What Common Proverbs Can Teach Us About SEO
I came up with this post idea somewhere between reading Dave’s post about what rugby union can teach us about SEO, and watching the recent Peep Show episode in which Mark Corrigan more spuriously tells us what the Ancient Egyptians can teach us about modern business practices.
“I’ve just drawn an irresistible comparison between Mentuhotep V and Branson. I’m thinking of drawing Branson as a hieroglyph, what do you think?!”
The subsequent search for my own SEO analogy led to the realisation that humanity has already done the hard work, and I just need to reframe it. Thus I bring you:
Two wrongs don’t make a right
“My competitors’ link profiles are ALL just low quality directories and syndicated articles, and they rank higher than me, so I might as well do the same!”. Definitely not – Google has demonstrated time and again that it will catch up with webmasters who employ linking techniques that are against the guidelines. They say that if the hat fits, wear it – in all my days as an SEO, I’ve never seen a black hat that fits. If you can’t beat ‘em, don’t join ‘em!
Don’t put all your links in one basket
A natural looking link profile is what SEOs strive for -a mixture of guest posts, existing mentions, PR, directories, and various other techniques. Investing all of your energy in getting one type of links can backfire hugely when Google devalues them (spammy, low quality directories are a good example!).
A site is only as strong as its weakest link
Links are like lazy team-mates: if one isn’t pulling its weight, everyone suffers. The spammy irrelevant comment you dropped a link with 5 years ago (when it was ‘allowed’, of course) has almost certainly been detected by Google, and will make your site’s link profile look suspicious. Google’s Webmaster Tools will serve you with a warning if dodgy links are detected, but won’t pinpoint which one(s) to remove. Keep a vigilant eye on incoming links, and use the disavow tool if necessary.
“You are the weakest link, goodbye!”
Ignorance is bliss
Proverbs can also teach us how not to do SEO, and ‘ignorance is bliss’ is a prime example. Some SEOs think; “sure, Google has guidelines, but it’s not perfect at enforcing them yet. Perhaps if we just ignore them, we’ll be alright?” Unfortunately, this is never, ever the case.
Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies
SEOs and their clients should be in regular contact, and should both be up to speed on the campaign. This allows for optimum cohesion between online and offline efforts, hopefully leading to better SERP performance. If your SEO is reluctant to tell you what they’re up to on your campaign, they might be using undesirable methods. (Honesty is the best policy!)
A rising tide lifts all boats
Ultimately, it’s best to remember that Google’s efforts to remove spam from the rankings are ultimately beneficial to everyone, despite the short term pain they can bring to webmasters and SEOs wanting a quick fix. Google exists to let users quickly find the information they need, not to sift through hundreds of irrelevant sites that have wormed their way into SERPs; encouraging webmasters to create useful content and avoid dodgy SEO tactics is a win-win situation, and it’s our responsibility as ethical SEOs to do this!
Thanks for reading. Now it’s time to get back to some good old content marketing – as they say, another day another dollar!