The False Promise of SEO

Roughly once per week, I receive an email from someone promising first page results on Google, for little money and even less work. Don’t buy the false promise of SEO!

Ranking on the first page of Google requires a solid SEO strategy, great content, social media integration, and sometimes even a little luck. Gone are the old days of buying backlinks, keyword stuffing and other black hat methods that used to work so well. Ranking well on Google requires developing your online brand, creating fresh, meaningful content for your product or service, as well a having a website that is responsive so that will fit to any device (with more people using smartphones, being responsive is a must!).

It’s easy to rank well on Google for obscure, never-sought after keywords with zero competition, which I am sure is what the random email above addressed to me intend to promote. What isn’t so easy is scoring well on keywords meaningful to your business and your brand.

The false promise of SEO

No one can guarantee first page rankings without being a little misleading. Don’t fall for the false promise of SEO.

With enough money and an army of support behind you, scoring on the first page of Google for an in-demand, high value keyword is possible. But how many small businesses have that kind of money or time? Moreover, if and when you achieve this result, how hard will be be to stay on the first page when all of your competitors are working hard to replace you in the rankings? While a keyword that has 50,000 local searches a month is desirable, if it is highly competitive it will be hard to get on and stay on the first page of results.

Enter the undervalued keywords. These keywords are those that have a reasonable amount of local searches per month, and are of low competition. While there are many other factors, these two factors are the starting point. Instead of attempting to own the ranking for a highly competitive keyword generating 50,000 local searches per month, why not have 10 undervalued keywords related to your business, each of which having 5,000 local searches per month? The end result is the same, with less competition, and a lower risk to your keyword strategy. While this isn’t the only factor in determining undervalued keywords, it’s the starting point.

A realistic SEO statement goes something like this: “For a set of undervalued keywords directly related to your business or brand, along with an intelligent, methodical approach, I/we can help you score well on Google.” Of course, there is more to this, including social media, info graphics, etc., but you get the idea.