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CyberCity 2000 - Sabotaging Your SEO Success

Are You Sabotaging Your SEO Success?

   by Jennifer Horowitz

Are You Sabotaging Your SEO Success?

You probably are - and you don't even know it.

Before we get into that, let's quickly recap what has happened up until this point. It is relevant, I promise.

As the internet grows larger daily, and the number of searches online increase - we see people getting fanatical about getting their sites ranked. And why not? It's a great, constant source of traffic leading targeted visitors to your door!

If only getting the results was easier!

I'm sure some of these statements will ring true for you.

- SEO is simple but not easy.

- SEO is time consuming and requires knowledge that only a small handful of business owners truly have, (since their real focus is and should be running their business) but is needed by everyone, not just a small handful.

- SEO is maddening but EFFECTIVE and NECESSARY.

So, what do you do when you know you need SEO, but you also know it is sometimes frustrating, it's time consuming and it's not your area of expertise? The consensus seems to be that you have 2 options:

1. Hire a professional SEO Firm. This frees up your time to run your business, and leaves it to the professionals who are equipped with the proper knowledge and time.

2. Learn SEO yourself, either through a current and up-to-date manual or some consulting.

Both scenarios have pros and cons. As part of a free evaluation, we can help you determine which method is best for you. Simply contact us today for your free evaluation.

However, that is not the point of this article, the point is whether you do it yourself or you hire an SEO Firm, you need to be 100% sure that the big picture is taken into consideration, and that you aren't unintentionally sabotaging your own efforts.

Let's look at SEO through the years, not in chronological order -- just by highlighting a few key events.

Doorway pages were the biggest thing online - everyone used them, and they worked!

Until Google caught on that people were just trying to trick them, and they banned the pages. Mouths dropped open in shock, as sites sitting pretty at the top of the SERPs (search engine results page) dropped from sight.

Reciprocal links were all the rage. Emails flew across the internet. You link to me, and I'll link to you. Everyone was fast becoming friends and creating an information network that was all interlinked. Fabulous!

Until Google caught on that this isn't a true representation of how popular your site is, people are just creating link farms and mass-generating "faux link popularity". More mass droppage of sites from the SERPs.

One-way links are definitely the way to go. It's exactly what Google wants, and if we simply buy a link from another website, Google will see it as a viable one-way link to my site. Who says you can't buy love. I've got Google lovin' me.

Until Google realizes there are sites with high PageRank out there, making a nice new monthly income for linking to sites that have not earned a link - and therefore the faux link popularity issue is just perpetuated.

With some all of the link confusion, it is a constant source for debate: reciprocal is OK, as long as it is relevant and from a high PR site. One way is the only way to go, but only if it is relevant and from a high PR site. What is high PR anyway, is it anything above 3 or 4 or 5?

With all the questions flying, attention seemed to go back to a new and improved type of doorway page. One that includes links to other sites (resources) underneath text for your site.

This is truly great - this technique is actually legit, you are providing a real value to people by having helpful links on your site, and the search engines just happen to view those links with text as keyword rich, so they boost your rankings.

A very legitimate tactic, it made sense to the engines, and it was fairly easy to do. Great - we've finally found a way to create some great pages that Google seems to like. Everyone is sitting pretty now.

Until Google sees the internet infiltrated with sites that are nothing but mass-produced pages with no customization. Resource pages spit out by software, with no real content to support it. That ended the "resource page hay day".

Blogs are "it". Everyone can create a free blog, and then blog and ping like crazy. It drives the spiders to your blog when you ping, they follow links in your posts to your main site, and next thing you know you can control Googlebot, and Yahoo Slurp. With a few good posts, you can plan on the bots swinging by to pick up more pages in your site. Cool, things are happening now!

Until Google realizes people have programs doing auto-posts and auto-pings and it's not the most relevant or original content. Google wises up, and for those still trying to get away with automated blogging and pinging, you're wasting your time.

The link debates rage on; content is still king; and people want rankings more than ever. What's next?

1. RSS Feed - for a long time no one knew what it stood for, but they all love it. You can create content and send it out to the world to read with their preferred viewer. That truly is an opportunity to get your message out there!

You can also pull feeds into your site to bulk up content. Amazing. What an opportunity.

2. Enter the Press Release and Article Syndication. Brand spanking new and dressed to impress. It was fabulous - write informative articles and submit them around the internet - the benefit is two-fold - each article will drive traffic to your site, and the links within the article will count as links for your site!

The Press Release was killer too. Write an informative, keyword rich press release and get it sent out to thousands of media outlets online. You could count on about 30 days worth of traffic enjoyment from one release. Not to mentioned, press releases get picked up in the News engines and the regular engines too.

Great - so what's the problem?

