Everybody and their mom knows SEO—or so they say.
How many supposed SEO experts have promised you a ranking on page one within a week? Never mind the fact that they’ll probably use keyword stuffing, black-hat SEO tactics, duplicate content, link building campaigns, and similar strategies that are all highly frowned upon.
Heck, even Google gives out some shoddy SEO advice from time to time, at least according to columnist Nate Dame. In a recent article published on SearchEngineLand.com, Dame gives an honest assessment of Google’s recommendations when hiring an SEO company, and accurately notes that Google is a business (just like you), so it’s important to be aware that they are going to act in a manner then benefits them first.
Now, this isn’t to say that an excellent SEO strategy involves completely ignoring Google’s best SEO practice statements, but simply, that a quality SEO business is going to take their advice with a grain of salt while still making informed decisions based on experience, up-to-date information, and experimentation.
So what should we consider from Dame’s article? Quite a bit…
#1. Nobody really sees the end of the SEO journey.
The internet is alive and evolving. What worked just last year, in terms of SEO marketing practices, won’t necessarily have the same impact this year. In other words, nobody really sees the end of the road, and adjustments have to be made accordingly.
The good folks at Google are smart enough to recognize, this as well, which means even they change features and services when things aren’t working like they expected.
For instance, Dame comments on a Google assertion from 2016 that said the search engine company was going to start penalizing sites for having intrusive interstitials. Fair enough. Except it hasn’t actually happened.
Suffice to say, they’re either waiting for some reason, or they simply changed their priorities.
Understandably, Google’s prerogatives are Google’s prerogatives, and sometimes your SEO choices have to be your SEO choices. Be informed and make decisions using a wide field of sources and expert information—don’t feel obliged to only abide by what Google says.
And if you’re running business, you have to be willing to hire an SEO company that isn’t afraid to take chances and follow what they know to be right. Plus, everybody loves a rebel. (And sometimes the rebel does it just right.)
#2. Google doesn’t always tells us the entire truth.
Is Google becoming a teenager who only tells half-truths? Maybe.
Google Analytics and Search Console are still exceedingly valuable tools when it comes to better understanding data to help you make informed SEO decisions. But be aware that Google has gotten into a habit of providing incomplete data.
Dame refers to a study published on Moz that found some inconsistencies in the manner in which Google Search Console worked, with author Russ Jones stating, “Google Search Console provides a great deal of invaluable data…[however] we should remain skeptical of this data, like any data source, and continue to test it for both internal and external validity.”
Ideally, your SEO company is using a variation of analytics tools and resources to ensure that they are obtaining the most pertinent data to make the best choices for your site. (Some third-party SEO tools can be found here).
Or we can consider it like this. If Google is willing to help us to see half of the picture, as an SEO company, we need to have the skills and gumption to develop the other half of the image for our clients. That is what a solid partner would do at least.
Is your SEO partner doing this for you?
#3. Sorry to break the news but…Google is a business.
Any digital marketing firm worth their chops knows that UX is the goal. Google does an excellent job of reminding those of us in the SEO world that their updates and decisions are based on the seemingly big-hearted goal of giving the people what they want—websites that are easy (and dare we say fun) to use.
Doesn’t the thought of such a loving search engine company just warm your heart? Well, just as a friendly reminder (and it’s no knock on Google) but they are a for-profit company.
It’s no secret that Google is the internet behemoth. In 2016, the company was expected to take in 11.3% of the market share, and in the first quarter of 2015, took in a whopping $17.3 billion with $15.5 billion coming from advertising sales.
Google’s paid ad space is gaining a bigger portion of real estate on search results pages, and are the advertisements are beginning to harm organic search results (i.e. businesses like yours). There’s also an aesthetic change to the labels, making them look more like earned results rather than what they really are—ads.
From organic page one results being reduced from 10 links to a current average of 8.5, and Google services overtaking previously ranked travel and shopping sites, to Google carousels resulting in users seeing more ads, it’s a bit of an eye opener to recognize that not everything Google recommends (or does) is in your website’s best interest.
Of course, this all stems from the realization that Google is a business and has the right to act in the manner that best implements its business model. Thus, when working with SEO company, they should bear in mind that Google’s recommendations should be deservedly noted—but not blindly followed.
#4. Google is still king and SEO is alive and breathing.
We’ve said it before, SEO is not dead. And Google is still the place to be seen.
The fact remains that Google search queries see an average of 40,000 searches per second. And if you ask around, Google is seeing an estimated 1.2 to 2 TRILLION searches per year worldwide (Google hasn’t given an official count themselves just yet). So don’t quit Google just yet.
When it’s all said in done, and your company is looking to hire an SEO expert, you need to do ensure that they are capable of implementing up-to-date SEO strategies that can keep you competitive and ranking.
If it’s a forward thinking digital marketing strategy, you might not always see everything align perfectly with Google recommendations, but that’s ok.
Trailblazers don’t just follow leaders blindly. They research, they dedicate time, they work furiously, and they innovate. They recognize that UX drives SEO and SEO drives sales.
If you’re looking for SEO experts that know all about Google, and then some, then look no further than Cobalt Digital Marketing. Our team of SEO experts, digital marketers, content curators, social media butterflies, and business strategist know what you need and how to get there.