Thursday, March 1, 2012

What Your Search Engine Consultant Doesn't Want You To Know

Search engine marketing has changed, but many so-called experts are still trying to convince you to do things that no longer work. If you follow their advice, you will fail!

I'll explain ...

How did you go with picking the winner of last week's Melbourne Cup? My client, colleague and friend Max Hitchins has been predicting Cup winners for decades, and he got it right again (That makes it 13 right in the last 24 years!)

Every year, Max publishes his secrets in an e-book about how to pick the Melbourne Cup winner. When we first published the e-book in 2003, I did some search engine marketing stuff to get it to the first page on Google for the phrase "Melbourne Cup". I took a snapshot at the time, which you can see here (Click it for a bigger version):

At the time, it was much easier to get a first-page listing on Google. It wasn't easy, but if you knew what you were doing (and I did!), it wasn't too difficult. All it took was to adjust a few keywords, titles and headings, and that was enough to meet Google's criteria.

In fact, just as an experiment, I got my own Web site First Step Communications to the first page of Google for the search phrase "make more money" (Click the picture for a bigger version):

But that was 2003, and it's not so easy now!

The problem is that many people think that that's still all you have to do. So I hear Web site owners asking about what keywords to use on their Web site, what META tags to use, and how to get their page length exactly right.

What's worse, even some so-called search engine marketing "experts" will tell you the same thing. One of our Web site clients contacted me recently, appalled that "there were no keywords" on her site. In fact, there were plenty of keywords on her site (and other important things as well), but some ignorant Internet marketer had scared her by telling her something that was totally irrelevant.

These "experts" aren't scammers (well, not all of them!)

I think most of these "experts" simply haven't kept up with the latest marketing techniques. So they still focus on stuff that used to work, even if it doesn't work anymore. Oh, sure, these things might have some value, but it's minimal - and certainly not worth you paying them to do for you.

Of course, not all search engine marketing experts fall into this category. Some are extremely good (my mate Ed Keay-Smith, for example). But it's astonishing how many others are still peddling this obsolete stuff.

So what does Google want now?

In brief: Google wants what you want when you visit a Web site.

In a nutshell, that means three things:

  1. High-quality content,
  2. from a trusted authority,
  3. presented well.

Does that sound too simple? It's not! In fact, Google has always wanted that. It's just that the technology hasn't been powerful enough to assess that well - until now.

A few months ago, Google released a list of 23 guidelines for Web site owners, to help them build Google-friendly Web pages. They are probably the most specific guidelines Google has ever given to Web site owners, and they boil down to what I said: High-quality content, from a trusted authority, presented well.

This is great news for eGurus!

After all, aren't you a trusted authority with high-quality content that you present well? If so, this should be music to your ears!

Want to know more?

Today I ran a webinar on this topic. If you missed it, or you'd like to watch it again, here's the recording:

Register for future webinars in the series here (there's no cost).


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