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Should you give up on SEO?

     
5:14 pm on Jun 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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For everyone dealing with Google traffic drops, "Not giving up" sounds nice but it's not always the wisest course of action. You want to figure out what is influencing your SEO traffic change. If you can't figure it out, then you are going to have little chance to successfully improve the situation.

Did the traffic drop due to a change to the serp layout?
Did the traffic drop due to a change in your competition (new sites or new pages outranking you)?
Did the traffic change because Google adjusted their ranking algo?

If your traffic changed due to Google adjusting their ranking formula, take a step back from your site and evaluate your ranking signals. Do you have good content? We all think we have good content but is your content generating traffic from social sites? If you are not getting a good amount of social traffic, then maybe your content is not as high quality as you think. We all think our own baby is cute but let's be honest not every baby is super cute and not all content is great. Engage with relevant social audiences for your website. Pay attention to the content they want and the content that is gaining traction from them. These are good clues on how you can improve your own content.

Start sharing your content with relevant social audiences. Check your ego at the door and be very receptive to criticism. It doesn't matter how you feel about your content, it just matters if other people like & want your content. So listen to the social audiences and give them the content they want. Doing that will help you build up a healthy traffic source outside of Google. It also boosts Google traffic. For example more brand awareness from social audiences can lead to more backlinks & that definitely helps SEO.

Once you have great content, worry less about your Google SEO trouble and build up your network of traffic referring websites. What websites would make good cross promotional partners for you? Traffic generating referrals and cross promotional partners are high quality backlinks. Backlinks aren't easy to develop but they are rocket fuel to Google rankings. Ask yourself when was the last time you gained backlinks that actually drove real traffic to your website? If you can't answer that, then it is likely part of the reason why Google is not giving your site as much love as it used to enjoy.

The more you make your site popular outside of Google, the more it comes crawling back and boosting SEO traffic to you.

Bottom line - we all want to make sure that our hard work will make a difference to our websites. Be smart and take a step back to assess the situation to make sure you are working on the right thing at the right time. Working harder isn't always smart. You can punch a brick wall as hard as you like but its not going to help your SEO rankings. Be careful that you aren't blindly working without knowing what is actually needed to fix your rankings :)
6:58 am on July 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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For example I get complaints from some that my jargon is too technical while others complain that it is simple simon.


SEO these days is all over the place ... users seem to be dumbing down, the algos (AI) seem to be getting more technical ... is there is mis-match going on?
2:08 pm on July 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The whatsapp aside is interesting ... but that contact came from a (wait for it) website. :)


Precisely, that's my point, without a well-optimised page for that specific product I would never have received that enquiry. Even though I have been in my trade for 52 years I had never heard of them and they had never heard of me, we met via our website which so happens to rank for that three keyword term #1 on Google, Bing and DDG.

I have many such niche widget product pages like this and all written by myself with my trade knowledge, experience and expertise. How many businesses, small and large, outsource/allow their pages to be written by people who have neither the knowledge of the product(s) nor possibly may even care?
3:47 pm on July 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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How many businesses, small and large, outsource/allow their pages to be written by people who have neither the knowledge of the product(s) nor possibly may even care?


I did this once, but never again. Used a professional copy writer but knowing the product as I do, a lot of it was unclear and sometimes didn't make sense. To me it was obvious that they didn't understand how it worked at all.

But then I have seen some copy writing that I wish that I could afford. A client sent a product outline to me and asked what I thought in comparison to our own offerings. Well it sounded most sophisticated and I could see why the client was impressed by that product. But what I was reading, knowing such products as I do, it didn't define anything tangible... a collection of key words that did trigger a sense of intrigue.

SEO these days is all over the place


"SEO" meaning what Google edicts? I think that I lost faith in common sense SEO way back when Google first turned the apple cart upside down. People assume that when words like "algorithm" are used that we are referring to a complex mathematical equation like the key to the universe. When in fact all an "algorithm" is is a bunch if if/else conditions defined by a team behind closed doors with the sole intention of manipulating a market to its nth degree for maximum profit.

In fact it would be bad business practice to do anything less. And if I was in such a position and wanted to keep my job, then I would definitely include in my algorithm the evaluation of any web site as a potential advertising client, and consequently dumb down their SEO ranking to force them to pay for their traffic or go bust.

And with that my case rests your honour.
5:21 pm on July 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Tangor, good and valid points, G is now a competitor. We write for humans but in many ways we also write for the algos, it's just the algos stopped making sense as humans, it's amazing the things we can see in terms of search engine dynamics these days.

Regarding demographics, yes it's worth looking. Yet it wouldn't surprise me social media just gave power to dumb people across all sort of age. During my years at X media company we had great editors and great content, but the writers were not so smart, this changed over the years to worse, what I mean is we had older people with different university degrees and failed to write, also failed to understand. My personal experience is confusing in those terms, I can't say it's on specific age and social group, we had mixed evidence, specially when it comes to audience (because workers... depends on the hiring).

