The older I become the more I have realized that good old fashioned common sense isn’t that common. In the days when I was running several service based businesses I had to deal with human resources, and over and over again, I found that it was terribly lacking in “resources.” It seems that a generation or two has completely lost their ability to understand basic principles about life, and about business in general.
Part of my job is writing optimized content for clients. Understanding the changes that Google makes to their algorithms and how this affects rankings is very interesting to me. It has a direct impact on how I go about doing my job.
Google’s latest round of updates were to target spammy backlinks, and over optimizing on-page anchor text and the like. These updates from Google continue to come out and hit websites that practice bad techniques for rankings.
Most, if not all of the regular SEO bloggers are out there screaming that great content requires common sense and to use that common sense in their writing styles in order to avoid Google’s penalties. Yet, so many people continue to seek out the next “quick fix.”
Personally, I think it is a symptom of our collective “get rich quick” culture that promotes results at any cost, and clients requesting results that can’t occur in the time they they are requesting without some serious black hat (Think Stupid) options. A website must be considered, from its inception, as a child. Just as a child learns and grows and becomes an adult, so must a website. That means you don’t create a website and then keep on changing the hell out of it. It means that you have done your homework and laid a great foundation and have worked on developing great content and relationships rather than spending your time developing spammy “easy” backlinks and text that was engineered for a search engine rather than a human.
Great content isn’t always covered in pictures, and it isn’t always going to be linked to all of the time. Great content serves a specific purpose. Sometimes only a few people will find it, sometimes a large majority will see it and link to it. Just take a look at some of the blogs that you follow. Some of them have a huge readership and some of them have very little. Common sense tells you that if you consistently put out great content, then, over time, you will see an increase in readership, and with that a greater influence over that readership.
Once a decent size following has occurred, you will have a platform for taking your great content viral. There is a process, just as there is with anything you do in life and in business. This process has many steps and you can’t simply pick and choose what steps you want to take. You start with ‘A’ and you go, in order, until you hit ‘Z.’ Then you rinse and repeat.
Sometimes people get lucky and their content goes viral quickly. That’s great and it is a direct result of the vast amount of connected social media channels that exist. However, isn’t the norm. You don’t expect to win the lottery and you don’t expect your content to always go viral.
You keep on working hard at creating great content, building up good relationships online, and keep your nose to the grindstone. In time, the rankings will come and a larger audience will be acquired. But there isn’t any shortcut. Great content requires common sense, period.
If you build a house with poor materials and shoddy workmanship, then don’t be surprised when it comes crashing on your head. In the same way, if you publish bad content, build links that are spammy, try to “game” the system through black hat techniques and, in short, try to always take the short cut, then don’t be surprised when you, or your clients sites are on page 50 after another update. Its only a matter of time.
As humans we were created to build and to create. Take care to create things that will last and will have a positive impact on the society at large. It’s hard work, but it’s honest work, and you can sleep at night without worrying.
If you don’t have a Marketing Plan then you will never reach your goal. It’s that simple. Many people put together marketing plans with little or no thought simply because, “it’s what you are supposed to do,” but these plans are key to the success and failure of many businesses. The best way of looking at the task of writing a marketing plan is to break it down into two simple categories: goals and benchmarks.
Once you have sat down for a while, thought for many hours, and written out the goals you want your business to achieve, then you will have the foundation of your marketing plan. After this first step, you will have to analyze the many different avenues that can be explored to attain these goals (benchmarks) and then put them in writing see which paths offer the greatest reward for the least amount of risk.
After many years of meeting with clients, the most common failing I have found is that they continue to try to move forward without proper planning. They have no clear vision, and as a result, everything suffers. I am not going to get too much into the technical aspects of writing a report, as many templates abound. (I have put two of them here that can be used as loose guidelines.) Suffice it to say that writing a good Marketing Plan is only achieved through careful thought and thorough analysis of the environment that surrounds the particular business that you are in.