Hello there, this is your local search engine marketer, website designer and graphic designer at The Web Squad. As I continue to tinker away at our client’s website rankings and positions I have started to conceptualize a unique thought when in reference to search engine marketing. I could be very wrong but my instincts and intuition tell me I am completely right. Now there is no doubt in my mind that search engine marketing is a completely effective way to increase website ranking and position on Google, Bing and Yahoo, especially if our company provides those services. However, I believe we are nearing the end of search engine marketing viability and feasibility.

Yes, I know, how could someone like me who knows so much about search engine marketing and optimization say this? Well let’s take a look at the ins and outs of how search engine marketing works and why it works. First and foremost what you should understand is ever since the inception of the internet and the following explosion of websites being created by everyone and their mom, the search engines needed to find a way to determine how relevant a website was to a specific keyword or phrase. So what was the answer to this? Back-links and content relevancy. This has always been the foundation of relevancy search engines use to determine weather or not your site is relevant enough to be brought up in search engine placements.

Now people could have traveled the path of the white hat business owner and allowed for their sites to be linked to naturally but the reality they had to face was ‘People do not link back to websites’. Unless you have a video of an over-weight girl singing ‘I Will Survive’ on your website people will most likely not send your website any love at all. With this in mind the hustlers of the Y2K generation decided to profit from this obvious need, this spurred on the birth of the amorphous creature we call ‘Search Engine Marketing’.

Search Engine Marketing, no matter how complex and difficult people will try to make this sound it is actually fairly simple. They just try to convince you it’s complicated so they can bilk your wallets but not The Web Squad, we’re fairly priced. So how simple is this complex industry? Amazingly simple! However, extremely tedious and boring, to be quite honest with you I find it insatiably boring and I do what I have to do to keep myself entertained for eight hours and oddly enough I am so good at marketing it takes me three hours to do what takes others eight, so I blare Pendulum’s latest album while chatting away with my buddies on Facebook like my aspiring marketing friend May who has saved my sanity several times with her entertaining conversational skills, as I said before you need to stay entertained. The basic foundation white hat search engine marketing is based upon can be simplified into three main categories;

  1. Back-link Development – We achieve our back-links through social networking, social bookmarking (Reddit, Fark, Digg, Stumbleupon and Etc.) blog commenting, forum signatures, article submission, directories and etc.. We always ensure that the source of our back-link contains a high page rank (PR), because if it’s not, it’s worthless. In addition these back-links must be monitored to see if they are dropped or maintained and act accordingly in response.
  2. Social Networking – You don’t actually rely on social networking for physical back-links because most social networking platforms are intelligent enough to use TinyURL services and etc. to mask your domain which retards the back-link. You use social networking simply to expose your website and drive traffic to it. These sites are Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and Etc.
  3. Search Engine Optimization and Content Relevancy Maintenance – This is the only continued involvement most SEM Technicians will have with a client’s website because it is highly important that your website is optimized for relevancy. SEM Tech’s will go through your website after identifying your targeted keyword phrase and saturate the content of each page to fit that phrase with a minimum of five hundred words per page and then perform a check on each page that your Meta tags are optimized (Description, Title, Headings, Sitemap and Etc.) and that your overall page is user friendly. Then the continued involvement comes from unique articles written by your search engine marketer and posted to your blog (if you do not have a blog by now you are failing and live under a rock). These articles are important because not only do they stand to be syndicated by one of the above mentioned directories such as Technorati who will publicize your content but it adds to your websites relevancy and shows the search engines that your website is a living and breathing creature that knows it’s stuff.

So as I previously said search engine marketing is not cracking neurons, it’s fairly simple just time consuming.

So why the foreboding title of the article if money is good and the work is easy? First let me explain the metaphor, the dieing star represents search engine marketing and the gravitational pull of a dieing star represents the obvious financial advantages of providing search engine marketing. Now let’s think about it, we’ll use Google as our example today because Google should always be your targeted engine and let’s see if we can explain away my theory.

These dates and times are from my personal research and if some of the numbers are not completely accurate I apologize but the information should be legitimate. Since July of 2000 Google has been releasing algorithms to better improve their search engine’s accuracy for user’s queries, the first algorithm update was released on July 26th at 11:30 a.m., thus beginning the eventual assault on search engine marketing. Since the first nail in the coffin Google has averaged six algorithm releases per year, each improving upon the predecessor, some of the most noted website designers, coders and search engine marketers have even begun to name these updates the same way you would name a hurricane, the first to be named was Hurricane Boston March 6th, 2003 at 7:38 p.m.. A completely appropriate classification system when you realize these algorithms’ primary function are to eliminate and retard the results of search engine marketers, every release has been a significant blow to this ‘industry’ and the blows will continue to come, one after the other until all that is left is the lifeless corpse of your local search engine marketer.

Over-react much? No, not really. I know search engine marketers will adamantly deny this line of reasoning and the life preserver they will cling to in order to explain away their blind faith will be back-links because back-links have always been the best way to judge the importance of a website. However, if they are real search engine marketers and have been doing this for a considerable amount of time they know their jobs have become increasingly more difficult with each updated algorithm. Two years ago one of the tricksy tricks we were able to pull was the implementation of link farming, where we would use an automated system to develop x amount of sites and distribute back-links to y amount of clients’ sites producing z back-links (xy)=z. This method was a relatively simple method and produced back-links effortlessly for search engine marketers however Google’s Panda Algorithm released in February 2011 proved to have apocalyptic results with a crushing 12% change in domestic search results, which was almost never heard of due to the fact Google’s Algorithm Updates were so subtle the changes were rarely noticed.

It should be stated that Google has submitted press releases stating it was not targeting link or content farms but the reality is page rankings and search result placements began to decrease for those who partook in the farming practice and in fact these sites began to be penalized. Not only were search engine results changing but the algorithm’s capability of detecting duplicate and ‘spun’ content had become deadly effective so those who used article spinning software or services were swiftly busted and the content was not deemed unique. So in my opinion Google can talk until their gums bleed about how they have not been targeting search engine marketers but if you live in the real world it is painfully obvious.

With all of this in mind where should we go from here? My honest answer is that white hat search engine marketing techniques will be substantially effective for another five years +/-, but after we reach that cusp I have no doubt in my mind that what we currently consider Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for search engine marketing will be completely extinct if not completely evolved. I hope from the bottom of my heart that we will all be able to choose the latter for your client’s sakes and your bank accounts. Any intelligent business minded person who prefers to see past their own nose should start thinking outside the box now so they can be ahead of the curve when this inevitable doomsday comes and be prepared to pivot.

Where do I see search engine marketing going? Evolving of course into a more ‘brass tax’ form of marketing where search engine marketers will have to learn socializing, networking, and marketing on a completely heightened level of aggressiveness. I guess we will all just have to wait and see but let me provide anyone with the hopes of investing in a start-up search engine marketing company, don’t do it, focus on hard-line marketing vs. search engine marketing because your clients will get more for their dollar and will keep you protected from a potentially fatal blow down the road. If you already own a company that provides search engine marketing ride that horse until the wheels fall off but you too should prepare yourselves for that shake and bake moment.

Written by Web Squad
Sr. Search Engine Technician

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