Matt Cutts published a video with a very interesting topic recently. He discussed the question, if a legitimate and customer appreciated business can compete in gaining high rankings in the search engines with companies that specialize in traffic acquisition. Can they?
As stated in the video, the Internet leveled the chances of big and small companies in the marketing field. It’s a playing field where anybody can compete, but the game is not leveled at all.
A role model company in search engine reality
Let’s imagine a young company and entrepreneur who tries to gain the traffic they particularly deserve. They could say that they are the authority in their industry. They are also well known by their clients, but in order to grow big, they are aware of the need to attract new customers. There are a variety of ways to attract clients online and search engines are considered as one of the first places they want to look for them. Gaining organic inbound traffic is treated as an essential component of the online marketing mix.
The SEO landscape
The SEO landscape has shifted over time. Google’s Panda & Penguin updates made SEO professionals change their tactics and are going towards quality. Buying links, participating in link exchange programs and generating backlinks from spammy content farms are not a strategy anymore.
SEO still is a process where not only marketing, but also technical knowledge is needed. For example:
- organizing website’s structure and navigation
- preparing a sitemap
- preparing SEO friendly url’s
- optimizing web pages’ titles and describing images
- regulating instructions for web robots in robots.txt
- backlinks management
These elements could sound obvious, but also could be a difficult part of optimization. As SEO has changed and it has become more content centric, still the technical aspects are important as a necessary foundation.
Content marketing, commonly called as the new SEO is aimed to provide valuable information to users. People all over the world are actively seeking answers. The content, if properly crafted, could influence the user and be the spark that would turn a user into a customer. The young company is aware that in the new algorithm changed search reality, producing quality content is a must. They put in their time and resources to create content that’s original, engaging and creates value. They care about distribution, they provide coverage with social media and wait for the results.
Content and it’s impact on rankings
Creating superb and timeless content, that lasts is a very difficult task. Most of the content produced, despite the fact that it’s valuable, is temporary. The results of this kind of content could be temporary, as well as the interest of user, since the provided information becomes outdated. Do you care what SEO looked like 2 years ago? What counts is here and now. Still, the impact of these kinds of activities are hardly noticeable when talking about rankings. In the top of SERPs, sometimes the spammy feel or irrelevant, but topnotch optimized sites are visible in higher positions. Why is it so?
The gray SEO reality
SEO is a difficult and constantly changing process. It’s becoming more diversified and demanding. There is a vast number of do’s and don’ts that companies should stick with, in order to get results. Although it’s going towards a more human approach, the SEO specialists still have a significant advantage over business do-it-yourself competition.
Organic traffic isn’t free
Search engines are programs that crawl the web looking for information. They are using complicated algorithms to index and deliver us relevant results. Although their features and provided results are getting better and better, they are still programs. Thanks to this, they can be predictable.
There are many indicators that tell the search engines that your content is the right one to show to the user, besides the relevancy. Even if the content is exquisite, that’s not enough. SEO professionals have experience, knowledge about factors and techniques to convince the search engine about the content’s importance. Therefore they are able to gain high rankings. That’s the reason why good content, confronted with professionalized SEO, often stays out of the SERPs.
You can guess that the high rankings in search engines aren’t free. If there is money, the SEO process that leads to making more revenue is becoming more professional too.
Why is it so difficult for companies to breach into SERPs and get organic traffic?
When companies struggle to get the high position and get organic traffic, they compete in an uneven fight. Although the organic results aren’t paid, they have a cost. If it’s not money, it’s the time necessary to gain the knowledge and to develop valuable content. It also requires a strategy and lots of analytical preparation, aimed to distribute it and engage the audience. The technical requirements make it even more difficult. Building a brand online and competing with professionals who specialize in driving traffic from search engines costs a lot of time and effort. It’s like taking part in a sports competition, where most of the contestants are pro’s and you’re just a rookie.
SEO is demanding. For entrepreneurs who are trying to get new customers and build a brand online, little can be done. Since Google is the global number one, we are obliged to play by it’s rules (and as a matter of fact, we let them set the standards). Bare in mind that SEO is a long term process, where rankings aren’t the ultimate goal. You have to do the research, create a strategy, publish valuable content and distribute it via social media. Finally, you have to communicate with the public.
If you’re going to be systematic, you’re going to get inbound traffic and eventually your efforts will earn you a place in the SERPs beyond your competition. It’s a steep and long road. If you feel discouraged about SEO, and I admit, that you could be, Google prepared a place on the side and on the top of the results page, for clients who want to get immediate effects. For the rest of us, it’s either one way or the other you’ll have to pay for SEO, or get to know SEO and work your way up.