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I'll start by banging that reliable old drum -- "Search Engine Optimization is hard!" -- by acknowledging the obvious truth in that statement. But then, I'll tell you that SEO marketing success is best achieved by first focusing on the marketing and then worrying about the SEO.

"Blasphemy!" you might say. And I'll admit that the focus on Internet success has clearly been on SEO first and everything else second, but I'll ask you, "How has that been working out for you lately?" Not so good I suspect.

And why is that? Fundamentally because Google finally pulled the trigger on their litany of warnings over the last number of years that SEO methods depending on 'gaming the organic search results system' were going to be ruled out. Well, when Google finally did call the black and grey hat SEO practitioners out at home, the very nature of SEO marketing success changed.

Lots of businesses found to their dismay that their organic search rankings had plummeted overnight. Losses of 10, 20, 30 percent and more of daily traffic were not uncommon. And, after the first few days of panic set in, additional waves of panic ensued because Google is never finished with adjusting their SEO algorithm. 

Off With Their Spammy Links!

The first thing website operators realized was that the party was truly over for external links that didn't relate to their own website's subject and/or geographic location. The entire Pagerank game was turned on its head (Pagerank, or PR, is Google's way of measuring how popular your website is based on the popularity of the sites linking to your site). The problem with Pagerank was that it was virtually helpless against the onslaught of spammy linking schemes to artificially raise the PR of sites in order to build an artificial network of high ranking sites that were nothing more than link mills. Well, Google did the right thing and killed the Frankenstein's Monster-like mess it had inadvertently allowed to prosper. Unfortunately, a lot of legitimate companies had either unwisely or unwittingly built much of their SEO marketing success on the PR Chimera, and when the beast was slain, so too were their SERP (Search Engine Result Page) rankings.

SEO Marketing Success - Just You Being You

"OK, so what do we do now, Captain Sunshine?" you ask. "The sky is falling, and all that painful and expensive external linking we've done over the last few years is worthless -- or even worse, hurting our rankings."

Indeed that is true in far too many cases, but my goal here is not to bring the rain to your parade. And, in fact, as I've said before, for real businesses, the change in the role of Search Engine Optimization in pursuit website success is actually a fantastic opportunity. For the first time in a long time, there is a something resembling a level playing field for getting higher SERPs. What is the key? It's getting back to basics: For SEO Marketing Success now, the content of your website, and the focus of your external linking strategy needs to be Just You Being You. Show your prospects what you do best, respond to their needs with information about your products and services, and deliver solutions to those needs to add long-term repeat customers.

In my next post, I'll look at some of the most effective ways to do just that.


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