I know that some marketing managers believe that being removed from the Google results is something which happens only to websites engaged in dodgy dealings. It’s not something which need concern proper businesses, right? Er …wrong. In fact, ever since BMW tripped the Google switch back in 2006, businesses of perfectly good standing have been unceremoniously dumped from the Google results without warning.
A new example appeared on the David Naylor blog last week, this time a major firm of solicitors. According to the author, Irwin Mitchell’s external link profile (which is almost certainly the cause of the ban) includes articles which look like they’ve been paid for, “guest posts” on blogs which look like they’ve been placed just for the links in the text, and what appears to be “comment spam”. All or any of these could be the cause of the Google ban, almost certainly in conjunction of an unnatural volume of instances of each.
What’s worrying is that these practices may have been recommended as a matter of course by all but the most puritanical “SEO consultants” in the past. I’ve noticed recently a number of search results pages for generic product types where a company which has held the top spot for years has just disappeared. I don’t have the time to investigate whether they’ve just fallen away a bit or have been thrown out of the results completely, but it could well be the latter. I hope none of you are in similar danger.
Read the latest story in Irwin Mitchell Suffer Google Whiplash As Google Penalty Knocks Them Out of Index.
If any of you read more around the subject of search engine optimisation than this blog (and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it), you’ll doubtless have seen articles such as this one on the David Naylor blog which discuss how random and frustrating SEO is becoming. And it’s true. So why do I continue to encourage all of you to plough the traditional furrow of building a well-tagged website and getting links to it? Because so few websites in the B2B arena do this basic stuff even remotely properly, that’s why. There’s all sorts of nonsense going on in the hyper-competitive areas where the top SEO consultants work, and I don’t envy them having to deal with it all. But for the rest of us, with online marketing budgets lucky to make it into the tens of thousands of pounds annually, never mind daily, just concentrate on the simple things that we discuss here. I’ve seen some amazing results even in the past year.
A nice rant on the David Naylor blog has a go at the companies who waste what must be millions of pounds every year on worthless efforts to improve their position in Google. You Get What You Pay For With SEO, Just Like With Everything Else categorises the folks who will gladly relieve you of marketing budget in exchange for nothing, and trust me, there are a lot of them out there. You probably get calls from them every week.
There are some great search engine optimisation (SEO) consultants, who can justify their fees, but don’t expect the fees to be a few hundred pounds a month. To do a proper job is going to require a lot of work, and you need to budget well into five figures. Now, if you understand what increased presence in Google can deliver, you’ll also realise that such a significant investment can be worthwhile, but it’s still a step too far for most small or medium sized industrial and scientific companies. That’s also why we don’t offer SEO services here at BMON, even though we’re regularly asked, because we know we couldn’t do a decent job for the budgets available to the sort of companies we like to work with. Others have no such consciences, it would appear.