Developing a Long Term SEO StrategyFriday August 20th, 2010
As companies vie for the coveted top ten Google results for high traffic keywords and Google constantly adjusts its algorithms and methods, it takes a full time effort to stay competitive. Most small businesses don’t have the resources to devote even 20 hours a week to SEO efforts, let alone hire a team of full time experts. So, is it futile then to even try?
In the rapidly changing world of search engine optimization, it can seem almost impossible to keep up. As companies vie for the coveted top ten Google results for high traffic keywords and Google constantly adjusts its algorithms and methods, it takes a full time effort to stay competitive. Most small businesses don’t have the resources to devote even 20 hours a week to SEO efforts, let alone hire a team of full time experts. So, is it futile then to even try?
With Google’s most recent changes to their algorithm, termed Mayday by the SEO community due to its May release, many large sites saw a significant drop in traffic due to long tail keywords. This is especially true for secondary pages that may be several clicks from the home page, but house a good amount of content, like product pages on an eCommerce site. These product pages normally contain a specific item description, which is a great way to target people who are looking for that specific item. This seems like a great strategy, so why would Google want to downplay such specific results?
The reality of the search engine game is that when we find a strong tactic that seems to work, we immediately look for ways to exploit it. Instead of painstakingly writing individual product descriptions, many eCommerce sites import huge lists of manufacturer product descriptions or dynamically generate content based on search terms. This means that instead of being filled with pertinent, individualized content, many of these sites are recycling old, poorly written content. In an effort to continue providing the most useful results, Google made their best attempt at closing the gap. The result: Mayday.
This begs the question, “with Google making minor changes to their algorithm almost every day to prevent exploitation, how do we expect to stay ahead?” The answer, in short, is we don’t. We can’t. So what is long-term SEO?
Instead of fighting Google by looking for ways to exploit the limitations of their system, it makes much more sense to work with them. Google’s goal is to present the most useful, pertinent content to its users in the most specific way possible. So why not build your site around these ideals? Instead of importing a database of boring, canned product descriptions from the manufacturer, start writing your own copy. Write it in a more human, accessible voice. Relate it to your site’s specific target audience. Include keyword phrases that play to your site’s strengths. You’ll find not only that your product pages will organically draw more potential customers, but that your new visitors might even stick around to read them. Try adding customer reviews for each product. What better way to have others populate your site with pertinent information about your products?
So, what’s the trick to building a solid long term SEO strategy? The trick is that there isn’t one. Taking a shortcut or jumping on the current hot trend for manipulating search indexing will only get you so far before Google has a chance to amend the problem. With billions of dollars worth of resources placed behind keeping their search results competitive, you better believe that they will fix the problem. The only way to truly ensure the long term success of your website’s SEO is to make it the most useful, pertinent destination for your target audience.