Too many people don't look at the big picture, and the actual reason behind algorithm shifts. People don't learn from them, they simply adjust their methods and move on until the next algo shift.

If you really look at the trends, and realize what Google wants and why they do what they do, I think you'll find a very common theme.

Google wants to deliver relevant results to people. They have no hidden agenda. They simply want to deliver the best and most relevant results in response to someone's search query.

That alone tells us all we need to know. In order to get good rankings, we need a popular site with great, informative content that is current.

Any current hot technique is only a fad. We make sure of that.

What do I mean by that?

If you look at most of the techniques that are now considered "black hat", they would have been OK and worked well in moderation, but instead they are used and abused and killed by us. Thereby sabotaging our own success.

Look at blogging and pinging. It's a great way to drive spiders and it makes sense. However no one wanted to commit to manually blogging and pinging. No one wanted to do it in a realistic way, so we bombarded the free blog servers and bots with all the automated blogs and pings, and we got ourselves where we are now. Another valuable technique, no longer any good to us.

Let me talk specifically about RSS Feeds, Press Releases and Articles and tell you what I think the downfall is there.

RSS Feed, it's a great way to stay current. Pull in news that is relevant and comes from different points of view, showing different opinions. Fabulous! Use a few feeds to enhance the already strong content you have on your site and this tactic should remain long term, to benefit us all.

However, what is really happening is people are saying "Great, I don't even have to write content; I'll just pull in feeds and bulk up my site that way"

Now you can imagine Google saying, "OK these guys are abusing this technique and trying to fool us - too bad, no more RSS Feeds". And those out there that were using it legitimately are now suffering the loss of this fabulous technique.

What is even scarier still, and the reason for this article to begin with is what is happening with Article Syndication - because this one I believe is accidentally being misused and abused. People don't realize the big picture, and therefore aren't considering the future for this technique, and the future for their site.

In order to understand the overuse and abuse of this particular service, you need to understand how it benefits you, and you also need to understand the SPECIFICS of what the engines look for.

Perception: Articles provide links to your site. Google likes links. Score one point for you!

Reality: Google likes links that go to various pages on your site, with varying text used as the clickable part of your link (anchor text or hotspot). It is those specifics that people tend to ignore.

When you syndicate an article, you send the same article to multiple sources, sometimes even hundreds of sources. You send the exact same version to each source. That means each link goes to the same page on your site, and has the same anchor text.

Not exactly what Google had in mind!

The way I see it, it's only a matter of time before Google starts dismissing links from articles as irrelevant.

Now: Articles provide a good source of content to enhance your site's existing content.

The Future: It's true, they do. However with all the "scraping" (stealing bits of content from sites online through an automated software and then posting them to your page as text) going on - Google has had to develop a component in their algorithm that determines how old content is, and who was the first publisher of it. Therefore, content from articles is no longer beneficial to you.

Even worse, if you syndicate an article that you actually wrote yourself, you are potentially losing the credit for that article -- unless you quickly post it on your site, and wait until it is indexed so Google knows it belongs to you, and then open it up for syndication to the world. Then people can use your content, but you still benefit as the creator of the original content.

Most people don't think of that. Sure, they think to post it on their site - but do they wait until its indexed? Not usually, and since article sites are so big and active, they are likely to be spidered first - and then the article site will get credit as the first source to use the content and therefore the owner or creator.

Good: Press Releases are a great way to get news out there, throw in some links and you have built in link popularity with media sites, which are typically high PR.

Not Good: People are sending our press releases every time they make a move. Is it really news worthy that you acquired a new client, or that you completed a project for a client? No, not really. However, the real news worthy items get lost in the mass numbers of press releases floating around each and every day.

With a little bit of restraint and strategy, we could use these to our benefit without over using them, and driving that strategy into the ground. Stay tuned for Part 2: Stop Sabotaging Your Success. Real Strategies to Implement Now.

So, the take-away here: Be careful - even the people with the best intentions can sometimes accidentally run a technique into the ground.

Work with someone that sees the big picture and is willing to work a little bit harder, and wait just a little bit longer for results. They end up the ultimate winner, with rankings they can hold on to. They don't have to live in fear of the death of the next hottest trend.

What if you follow the rules, but others don't, and the strategy still gets used and abused?

I know, it is possible. However, if everyone decides not to stand for it, and takes action to prevent the misuse of techniques, we'll come a long way towards being where we need to be. So, spread the word - and decide today that your SEO techniques have to work for your future success and not against it.

About the Author

Jennifer Horowitz is Director of Marketing for EcomBuffet.com. EcomBuffet.com. has been in business for 6 years, serving clients big and small and delivering top rankings. For more information, including the truth about common SEO Myths, a free report, as well as details about what you need to do to get the RESULTS you are looking for - contact us today.

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