When I have my sales hat on, I'm always amazed at the actual state of the Internet marketing world from our potential clients' points of view. We spend a lot of time and effort around here trying to educate ourselves, our clients and our followers out there about "The New SEO," which is marketing-speak for the required changes in thinking brought about by the Google Panda release and subsequent updates to the Google search ranking algorithm. What amazes me is that a large number of otherwise sophisticated web marketers still don't get it. Here are a few recent tales...
We blog and present webinars and videos on this topic until we are blue in the face. Why? Because our would-be clients, and even current clients, are still asking us to help them rank No. 1 on Google, get lots of backlinks, and otherwise dominate the search results ahead of their competitors. They still think that you can "game" the system the way it was done 10 years ago through black hat SEO tactics and mass marketing through PPC. I won't repeat what Chad Pollitt has been saying for many months now, but here's the gist of it:
This is the stuff we preach every day. Why? Because it's true and it's real. If you fail to follow these practices, you will surely die on the search vine just like a tomato in a Texas drought. So what part of this strategy don't you get?
With apologies to Peter King, the sports writer for CNNSI.
So the other day I was on the phone with a potential client, a pretty sophisticated software company to be exact, and we were chatting about content management systems and SEO in general. I always ask what problem they are trying to solve, and he told me they want to rank No. 1 on a bunch of keywords. RED FLAG No. 1. He went on to describe his complaint with their current CMS—that you couldn't easily access the page footer in order to add more keywords. Uh-oh. I took a look at their website, and sure enough, the footer was stuffed with tens, if not hundreds of keywords they were trying to rank on. And, of course the page itself had nothing to do with more than one or two of those keywords. RED FLAG No. 2. It was like opening a time capsule from 2002. So what they wanted was to move the whole website to a new CMS, maybe modernize the design a bit and stuff as many keywords as possible. My decision was pretty simple—do I try to educate these guys or politely excuse myself from the conversation? I chose Door No. 2 because it seemed like a huge uphill battle to me. I invited my potential client to read our blog posts and other resources on the subject, but otherwise, this wasn't one of our offered services.
This happens all the time. The prevailing myth is that old-school SEO is still the way to succeed in generating more traffic and leads. We have even had clients dismiss us because they felt so strongly about keyword ranking, link building and PPC. Our response is always to present our case, which is backed by lots of data and reporting from the best-known experts in the SEO field, such as Rand Fishkin at SEOMoz, and let them go if they refuse to listen to us. I always ask the question, "How many qualified sales leads have you produced through your SEO keyword strategy and tactics?" I'm usually presented with the equivalent of a blank stare because they don't know. Unfortunately, another prevailing myth is that keyword ranking and bulk website traffic are the most important Internet marketing metrics. Whatever.
Fortunately, I have (finally) learned over these many moons of marketing that you can't please everybody. If you want to stick with the old SEO, go for it. We can't help you. We have moved on, and we are focusing 100% on the new SEO strategies. I invite you to tune in to Chad's Tuesday Inbound Marketing Tips and Tactics. He's really good at explaining things, even in the face of a bunch of old dogs who can't learn new tricks. Keep on barking, Chad!
Meanwhile, I will be listening carefully on my calls with potential and current clients. Some of you just don't get it.
Photo Credit: by Luigi Rosa
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