SEO

SEO is a Big Fat Waste of Time

I’ll say it again. SEO is a BIG FAT waste of time. It will do you absolutely no good. You won’t get hordes of traffic to your site. You won’t get a bunch of conversions. By conversions, I mean of course, the desired action for which you want visitors to your site. If you want to sell something, then the action of purchasing an item on your site is the conversion. If you want people to sign up for your monthly newsletter, then the act of submitting their name and email address would be considered a conversion.

The reason for the elaborate explanation is that I want to make it abundantly clear what a conversion is to distinguish it from hits to your site, page views and unique visitors. All of these may be desired; however, they are not the desired actions that pay the bills. Conversions pay the bills; and if your site is not getting conversions then it is not doing what it should have been designed to do.

So, now you may be thinking to yourself: what does this have to do with SEO? Well, here it is in a nutshell. SEO is designed to make your site or article or RSS feed, or whatever you are marketing more visible to the search engines; hence the acronym. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Now, you are possibly saying out loud, “I know that. Everyone knows that”!

You also would be right in making such a statement; however, if that is correct– everyone knows what SEO is. Then why are so many companies dissatisfied with all of their hard work in trying to optimize their sites for search engines. Even if their hard work is paying off and they are achieving top ranks in Google or any search engine, they don’t seem to be happy with those results. Getting #1 results for your most important keywords is great; but it is worth nothing and in fact, costs you money if your intended audience does not click through on the listing. How does this cost you money? More accurately, it costs you in the amount of time and effort you put forth to get into the top ranks. You know what they say, “Time is Money.” That’s right. Even if you do get the #1 rank for all of your keywords (very difficult, indeed, to achieve) it doesn’t mean that users will click on your listing; let alone purchase something (i.e., convert) from your site.

So you see, the much sought after high ranking that you achieve from your SEO efforts will not amount to a hill of beans unless you are able to convince, nay, compel your searchers to click on your listing. Then, not only do you need the visitor to click on your listing; but you need them to find the object or service of their desire. If you lead them to content on a page that is not well designed or well written and the visitor has to continue to search for the item, they will become bored or worse, frustrated and hit the back button to the search engine results page or SERPs. This in and of itself can be a bad thing. This is because even if you do everything right and achieve great ranks for your main keywords and you attract users to click on your listing; it doesn’t mean they will convert. Now, if you get enough of these visitors who come to your site and don’t find what they are looking for– and as a result, hit the back button, the search engines record that and determine that this particular page does not deserve to be ranked where it is for that term and you will get bumped.

You may ask, “Why”?

This is because the search engine at this point has determined that your landing page is not relevant and useful to visitors. They will then treat the page accordingly and serve up, rather, what the engine considers to be a better result– your competition. That’s the mission of any search engine: Index the Web and serve up what people are searching for. If they fail to do this then people will eventually become frustrated and no longer use that particular search engine and will go elsewhere. The search engines obviously do not want this to occur because then they will lose users and more importantly, money– advertising dollars. This is why Google is so powerful. They have monopolized the search engine industry because they consistently (sort of) serve up relevant results that users want. Advertisers know this so they continue to purchase AdWords to the tune of billions of dollars.

So, now, back to why I say, “SEO is a BIG FAT waste of time.” Don’t you need to make your site search engine friendly so that it will get better ranks and then it will make money on the Internet? Yes, of course you need to do this. However, you can’t stop there. There is a lot more that needs to take place for SEO to work. It is a big waste of time if that is all you are going to do and expect to strike it rich on the Internet.

Think of marketing your site as playing in a big Vegas poker tournament. Just because you may have paid your entry fee and can sit down at the table; doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing. You may be able to arrange the cards you are dealt in such a way as to make it easier for you to see the beginnings of a great hand (SEO); or you might get lucky and start out with a flush. However, if you don’t use the right betting strategy and don’t play your cards right– you’re going to get beat. Oh, sure you might win a few hands (get good ranking) now and then, but in end, you’re going to come out a loser because you didn’t have a good strategy from the get-go and you basically, went all-in with your one good hand.

Any good poker player out there will tell you that in order to win at poker you have to be consistent and steady with your betting strategy. You don’t take anything for granted and you certainly don’t put everything on the line with one hand (or at least you shouldn’t). You have to be ready to switch up your game and try different tactics.

So it is the way you should think about SEO. In order to make money on the Internet you have to take a more holistic approach to marketing your site. There is not one single effective technique that will make you money. There are, in fact, numerous ways to successfully market your site. In the coming weeks, I will venture to talk about different tactics and how to use them. I always tell my clients to never rely on just one way to do it. If you try one tactic and it fails for you, move on to another one and give that a try. Success on the Internet is about testing different tactics and exploiting those that work and dumping those that do not.

So don’t let any so-called SEO expert tell you that if you pay him enough money, he’ll get you top ranking in Google or one of the other search engines. You should then ask this expert, “Then What?” Don’t waste your time if the response is: “What do you mean?”

Until next time–

~Matt

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