I've been on the road the past couple weeks, looking for my luggage in North Carolina, doing carry-on only for two days in Texas, and estimating the odds of getting the same crabby cab driver for two consecutive days in San Francisco.
These are my three reasons why you shouldn't bother to read this column. Unless, of course, you're curious about how I'm going to bind each of these ridiculous-to-sublime events into a little SEO (define) insight and advice.
American Airlines tarnished my impression of North Carolina after it lost my luggage, misled me about the likelihood of finding it, and offered no possible path toward compensation for having to buy underwear and toothpaste at Wal-Mart.
Relationships are bound by association. Just as AA temporarily tainted North Carolina for me, so too can linking associations hurt a perfectly good online destination. Steer clear of link farms; never cloak another domain; don't employ doorway (define) and hallway (define) pages; and don't hide links anywhere in a site.
Get links the old-fashioned way -- earn them with compelling content, quality products or services, and great usability. Doing so establishes credibility and trust, and tends to produce a sustainable, untarnished reputation online.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Having bought enough underwear and toothpaste to see me through to Texas and beyond, I deftly smuggled enough contact lens solution in three different 1.5 oz. bottles to make it through airport security with a carry-on bag.
Naturally, AA lost my coworker's checked luggage (again), and we were delayed just enough to miss a late-day client meeting. We eventually made up for our tardiness over dinner. Planning for potentialities requires some diligence. SEO is no different.
Obtaining and maintaining optimal search engine visibility takes time. Rankings will wobble, positioning will attune with profitability, and nothing happens overnight (unless a timely tech article gets Dugg). Successful search engine strategies can certainly be spurred along with a lightening strike or two. But long-term gains are best made by developing a flexible yet enduring plan for strategic growth.
Every site comes with its own baggage. Maybe it's a brand-new domain that's put in the sandbox or a tenured domain that's visited in a bad neighborhood. There could be technical barriers that make crawling the site untenable without a Flash or AJAX (define) workaround in place. Content could be entirely supplanted by images.
No matter, most commercial Web sites require a little SEO support to be found. Pack its bags and hit the road toward improved search engine visibility. Be ready for just about anything.
What are the odds of running into the same cab driver twice in San Francisco in less than 48 hours? Want to assess the likelihood that he was dour on Thursday and downright grim on Friday? All the same, I bet he was awesome on Saturday. Why the Pollyanna-like perspective? My experiences studying search results and understanding algorithmic influencers provide me with the undeniable knowledge that things can always get better.
Over the years, search results have become highly relevant. They're more in line with user expectations and are now in the process of offering up media-agnostic blended results as well as personalized results. Remember how challenging it was to seek, refine, and eventually find relevant search results? Today, it's nice not to have to think like a machine because the machines are starting to think like you and me.
While some people are prone to pessimistically predict SEO is dead, I believe SEO is just as it always has been -- changing and evolving and much the better for it. There are greater opportunities to rank for relevant, revenue-generating terms than ever before. All we have to do is plan for success and hit the road, understanding there might be a few setbacks along the way.
Want more search information? ClickZ SEM Archives contain all our search columns, organized by topic.
P.J. Fusco has been working in the Internet industry since 1996 when she developed her first SEM service while acting as general manager for a regional ISP. She was the SEO manager for Jupitermedia and has performed as the SEM manager for an international health and beauty dot-com corporation generating more than $1 billion a year in e-commerce sales. Today, she is director for natural search for Netconcepts, a cutting-edge SEO firm with offices in Madison, WI, and Auckland, New Zealand.
June 20, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT