With Google’s Penguin and Exact Match Domain (EMD) updates this year, many SEO professionals and small business owners are scratching their heads as the “fast and easy” SEO strategies are now old-school tactics that will not work anymore.
These “fast and easy” SEO strategies are the low-quality backlinks that are easy to acquire and replicate when you have diligent link builders working on the links, or you have acquired automated link building tools. Low quality SEO strategies include article directory publishing, link wheeling, blog commenting, forum posting, social bookmarking, and profile linking.
To make matters worse, the EMD update came in a few weeks ago pushing the rankings of most EMD webpages lower in the search results, and pushing the rankings of branded non-EMD webpages higher.
Imagine the impact on the organic traffic and sales if you have a small business website, which has low quality backlinks, has an exact match domain and has backlinks from exact match domains. It is terrible.
But if you have a quality website throughout these updates, then you are probably celebrating.
Link Building is Dead
As Rand Fishkin pointed out, the 2012 Google updates mean the end of building links. It is the time to earn backlinks by creating quality content, by building a brand, by building people’s trust.
This sound like hard work, don’t they? But c’mon, these ideas are not new. Many small businesses became successful even before the internet technology came in because of these old concepts. We are just moving and implementing these ideas online.
What many SEO professionals frown upon these Google updates is the reality that they are NOT ready for the challenge Google has given them. They are not ready to be creative for their clients business. They are not ready to build a brand for their clients. Worse, their clients are also not ready.
Business Sense + Creativity + Social Sense + Tech Skills = Quality SEO
When you look at the equation above, the four attributes are an odd mix. However, SEO professionals must possess these qualities now to stay in the game. Without one, you and your client will forever be gone in the search results.
- Business Sense – Clients want to make money. That is given. However, you have to start looking at the big picture in your client’s business. Understand the client’s business model, their competitors, their vendors, their target market, and down to services and products that can supplement their business. Understand what makes money for your clients. Especially spend a lot of time understanding the target customers and their interaction with your client’s services or products. When you understand your client’s business better, you will be able to find solutions on how to brand them and connect that brand to their customers.
- Creativity – Become a publisher for your clients business. Understand what your target audience want and produce content that they will find resourceful, informative, or entertaining. Find ideas through your client’s customers or from the employees themselves. Become a researcher. Follow the news. Act like a journalist. There is nothing wrong if you have to go to the library to get inspired for your client’s website content.
- Social Sense – Actors need an audience. Businesses need customers. Socialize online or offline to attract the right people to your clients business. Start following industry leaders. Befriend vendors. Talk to salespeople. Attend tradeshows. Trigger word of mouth marketing.
- Tech Skills – The SEO industry has many technical concepts. It is a must for anyone doing SEO to learn these technical details and ensure these details are implemented on the websites. Stay updated with the latest industry news.
With all these four qualities in mind and the direction Google is taking, are you ready to become an SEO professional that help clients build quality websites? Can you help your client build a brand?