Recently, Google has been increasingly transparent regarding what they think about the SEO industry as a whole.
As an example, the most recent version of the “Link Schemes” page (which is part of the Webmaster Guidelines section), pretty much damns any type of intentional link building, no matter how white hat it might have been previously.
Look at how things are worded very carefully.
What is being implied is that it’s the link’s intention that might cause a site’s problem.
Not the actual link.
For Google, that is a very bold position to take.
Google is basically saying, “don’t even try. Just create great content so the internet community loves it. We will do all of the rest of the work by somehow detecting which of your links were naturally built.”
It all sounds nice, however it only applies literally to businesses and websites whose product is basically publishing interesting content for their audience.
However, as you probably already realize, there’s a big problem here. The Air Duct Cleaning business in your local area has zero chances in creating a site that is amazing, compelling and will earn recognition from adoring fans from all over the world.
Or the downtown Land Surveying company or a local Notary Public.
A majority of your clients won’t have the right business model where it is feasible to achieve good organic results effectively if forced to abide very strictly to Google’s guidelines.
However, there is an even bigger problem, which has to do with intent.
Is Google really able to determine how or why a link has been generated on an algorithm level?
The question contains the answer.
It is a very Simple Truth:
If Google Could Really Algorithmically And Accurately Determine How and Why a Link Had Been Created…
Then They Wouldn’t Have To Try This Hard To Scare People Off And Discourage Them From Link Building.
The Strongest Algorithm That Google Has? Fear
Sooner or later you need to be honest with your clients and yourself, and explain that the primary goal of Google isn’t to rank sites accurately based on their merit or importance.
They have one goal only, and that is to sell ads.
They have zero incentive for endorsing, supporting or even tolerating the SEO industry at all. It is the exact opposite in fact.
Since rising to prominence ten years ago, Google has literally been waging a war against webmasters attempting to game the system. This was inevitable. So they rolled out more levels of technology, continually tweaked their algos and attempted to curb manipulation overall.
It’s honestly been a long, losing battle for Google. Any SEO who is worth anything has had the ability to game the system. It all came down to volume and Page Rank.
That’s why recently Google has been moving away from fighting using technology to focusing on psychological warfare mainly.
I think their goal is to paralyze the entire SEO industry through promoting confusion, fear and lack of any real transparency in terms of what is allowed and what isn’t. It’s worked quite well, obviously.
That’s why there is a negative value for “bad” links in their algorithm. (Although in many cases, it’s something that the webmaster cannot control at all.)
If the primary concern of Google was ranking sites based on their merits- instead of promoting confusion and fear- then a bad link just wouldn’t count.
However, this isn’t the case. I believe there is an obvious reason for this.
However, there might be an even better illustration of the obvious agenda that Google has on the Link Schemes” page. Here is what is says there:
“Note that PPC (pay-per-click) advertising links that don’t pass PageRank to the buyer of the ad do not violate our guidelines”.
In addition to building great content and hoping for the best, it is the only suggestion from Google on how to promote a site properly. Buying ads are the thing they approve of.
It basically speaks for itself as far as I am concerned.
So Where Does All Of This Leave You?
The SEO industry’s climate is actually great for agencies, consultants and resellers who are able to take a realistic view and drop their status as “Google fan boy.” They should focus instead on analysis and results that are data-driven.
While everybody else is so scared they won’t even make adjustments to title tags- those who decide to personally look at the SERPS and run tests on their own, can clearly see the game is still the same.
Of course, some changes have been made. There are a couple more moving parts. It isn’t enough to just have lazy links- you must do everything in moderation if you want your long-term results to be secure.
It is also important to educate clients about how SEO is basically a traffic strategy that is ongoing instead of a retirement strategy that has eternal rankings.
However, when it comes right down to it, page 1 still has 10 spots on it. I assure you that competitors of your client’s didn’t get there through buying PPC ads or publishing great content.
Most of your clients have keywords so far away from Google’s radar screen that they may as well be invisible. This means they are really never going to be affected negatively by any of it.
The only question left remaining is whether you feel like obtaining incredible results for all of your clients, by using promotional methods that are effective and completely legal, no matter what the internal guidelines of Google’s do or don’t suggest.
Keep in mind that you are not attempting to sell “SEO.”
What you are selling are customers, leads and traffic, as well as a livelihood.
Every once in a while the methods and format might need to be adjusted slightly (by the way, that’s the reason why SuperKaizen is here to stay on top of things and guide you through the changes).
However, the product doesn’t ever change. That’s what your clients really care about- obtaining new business, leads and traffic.
Fortunately, there will be fewer services selling it, and more people needing it, in the evolving SEO landscape. What that means is if you are able to rely on data and logic- instead of just blindly believing everything that a publicly-traded and biased corporation tells you…
… then your business will continue growing.