Might not be the best piece because I wrote it in a hurry, but it covers what I saw there:
[webmasterworld.com...]

Actual research proved people didn't expand their vocabulary or reading skills, the audience preference went far and far low in quality. Some people wanted to keep the high numbers, but it's evident it's not just about traffic, it's also about the quality of traffic. Kinda reminds me my first years with some website, I had around 500 visitors but the conversions were awesome (back in 1999), so I keep refusing to adapt if adapting means going too far in terms of quality.
6:48 pm on July 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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<aside>Still and yet again the conversation conflates SEO and Google, the kool-aid is well drunk.</aside>

I've commented on this 'can't they read?' phenomenon numerous times over the years. What it most often comes down to is that many/most people no longer read they scan and that imperfectly. They look but they don't see is the visual counterpart of they listen but they don't hear. There is a growing cognitive imperfection, a rampant inability to focus, underscored by 30 second sound bites and the immediacy of text messaging underscoring contemporary life. Short hits of impact items impulsively shared without thought, with minimal comment, and without background or context.

Sometime go take a look a industrialised countries' literacy/illiteracy rates and then compare to their functional literacy/illiteracy rates.
Note: statistics based on PIAAC (Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies) of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

Canada: literacy rate, 99%; functional literacy rate, 52%.
Note: native born Canadians functional literacy rate is ~60%, immigrants: ~40%.
Note: the Canadian functional literacy rate fell from 58% to 52% between 2003 and 2012.
Note: Canada rates a 'C' grade nationally, at a provincial level it's 'C' for the western provinces and PEI and 'D' for Ontario east (except for PEI) .

Note: nationally only Japan rates an 'A'.
Note: in descending order Finland, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway rate a 'B'.
Note: in descending order Belgium, Canada, UK, Denmark rate a 'C'.
Note: in descending order USA, Germany, Austria, Ireland (and N.I), France rate a 'D'.
Note: US literacy rate is a low (comparatively) 86%.

When I designed my content format I decided on the 'newspaper' inverted pyramid method:
* a title/hed (eye grabbing)
* with a subhed/dek (catchy description)
* followed by a differentiated lede (aka lead paragraph)
* followed by a page summary
*followed by the main detailed content.

The title/hed and subhed/dek and lede are written for skim readers, the summary for scan readers, the main content for in-depth readers. Intra-linking is critical to help shift skimmers to scanners to readers.
Note: the summary is written to a North American grade 4 or 5 level, the content is written to a minimum grade 7 maximum grade 12 level depending, largely, on level of technical information included.
Note: unique captioned images, slideshows, and videos also help draw skimmers and scanners deeper into main content and perhaps assist those with lower literacy gain the knowledge they are seeking.

Trying to meet everyone's needs/wants/desires when each person visiting has unique difficulties and preferences is improbable, however the above format is the most workable method of requirements fulfilment I've discovered. Even after all these years.

Afterthought:
Over 20 years ago I wrote an 'owner's manual' pamphlet for an 8-speed blender (brand withheld due to NDA), a task I thought would take a few hours at most. It took maybe 20 hours over 2-weeks. It is surprisingly difficult to write a clear concise complete description of a product, it's use and care, that is understandable to a broad consumer audience.
I noticed a few years back that it is still used :)
Sadly, no residuals :(
6:53 pm on July 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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For example I get complaints from some that my jargon is too technical while others complain that it is simple simon.

That's perfectly normal. Some people like THE NEW YORK TIMES, and others prefer THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS. Different publications or sites for different audiences.
3:37 pm on July 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Just curious, did anyone take a major Google SERP hit back in December of 2017. I took a major rankings hit then, overnight, and have not been able to recover fully. I am just wondering if any of you have insight on that particular December 17, 2017 algorithm update.
12:39 am on July 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I no longer run ads on my sites or use Google traffic monitoring. Is their a free software or service that can be used to review SEO ranking? Otherwise which service could be most economical for such reviews?
8:42 am on July 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Is their a free software or service that can be used to review SEO ranking?


I'm more interested in any service that can rank SEO RANK companies.

Most of those critters are out of date, or old hat. :)
7:12 pm on July 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Most of those critters are out of date, or old hat. :)

I think that's by design. It's better to do for yourself these days and not share how else your knowledge sharing site will get squashed and for good measure anything else you do will be hampered, permanently, according to several who have had it happen to them.

I don't recommend you give up on SEO but you have to test for effect yourself and not rely on what others say 100%. I would, however, give up using any/all tools owned by big tech right about now until they stop having the potential to be used against you.
3:54 am on July 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Something to ponder...

