SEO Is Not Dead. It’s Alive and Well, and I’ll Prove It!

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Many gurus say SEO is dead.  I’m here to tell you that SEO is not dead. In fact, I am going to prove to you that SEO is alive and well.  This is very good news if you are a serious online business builder who is willing to work, publish content on a consistent basis and play by Google’s “Golden Rules.”

The important point you need to keep in mind is that the game has changed. The days of being able to manipulate Google are gone. Yes, you can trick Google into giving your site a Page One ranking.  But in most cases this quick ride to Page One is temporary and your rankings will not stick.  And in many instances your search traffic will completely disappear and you’ll be in the Google doghouse for a very, very long time.

Manipulating Google Is Not A Strategy.  It’s A Death Sentence For Your Business!

Let me tell you something that most so-called SEO Experts do not want you to hear.  Gaming and tricking your way to Page One of Google is not a viable, long-term success strategy.  Using gray hat and black hat search engine optimization strategies is no way to build a long-term, lasting online business.

Let me give you an example to illustrate this point.

Recently I read a post in a private membership site where a member was talking about the success he is having with affiliate marketing.  He stated that he is building review sites for various products and he is using black hat SEO strategies to rank in Google for the product name.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  He said that some of his sites have been penalized by Google and he has been forced to rebuild these sites on new domains.  He went on to say that more than 70% of his revenue is coming from just one affiliate offer on just one site.

Think about that for a minute.   Approximately 70% of his revenue is coming from one site that has been built using black hat SEO strategies — the same black hat strategies that caused several of his other sites to get banned by Google.  Yes, this guy is making money.  However, he is not building a business that will experience long-term success.  He is skating on very thin ice and as soon as Google slaps this profitable site, 70% of his income will be gone literally overnight.

I’m telling you – black hat and gray hat SEO is no way to build a long-term, successful web business.  You can certainly “make money” by doing this.  But if you want your business to experience success for many years to come, this is not a winning strategy.

Winning The SEO Game:  “You Must Build Authority” & Think Long-Term.”

Recently, I attended the Traffic & Conversion Summit in San Diego (Note: it was an excellent event and I highly recommend that you attend the 2015 T&C Summit next January).  This is a high-level event that attracts more than 2,000 serious online marketers and entrepreneurs.  While at Traffic & Conversion I had the opportunity to speak to a few search marketers who have moved away from SEO and they are now working different business models.  Like many others, they have given up on SEO because Google has made it, in their opinion, too difficult to build a profitable business on the back of search engine optimization.

The bottom line is that the shortcuts and the automated tools they were using to manipulate Google were no longer working, and they got to the point where they were running out of options.

With so many marketers moving away from search, I believe now is a great time to get into search marketing.  I believe this is true primarily because the playing field has been leveled.  The black hat marketers who manipulated their way to Page One no longer have the advantage they possessed just a year or two ago.

I am not going to say we are in a Golden Age of SEO.  But I do believe there is a ton of opportunity in SEO at this very moment for those who want to build “Authority” –  for those who are willing to consistently publish content that adds value to the marketplace.

Many of the marketers who left search have done so because they wanted quick rankings and easy money, and they have no interest in doing the work it takes to build authority.  They want to use black hat linking strategies and automated software to get fast rankings — and they do not want to invest the time and energy it takes to publish original content and add value on a daily basis.  Building an authority site takes work, it takes time and it takes patience.  And quite frankly, most online marketers have no interest in doing this.

Many of these marketers say they moved away from search because Google has made it too difficult to win at SEO.  I disagree.  You can still win at SEO.  But you just have to be willing to produce great content that adds value and you have to think of SEO as a “long-term play.”

How Neil Patel Doubled His Blog Traffic With White Hat SEO Strategies.

While I was at the Traffic & Conversion Summit Neil Patel gave a terrific presentation on how he has built his blog at KissMetrics.com to over 600,000 visitors a month.  While I am not able to go into detail about Neil’s presentation because of a non-disclosure agreement that I signed, I believe I can share something that Neil said that relates directly to our discussion on how “SEO Is Not Dead.”

According to Neil, his blog at Kiss Metrics was doing well, but he knew it could do better.  In an effort to see how he could improve his blog, Neil decided to survey his readers and he asked them what was missing from the blog.  The majority of his responded by saying they wanted to see more in-depth content on the subjects he was writing about.

After conducting the survey, Neil Patel decided to give his readers what they wanted.  The Kiss Metrics blog is about analytics, marketing and testing — and much of this material cannot be adequately covered in a 600 word post.  As a result, Neil began creating longer posts and his average post went from 600 words to 1700 words.

By going deeper into each post, Neil was able to create content that had more “value.”  According to Neil, these longer and more detailed posts resulted in his readers sharing his content on the social networks at a much higher rate.  More webmasters started linking to his content (and his blog) and his search engine rankings dramatically improved.  And his traffic skyrocketed! 

For a deeper explanation of how content marketing impacts search rankings, Neil recently made a post on his Quick Sprout marketing blog that goes into a deeper discussion on this subject.  The title of the post is “How Content Marketing Affects Search Rankings.”  I highly recommend you read this article.

