hit by the Panda Update”… truth is no one knows exactly what the update did and how it works except Google themselves.

JCPenney SEO Scandal

The New York Times announcement of JCPenney‘s SEO spamming recently caught many people off-guard, but most of us in the SEO industry were well aware of this and probably shrugged it off.

Some SEO research on JCPenny a few months ago showed their website ranking extremely well for several keywords like “comforters”, which is highly competitive and for most people impossible to rank for. Of course JCP no longer rank for most of the keywords they were ranking for months ago, but its obvious they are still targeting this audience with Pay Per Click and Google AdWords.

It is surprising that such a big name company would use some very questionable link sources like expired & re-purchased domains, fake business websites, etc.

The Big question is – Why would JCPenney risk their reputation, Google rankings and earnings on these bad quality link sources?

At the end of the day it seems like dollar signs is the only real factor, as with any business. JC Penney most likely made a ridiculous amount of income & profits during the holiday season.

Whilst JCP execs basically responded by denying any knowledge of these SEO happenings and blamed their SEO company, it shows terrible ignorance on their part. Regardless of what the SEO vendor’s strategies were, there are no magic techniques for improving rankings – especially for ridiculously competitive terms and JCP execs and/or marketing department should be well aware of this.

Why Did It Take So Long To Expose?
The media and their competition is quick to jump on JCP for their actions, on top of that most people in the internet marketing industry were well aware of JCPenney’s SEO tactics. Then why did it take such a long time to be exposed? Why was JCP not penalized earlier? (Actually, Google have stated to have penalized them at least 3 times in the past already)

Brett Tabke, owner at saids “For every JCP standing in the limelight, there are a thousand shaking in the shadows“. This is perhaps the true reason why this scandal was not exposed earlier.

The Blatant Truth
The entire industry (almost) is doing this, obtaining back links is obviously not a walk in the park. Big brands, little brands, big businesses, small companies, white-hats, black-hats, you name it… Not everyone is using the same techniques to the same degree or so blatantly abusing the system as SearchDex & JC Penney were apparently, but find us ANY website ranking for some mildly competitive target keyword(s) and we are absolutely certain we can find some questionable link sources.

The truth is the ethical line is now very grey for SEO practices and techniques. At times all that separates the first page rankings and second page rankings are simply how far one is willing to step on that grey line for a website’s SEO strategies.

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