If you’ve been doing some crappy SEO and anxiously spot-checking your rankings, it’s likely that you’ve recently suffered great disappointment. Google got smarter again.
The fourth release of Google’s spam-fighting “Penguin Update” has been live for a few weeks now. And the web is, once again, buzzing with reports of flux and sites that have crashed and burned.
Of course now, we also have link removal, disavowal and reconsideration request buzz too. In fact, there are tools, blogs and even new companies completely devoted to link removal.
If you’re in the search engine optimization world, I’m skeptical that the latest Penguin Update caught you by surprise. Matt gave us this heads-up back on May 13th:
But really, you should have known about this as far back as April 24, 2012 (when Penguin 1 struck).
So what did you do between then and now? Did you change your ways? Or did you continue to “hack Google?”
If you’re one of the few, the proud who can consistently stay one step ahead of the search juggernaut, then I applaud you. To the other 99% of webmaster who thought that they could, when will enough be enough?
In my very small corner of the web, it seems that the answer to that question is: not in the near future.
Lawyers and their, at best inexperienced and more likely irresponsible, SEO consultants continue to carpet-bomb the web with low-quality link building tactics. They continue to scoff at real company stuff. They send emails like this. And of course, they’re bewildered when they see traffic and rankings plummet. And not even the most deceptive analytics reports can hide their malfeasance.
But for those of you who have decided that enough is enough. That you’re done chasing the algorithm. That you’re done feeding the SEO money pit. Here’s what I recommend that you do.
First, you need to decide what’s salvageable. Have multiple websites? How many? 5? 10? 50? 100+?
Which of those are worth keeping? I know, I know. You spent A LOT of time and money churning out a lot of crappy sites, pages, posts and articles.
In my experience, nine times out of ten, you’ve got nothing worth saving. If you’ve been buying up exact match domains and indiscriminately linking large numbers of sites together, you’ve probably poisoned your well beyond purification.
I know, someone told you that all you need to do is remove these incestuous links and submit a reconsideration request with Google. Good luck with that.
Generally, with very few limited exceptions, you’re going to spend more time and money going through the cleansing process than you would if you simply start from scratch. Again, this is a general rule to which there are exceptions. But for most of you, my advice is to start over. But do things right this time.
Second, you need to take a very critical look at everything you’re doing online. If you’ve been hammered by the Penguin, you don’t need tweaks. You need a tectonic shift in your approach.
You need to stop obsessing over ranking reports. Better yet, for the time being, you should put rankings completely out of your head. It’s not that rankings don’t matter, they most certainly do. But you’ve become obsessed with them. And from this obsession, you have lost perspective. Rankings don’t necessarily equate to clients.
Instead, you need to think about how you can create one of the best sources of information on the web on your subject(s).
You need to think about WHY anyone would read, watch, engage, like, share and link to the stuff you put online.
If this is resonating with you, you are probably starting to think, “gosh, that sounds hard.” And as you think about it some more, you’ll start to think, “gosh, that makes sense.”
Once you have the concept down, you’ll quickly realize that your canned, boring, regurgitated, dry or otherwise dull pages and posts won’t cut it.
And you’ll recognize that in order for this SEO stuff to work the way it’s supposed to, you’re going to need to understand something about what the people you want to attract to your site want.
Even before that, you’ll have to spend some time WHO these people are. What they’re interested in. What motivates them. What do they like?
Only then can you begin the process of supplying their demand.
And not until you begin to actually supply their demand, will you earn the kind of attention that you desire. The kind of attention that Google rewards with visibility in search results. That kind of attention that attracts the kind of clients that you want.