Search Engine Marketing

What is Adaptive SEO?

Chuck Bankoff - Thursday, September 05, 2013

First you have to understand that Google’s objective is to promote the best websites, not the best “optimized” websites. Search engines want to display the most accurate and varied results for each and every search query. Search engine optimizers know basically what the engines are looking for and attempt to gain a competitive advantage by “gamming” the system.

These techniques were not only publicly advertised, but considered industry best practices. The problem was they never met Google’s guidelines in the first place…they just happened to work.

Google is Smarter than You and everyone you Know.
You might assume “Adaptive” means reactive, but that’s not quite accurate. In fact where SEO is concerned it’s just the opposite. For years search engine optimization companies have been reacting to Google and adopting their techniques to outsmart the search engines.  These practices not only proved to be unsustainable, but have taken a dramatic turn for the worst. Regardless of what you think, Google is smarter than you, and everyone you employ… regardless of how tricky you think you are.

Adaptive SEO is about Web Presence Optimization, not Search Engine Optimization.
Adaptive SEO
is about NOT playing cat and mouse with the search engines. It’s about developing a legitimate long-term, bulletproof web presence by doing things right. It’s about developing and sharing good quality content, it’s about link “earning” not link building. It’s about a good sound technical structure for your website, with easily indexable pages, clear navigation and fast load times. It’s about being mobile friendly and socially active (yes, your social presence is an actual search engine ranking factor). It’s about reviews and reputation and citations on directories and other reputable and industry related websites.

So where did your Google Rankings Go?
Did you used to have top rankings for all those money keywords, but they literary dried up over night? …and I do mean overnight. If you’ve seen a slow decline in rankings, or if your rankings fell off a cliff on a specific date, it was most likely because your SEO team wasn’t playing by Google’s rules.

So what happened? Were you actually penalized for these tactics? The answer is both “yes” and “sort of”. “Yes” if these tactics were blatantly overused, “sort of” if all those tactics which were previously sustaining your search dominance were simply no longer being counted.

Backlinks (links from other website, directories and web properties around the Internet) are a ranking factor. Suppose you had 1000 incoming links, but 950 of them were cheap “spammy” links that your SEO company purchased instead of earned. There was a day when you woke up and Google decided to no longer give you credit for those 950 spammy links. Now you have only 50. Naturally your search results are going to take a hit. Were you penalized? Sort of…it was more like a “correction” similar to what the stock market goes through periodically.  Similar to investing in good quality stocks with a track record of a return over time, Adaptive SEO is about investing in quality techniques and developing a sustainable long-term strategy…not about using questionable practices that will eventually stop working.

 

Where to start?
Start with the Research

Kreative Webworks is a full service Digital Marketing Agency serving Orange County California since 1999.

 

Don’t let the “S” in SEO stand for Sucker

Chuck Bankoff - Monday, February 13, 2012

A personal friend of mine...an attorney, told me that he contracted with a search engine optimization company, (let’s call them the “Mellow” Pages) because they claimed to specialize in search engine optimization for personal injury attorneys.

6 thousand dollars later he was asking me why he was getting top rankings on the search results pages, but no additional business.

It didn’t take a forensic pathologist to unravel this mystery. After reviewing the keyword phrases that he contracted for verses the actual results, it was evident that he was simply the victim of a classic bait and switch.

Let me emphasize that my attorney friend…a VERY intelligent guy and a top attorney had absolutely no reason to suspect what would be painfully obvious to an Internet Marketing specialist.  He is a very competent attorney…not a digital marketing professional.

Here is how it went down:

He contracted for the following phrases:

  • Accident Attorney Irvine
  • Car Accident Lawyer Irvine
  • Car Accident Lawyers Irvine
  • Car Accident Attorney Irvine
  • Personal Injury Lawyer Irvine

 Here are the keyword phrases that were actually optimized:

  • Accident Attorney Irvine California
  • Car Accident Lawyer Irvine California
  • Car Accident Lawyers Irvine California
  • Car Accident Attorney Irvine California
  • Personal Injury Lawyer Irvine California

 Did you notice the difference? Simply by adding one more word (California) to an otherwise legitimate long tail keyword phrase, it turned a very competitive, highly searched on phrase into something easily achievable, but with no discernible ROI.

 Let’s take a look at his actual results:

Notice that virtually each phrase with the word “California” at the end of it ranks higher than the same phrase without the State name. Why is that?

 Well, by simply searching on both phrases in Google and comparing the amount of search results, I could quickly see that the phrase “car accident attorney irvine California” was approximately 370% less competitive than the version without the word “California” tagged onto the end.

 Is that a good thing? Actually your SEO consultant should be looking for less competitive words; that is an essential ingredient to good keyword selection. However those less competitive phrases must also represent a fair amount of searches. At the end of the day I would rather show up for 20% of a thousand searches than zero percent of a Million searches.

 If the research showed that by adding the State name at the end of all those phrases resulted in reduced, but significant traffic, then it would have been a sound strategy. In this case people who live in Irvine rarely search on a phrase like “car accident lawyer Irvine California”, however they do search on a phrase like “car accident lawyer Irvine”. The “Mellow” pages simply made it easy on themselves at the expense of their client.

 Let’s put this into perspective; every successful business person is good at what they do. There is no reason for anyone to be good in an entirely different industry like digital marketing. I would never review my own contracts, or do my own accounting. Why would I expect a lawyer to be able to interpret the results of a search engine optimization campaign?

So how do you safeguard against unscrupulous Internet marketing practitioners?  The same way you would when referencing any company or individual; “Reputation Management”. My best advice is to simply search on: “reviews” + “the individual you are working with” to see what other folks have to say about their experience with that SEO specialist you are considering.

Remember, ethics and skill are mutually exclusive. My instincts tell me that the “Mellow” Pages should have been more trustworthy and accountable, but that was clearly not the case.


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