I was thinking the other day about how influencing search engines is like influencing people. Short of brute force and absolute control, you can't force anyone to do your bidding. With search engines, you might make a spam brute force attack, but that will be short lived. And absolute control? Well, no one has that, not even Google engineers, unless they all got together in a drunken binge and decided to reprogram the algorithm collectively.
Brute force and seeking absolute control are temporary measures at best. Eventually there will be an uprising and you'll be shock-and-awed into a big heaping pile of disaster. Not a good way to go.
And this is why SEOs can't guarantee rankings. The only way to provide any kind of ranking guarantee is to be your own little Google dictator. And, since Google has far more money, resources, and political connections... all I can say is "good luck with that!"
So where does that leave you? Well, persuading search engines is a bit like persuading people. You gotta get your "A" game and go on the charm offensive. But, no matter how good you are, at the end of the day, you have to know you can't force anyone to do what you want. But you can hope to convince them.
How good of an SEO someone is depends on how good they are at convincing the search engines to do what they (you) want. The decision is completely up the search engines. No matter what, they have final say. The trick is to get them to want to give you the outcome you want.
The romance analogy comes in handy when talking to people about search engine rankings, guarantees, and whatnot. They want the SEO to guarantee that he/she can get them rankings, but there is no such guarantee. The SEO can merely attempt to persuade. No matter how good you are, you won't convince the engines to always do what you want with every keyword.
SEO, like romance, is a process. You don't knock someone head over heals one day and they'll forever eat out of your hands, sending you little hearts or flowers. You have to put forth the effort to keep them interested.
In some cases, it takes a while. Love at first site is very rare. In many cases even "like" at first sight is rare. Build a good site, and Google gets interested. But, you'll still have a lot of romancing to do to get them to really like you. And, you have to commit to get them to love you. If you're not willing to commit to the process, then maybe you're just not worthy of Google's love.
Google isn't just any girl. She's currently the hottest girl in the room. The girl every guy is trying to court for their keywords. That means romancing her isn't going to come easy. If you're working on low competitive keywords, Google may be a cheap date. But, once there are plenty of suitors to choose from... well, a date on a fast food budget just isn't going to do. You need to show her that you're willing to spend time and money (in this case, perhaps paying someone to SEO your site properly) to prove that you're serious.
It's hard to convince Google that you're the one for her when there are dozens of others putting in far greater effort in building a good website and marketing it properly. You can't just come in off the street in your work clothes and say, "Here I am baby, let's rock this joint!"
It all comes down to persuasion. No forcing, no guarantees... just good, old-fashioned hard work to build a great site and investment in strong marketing. These things will not only get Google to take notice, but she may just consider you a bonafide suitor.
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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