Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Why is Google still ranking keyword stuffers? What is SEO in 2013?

Cool customer by Mastrobiggo

So you can still rank through keyword stuffing. Today I have found yet another copywriter using keyword stuffing to rank in a location he is not based at, which makes a mockery of local listings. He is not the first one, a few months back I nabbed one who has removed the page and is becoming prominent in the copywriting world.

The mind boggles... why are customers choosing these people as suppliers? They are using old SEO or black hat SEO, which are against Google's policy, to rank with words that are not relevant to their services - hardly a professional quality. They might be getting away with it for a while, but Google's Bell will toll for their websites.

I know Google cannot police everything, but it's very difficult to report this behaviour, can Google please provide an email address so disgruntled web surfers can contribute links? What's the point of Google Places if these underhand tactics are not discouraged?

SEO is part of digital marketing now, move ON
There has been talk that SEO is dead (see previous blog topic), that there is a new SEO, bla, bla, but SEO as it stands in 2013 is part of the digital marketing mix, which includes: ppc, link building, PR/reputation management, analytics, responsive design (one has to consider mobile users) and social media. SEO is not hocus pocus, it is a perfectly respectable business in an unregulated industry. SEO stands for optimization and online authority - and yes, you need all the elements of digital marketing to rank a website.

The unregulated industry bit can explain why SEO rates vary so much. It's a no brainer, though, good SEO increases sales, so why should this be a low-cost service? I'm not saying that it warrants eye-watering day rates, but people on peanutsperhour offering SEO for a fistful of dollars are, fittingly, cowboys.

Content marketing is as important as design
Content marketing includes words, infographics, images... so spending all the money on a designer and not willing to pay a writer is not sensible. And within content marketing,  pictures/infographics might be worth 1000 words, but they won't prop up weak copywriting.

I must confess, I rubbed my hands when international marketing conferences proclaimed content was king. In reality, people don't want to spend any money for copywriting because they think they can hire a cheap monkey or write the copy themselves. Newsflash, it has taken me several years to become a good copywriter and I have a solid background in journalism. Digital copywriting is a different skill from print journalism and it's very different from blogging.

The written bit people want to pay peanuts/bananas for is the sales message - whistles-and-bells design plus good SEO will attract visitors to a website but lacklustre copy will bounce them off in a jiffy. It doesn't matter if a shopfront is shiny, if the merchandise is badly displayed, nobody in their right mind will want to buy it unless it's as cheap as chips.

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