Sheepy - bouncingWhere’s the beef?

A rash of dealers as of late have been paying SEO vendors for better search rankings so they can get more traffic.  These SEO firms sell the myth that with some special words in some special places, along with their voodoo magic, they can get you higher search engine rankings. These sites are commonly called “over optimized” websites because they rank higher than normal with no real content.

Back in March, Google announced that they were planning to apply a penalty to websites that are over optimized.

It turns out that Google doesn’t really like over optimized websites because they cheat the system in some ways.  It also creates an unlevel playing field for companies who concentrate on creating really good content for their visitors and therefore should rank higher.

The pogo stick

It’s called “pogo-sticking”.  That’s where a visitor sees a link in Google, clicks it, then immediately hits their back button because the site wasn’t what they were looking for.  Google can see this and is smartening up considerably in understanding why users pogo-stick. And apparently there’s quite the pogo-sticking party which occurs on sites that are over optimized.

Of course this is why the whole approach of dealers hiring SEO firms is completely bass-ackwards.  Even if dealers did have perfect SEO mojo on their website, visitors won’t see any great content on the site and they’ll bail anyhow.  But this didn’t seem to stop some dealers from paying thousands of dollars for “SEO-ing their websites” (whatever that means) in the last 12 months.

All for naught.

What does it mean to be over optimized?

It’s an easy check: websites rank high for relevant content.  If you’re ranking high on certain keywords but lack real content (i.e. a blog or other sources of information people want to read), or you’ve recently paid an SEO company for their special sauce, you might want to act fast. It’s unclear as to whether or not the penalty Google will apply will be permanent.

So you might want to reallocate those wasted SEO dollars into an industry specific marketing approach that produces real content for your visitors.  Yes, I’m afraid that means writing, community building and creating a place where visitors want to come back and visit.

The good news, however, is that if you invest the time and energy to do it right, your marketing engine will pay you back in the form of leads!

And who wouldn’t want more of those right now?