I performed a Google search on my keyword, for example "do this to that" and returned pages of results, mostly from competitors and some irrelevantly related discussions. On the first page I saw lots of paid ads but...
1. on page one at #10 was sitelink A
2. on page two at #16 was sitelink B
3. on page three was #26 and #27 with 2 different pages on sitelink C.

Note that I own all 3 sites so I can tell you that:

1. Sitelink A has no more than 30 backlinks and only one page that uses the keyword. 15 years domain age.
2. Sitelink B has only 3 pages on it in total and no more than 30 backlinks. 5 years domain age.
3. Sitelink C has more than 30,000 backlinks, some high PR and a multitude of pages dealing in everything pertaining to the keyword. 20 years domain age.

Sitelink C is the only one of these sites that has ever been optimised for SEO.

What does that say about Google's ranking algorithm?
6:23 am on July 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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What does that say about Google's ranking algorithm?

That the Google (and other SE) algos are black boxes; that much of what is hyped publicly by SEOes is largely out of date and/or inaccurate and/or insufficient.
It might be best to optimise for visitors' conversion and retention with a healthy helping of basic best practice SEO and stop worrying about what the SEO tool and service sellers are hawking.
6:32 am on July 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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External links are a legend
You can rank for good keywords without having a single backlink.

Google himself hasn t his algorithms under control.
Updated are there to entertrain the industry.

Conclusion: cook your own sauce and ignore all the legends and enjoy the summer.
7:54 am on July 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Find all questions and a few answers here: [youtube.com...]
12:35 am on July 16, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Keep churning out 3000+ word posts and getting outranked by webmasters that condensed the value in them down to 3 paragraphs.

Tell our AI more with less text pls kthxbye ~ Google.
4:20 am on July 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Meh on this whole topic.

Effective SEO is "don't be stupid." Don't block the crawler, make sure your content is visible without JavaScript, and if you sell floor tiling make sure you mention tiles and floors somewhere on your home page.

But nowadays, search engine traffic is not going to get your business off the ground. It's too competitive, and no one consultant can get you to rank above Amazon. There's simply so many web pages, and so few slots in the first page of results, that you cannot possibly win with just publicly-accessible internet resources.

You're far better off with plain-old social connections and other niche marketing. Just make sure that nobody ranks above you for your own business's name (pick a "younique" one and register the corresponding .com), otherwise your customers will be very confused.
9:20 am on July 23, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The example above is a well-known MLM company with a not so good reputation. Sorry, not nit-picking, just found it funny.

It's interesting because living in Australia, I don't see Amazon in the results very often, but it never took off the way it has elsewhere. Sometimes I'm thankful for the dreaded 'Australia tax' and horrendous shipping fees we pay here.

Definitely working on social connections. I logged into Pinterest a few days ago to find I have quite a following, despite not using my account. Something to work on, along with other SM. I've completely given up on Google. If you're not a brand, you're nothing.
9:39 am on July 23, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@notriddle ... "don't be stupid" and my (last 6 years mantra) "don't do something stupid" are two different things, but probably come from the same hard facts that so many SEO techniques of old are no longer valid, especially the concept of buying back links, etc. :)

While domain names are still top level, we have too many nonsense sounding domains that are world beaters.

There are not easy answers. But we can keep refining what has been done and get closer to perfection!
5:24 am on July 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I believe SEO is not an easy task nowadays, lots of work to do and still, we can not sure about best results due to Google algorithm changes. Just work continuously as it is called a long term process.
8:12 am on July 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Content is the king in seo world. A site with good content could rank easier as compared to the one with weak content . No doubt a site with weak content could rank but it could take time and quality backlinks.
8:43 am on July 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Sehajpreet ... So happy to have you join Webmasterworld!
12:27 am on July 26, 2019 (gmt 0)

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i feel organic seo is much better than google adwords for business. Almost giving up on google adwords as there are no leads just wasting $1k each day for nothing. Work on your page content do some good backlinks, rank organically which is much better.
1:30 am on July 26, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@devncp ... Thanks for joining Webmasterworld! Always happy to see new faces!
7:31 pm on Aug 5, 2019 (gmt 0)

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This is an interesting topic to discuss on. Well, we all know that SEO has changed a lot but one good thing that it always gave priority to the quality may it be content or the backlinks.

Giving up on the SEO anyways comes in the scenario when a website hasn't generated the traffic or hasn't reached the first page of Google. And if the same has happened with the person performing SEO for more than 2 years than he might he might have not generated enough good content on the website as compared to the competitors. Good content will never let down a website in any aspects.

Quantity does matter when your competitors are generating more as compared to you. So, giving up on SEO can be so someone with small timelines of 1 year or so.

"Ranking on Google has become difficult but not impossible".
8:46 pm on Aug 5, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@TerranceM ... Welcome to Webmasterworld! Discussing SEO will be around for a long time. :)
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