I will start tonight’s post by saying SEO is a form of Gambling
The reason SEO is Gambling is because Google have what are known as the Google Webmaster Guidelines and the crux of what these guidelines say is don’t try to Manipulate Google Results.
OK, so it’s not as straightforward as manipulating Google, as a good SEO can work within the guidelines and create very search engine friendly websites, with well optimized pages, linked together with a clear hierarchy, using appropriate anchor text and a navigation system that enables the Google Bots to easily find all relevant content from within any area of the website.
A good SEO Company will not only understand the technical aspects of search engine optimisation, but will also have excellent SEO Copywriters providing very useful, information rich, engaging content that is not only search engine friendly but is also very end user friendly.
A good SEO company will know straight away that optimising a website and website pages without first undertaking keyword research and key-phrase research, without carrying out competitor analysis and without having an understanding of client expectations is like stepping in to a boxing ring with a pair of woolen mittens.
So a good SEO company can provide a technically correct, content rich, user friendly, search engine friendly website. This website will be targeting all the correct phrases that give a good ROI, the client is kept fully aware of what to expect so why is SEO Gambling?
There are a number of reasons why SEO is a Gamble
1. It can be a gamble getting the correct SEO company in the first place, Internet marketing and SEO is such a new industry that it is virtually unregulated and is constantly evolving.
2. Good SEO companies don’t come cheap! – The client who doesn’t see the bigger picture, who sees SEO as a cost rather than an investment and who sets a budget without gauging results can easily not reap the benefits of continuing with a good SEO company when the Good results are growing and returns are just around the corner.
The old saying “Speculate to Accumulate” holds as true with the SEO industry as any other and quite often those who are most successful in any industry are those who are prepared to take the risks.
3. Competition – The Internet is like the Old Wild West. You may be happily building up your business, ranking high for all your keywords and selling your products/services nicely.
The problem is, it is now so much easier for others to see you doing well and wanting a piece of the action, where you may have been the only store on the street, now all of a sudden there are 5 more stores competing against you.
4. More SEO Companies – In the early days of SEO there were far fewer websites that were optimised well, you had your website optimised well and you could stay within the Google Webmaster guidelines and outrank other sites.
Nowadays more and more sites are optimised a lot better, your competition is not only a lot tougher but an awful lot of these better constucted, better optimised websites are run by digital agencies who are prepared to push the Webmaster Guidelines to the limit.
They effectively now have websites as well optimized as yours but are also prepared to abuse the guidelines and manipulate Google to their advantage,
5. Your SEO Gamble – So you are seeing this new competition appearing all around you, you are seeing more websites that are optimized as well as yours, you are seeing digital agencies entering your market, you are seeing well optimized sites abusing the Google Webmaster Guidelines, manipulating results, getting away with it and now slowly begining to outrank you - so what do you do?
Do you cry foul, report all sites abusing the guidelines, carry on working within the guidelines until the realisation that nothing seems to happen to the sites doing the manipulating drives you to despair?
Do you fight fire with fire and start looking for ways to fight back by maipulating the guidelines to win back your rankings?
This is the SEO Gamble that business owners are facing on a daily basis.
Off course you are always going to here from SEO compamies who will tell you they never cross the guidelines and that they can rank you without resorting to link building, guest blogging, article writing etc. but chances are if they tell you they don’t do this, they are outsourcing it elsewhere and turning a blind eye.
So What do you do about SEO Gambling?
The most important thing is to be in total control, it’s your risk so you decide what to do.
Too often we here from angry customers who have lost rankings and haven’t got a clue what a previous SEO has done, this should never happen, if any risks are to be taken you should know and be the one prepared (or not prepared) to take the risk.
If you are offered an anchor text link on a high value related site, it is you who should know that it is technically against the Google guidelines to pay for this link if it is with the intention of improving your Google rankings, and it is you who makes the decision if you pay for that link or not.
You may take the decision to never sway over the Google guidelines and to just keep trying to regain your rankings this way, or you may decide it is worth risking things slightly for the benefit it brings, but that decision should always be yours and not the decision of an SEO company who can just walk away if the SEO Gamble goes wrong.