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Gaming Google - the evolution of our true vocation

 5:06 am on Jul 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Most of us have skills enabling the ability to rank in web sites/pages for search terms in Google. For [I assume] most of us here, that is our main skill.

How we monetize on this skill varies widely amongst us, in fact it probably varies regularly for ourselves also.
I got into this "trade" by helping my father work out how to make and promote a website for his company whilst at university. Doing that gained me certain experiences and expertise of which I wanted to work on, so my first SEO career commenced with consultancy, a very high paying job for a university student.

From there I worked out that I was creating enormous value for these customers, getting them rankings for very competitive terms, and charging them relatively negligible fees.

So I started my own sites, but my skill was ranking for search terms, so I simply produced affiliate sites. Being content with the easy income, I gave little thought to a long-term strategy. My sites would get banned, but it was easy enough to just start new ones. The content was weak, and I guess you would call them doorway sites. Then Florida hit, and this strategy was gone.

From there I was devastated I had lost my gold mine, so delved in a bit of black hat, as I really wanted to get my income up to pay for my house I was now building. Again, of course these sites would get banned continually, so I had enough of having to restart again and again, and was looking for a more sustainable business model.

So I would start sites with real content, but again I had little skill in copy writing, and wouldnt call myself an authority on many subjects.

From there making real web sites, to actually help people, opposed to just put money in my pocket, and having a sustainable business model I have experimented relentlessly, with different industries, different specialties, investing in content here, development there, etc. Until now I have reached the stage where I think I actually get it. Sure, this is partly brought on by Panda, but it has only really reinforced what I already knew.

So now, I hire proper copywriters, who can not only write good content, but are also very familiar with the subject. I think wikipedia is a good guideline. If you are not offering your visitors anything more than that, then you haven't got it. And from here you reach your sustainable business model.

Nowadays SEO comes to us so naturally, we don't bother tweaking keyword densities, count, and other redundant optimization techniques. We can't link exchange so easily, and link purchasing can be costly. So the evolution of SEO, is offering you visitor the best user experience you can come up with.



 7:22 pm on Jul 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

So the evolution of SEO, is offering you visitor the best user experience you can come up with.

When I created my first webiste in 2004, I knew almost nothing about SEO or link-building. So I simply tried to create the best site I could for my expected visitors. This was a non-commercial site about an environmental issue, and for the first year or so, it got less than 10 visitors per day. (For a long time it only had one backlink, which was from from DMOz).

But now most of its pages rank number 1 in Google for their title, even ahead of the corresponding Wikipedia page in some cases. I've never changed the basic design and the only link-building I've ever done was some submissions to free directories, which I no longer do. So I think the main reason for its success was my original intent to make the best site I could for visitors.


 10:44 pm on Jul 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Nice post Whatson and I agree with you and Aristotle that that's the way things are headed although the point about SEO coming naturally is a good observation - hadn't considered that but you're right. It's a bit like learning to drive - you end up doing a lot of it instinctively.


 10:57 pm on Jul 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thats a good example of what I mean, only the opposite way around. I am assuming that these days you are more proactive with your SEO.


 11:14 pm on Jul 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Nowadays I will admit it, I take certain short cuts, and do pro-actively build links to my site, but in the most white hat manor I can. And yes, this will give my sites "unnatural" ranking boosts. However, now that I am also focusing on making it much better than every competitor, and have so much experience I am able to do so, then these sites should be ranking ahead of them anyway.

But to make sites that good, does require a significant investment in peoples time, and money, so I want to get a return on it asap. And from Google's point of view, I am literally improving their index anyway, with more reliable and useful content, better user experiences, tidier and easier to use web sites.


 12:10 am on Jul 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

" So the evolution of SEO, is offering you visitor the best user experience you can come up with.

+ 1 ( Not a google plus one hee hee )

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