Traffic and Lead Generation
As I am sure you know, you can throw a rock in the air and hit someone claiming to “get you to the top of Google”. The sad reality is that there are many many illegitimate businesses in the online marketing space. This is truly an emerging marketplace and therefore there it’s surrounded by confusion on many levels. I understand how frustrating it can be to be continually approached by these individuals. However, I believe that in the near future the dust will settle and it will become very clear who the true professionals in this space are.
At the end of February and into early March of 2012 Google underwent some major changes to it’s algorithm. These changes were aimed at enhancing the search results by making it harder to “Game The System”.
These changes are making it much harder for 99% of these amateur online marketers to successfully drive traffic to websites via Google’s natural / organic search engine. However, many innocent companies (who may have hired less than professional online marketers) got caught in the crossfire.
Hopefully this didn’t happen to you. Later on in this article we are going to cover the steps needed to make sure your business is not suffering from this update.
But first I’d like to get a little vocabulary straight…
Google often comments that they have no problem with Search Engine Optimization. In fact, they ENCOURAGE it when done correctly. “White Hat” is the term used to describe the SEO practices that fall within Google’s guidelines.
As you might guess, the term used to describe practices that Google does not agree with is called “Black Hat” or “Black Hat SEO”. This includes all kinds of tricks to get a website to show up in the Google results. One of the most common “Black Hat” SEO strategies is known as “blog comment spamming”. You may have seen this in blogs that you have visited in the past. “Blog comment spam” is seen at the bottom of a blog post, in the comments section. Spammers of this kind submit comments that have little to do with the content of the blog post and are typically “stuffed” with keywords around a specific product they are promoting.
There is no clear line between White and Black hat SEO. One well known expert said that “while Black Hat SEO is hard to define, you know it when you see it.”
Here’s how you can tell if your website has been hit by the recent updates to the Google Algorithm.
- 1) Take a look at your traffic. Has your organic traffic dropped recently? If you are currently working with an online marketing agency, make sure to bring this up at the next meeting and request to know more about how their long term strategy will address issues such as this.
- 2) Take a look at your leads. How has business been recently? Does this correlate with any drop in traffic on your site?
- 3) Take a look at your backlinks. Who is linking to your site? Do any of these backlinks look suspicious?