Matthew Woodward’s White Hat SEO Experiment.

Here’s another example of how a web entrepreneur built a very successful blog (and business) by delivering great content on a consistent basis and by implementing only white hat SEO strategies.  The blog is MatthewWoodward.co.uk.

If you are unfamiliar with Matthew Woodward, he started this SEO blog in 2012 as an “experiment.”  He wanted to see if he could build a successful blog by publishing great content while doing “NO” link building.  Matthew detailed his experiment in this post titled “The Zero Link Building Experiment — How To Rank A Site Without Building Links.”

His results have been remarkable.  According to the free SEO tool at WebMeUp.com, Matthew now has over 10,000 backlinks from 655 separate domains that are linking to his site.

And according to Matthew’s own traffic stats that he posted to his site in this January Income, Growth & Traffic Report, his blog received 38,639 visitors in January of 2014 — and Google accounted for 35,522 of the visitors.

Needless to say, Matthew Woodward has been able to build a very successful blog and business on the back of Google search traffic by producing great content that adds value to the marketplace — and he did it with no link building on his part.

Despite what bloggers link Neil Patel and Matthew Woodward have been able to achieve, there are many critics of the “Authority Blog” business model and the practice of following “White Hat” SEO strategies.  And the most repeated excuse that I continue to hear is the following:  “Just because you publish great content doesn’t guarantee that it is going to be shared and it doesn’t guarantee that it will rank in Google.”

With that limiting mindset, why even start a business?

Folks, there are no guarantees in life and there are no guarantees in building a business.  We are entrepreneurs and we take risks.  That is what separates us from those who don’t have the guts to step into the unknown and those who don’t have the courage to bet on their own  ideas.

Creating great content does not guarantee you anything in regard to SEO.  But it places the odds of success heavily in your favor.

If you give me two marketers, one who publishes outstanding content on a consistent basis and the other who publishes shit content — I’ll bet on the guy (or gal) who publishes great stuff every time.

The marketer who publishes crap may be able to use some black hat linking strategies to win in the short-term.  But that is not a winning long-term strategy and that is definitely not how I plan to build Web Business Research.

You see, I am not a “short-term” player.  I’m in this game for the long-haul.  I plan on playing in this market for the next 20+ years.  I’m looking to build authority — and I’m looking to capitalize on that authority for the next 20 to 30 years.

This is a long-term play.  That is why I am patient and that is why I don’t look for quick rankings with black hat strategies that will get me banned by Google for a very long time.

WebBusinessResearch.com — An Ongoing Case Study On White Hat SEO.

To close this post I want to say that I have big plans for WebBusinessResearch.com in 2014.  One of my primary goals in 2014 is to prove that I can build a successful and thriving online business with a significant portion of my traffic coming from search.  I believe this can be accomplished by publishing content on a consistent basis that adds value to the marketplace and helps the readers of this blog discover new online business building strategies.

Over the next month I will begin to prove this point in two different ways.  First of all, in the next couple days I will be publishing a post to this blog that shares what I learned about SEO after taking a 120 day sabbatical from blogging.  I looked at my rankings before the sabbatical and then I analyzed my rankings after the sabbatical. And my biggest takeaway is that I am more convinced than ever that I can dominate search for just about any term I want in the internet marketing space.

Also, during the next month I will be performing a case study on “How SEO Is Impacted By 30 Straight Days Of Blogging.”  I am of the belief that you can improve your rankings simply by adding content to your site on a consistent basis.  But I want to “TEST” this theory and over the next 30 days I hope to be able to use this case study as proof that “SEO Is Not Dead.”

This case study will be pure white hat SEO.  I will publish content to this blog on a daily basis and I will do some internal linking where it is appropriate.  But I will not do any external link building to this site.

It’s All About Creating Value Over The Course of Time.

To close this post I want to leave you with the following quote:

“99% of great bloggers are not awesome on Day One.  Their awesomeness is the accumulation of the value they create over time.” — Darren Rowse, Problogger.net

I completely agree with this quote from Darren Rowse.  The value you create is the accumulation of the work you do (and the content you publish) over time.

Google is going to reward you for creating value.  But it doesn’t happen over night.  It takes time and that is a major problem for a great number of people who say they want build an online business.

The bottom line is that most people do not want to put in the work and they do not want to dedicate the time that it takes to create a web asset that has great value.  But this is good news for “YOU” — because if you have the desire and if you are willing to dedicate the time it takes to publish content on a consistent basis, you have an incredible business opportunity in front of you.

I mentioned above that Web Business Research is a “long-term” play for me.  Over the next few years I fully intend to publish a tremendous content that will add great value to the marketplace.   And in the process I will build a web asset that will have authority in the eyes of Google and will rank in search for long time to come.

If you have the desire to do the same, I want to encourage you to subscribe to Web Business Research and “Study” the growth of this blog in the months and years ahead.  It is my full intent to turn this blog into an ongoing case study in “White Hat SEO.”  And it is my hope that this ongoing “SEO Case Study” will benefit those of you who want to create a successful web business that will grow in authority every day and remain profitable for many years to come.

To your “lasting” success.

Jon Poland

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