When an SEO company tells you they'll rocket you up the rankings lickety-split — it isn't hard to start visualising the dollars rolling in and be tempted to press the 'go' button. After all, a rapid ROI has to be a good thing, right?
However, as GoCompare.com discovered, there is a lot of difference in quality when it comes to SEO services, and adopting a 'get rich quick' strategy may well end in tears.
Here's how their SEO disaster unfolded...
GoCompare.com is a UK site that compares rates for car insurance. After good, solid SEO work over a period of time, it ranked number one on Google for the coveted term: "car insurance".
This meant that 17.49% of people searching on that term visited the site. As you can appreciate, this amounted to a huge volume of traffic as "car insurance" is a very popular search term.
On January 28th, 2011, GoCompare.com lost its coveted number one ranking overnight.
Google's algorithm had detected a dubious strategy for generating backlinks (inbound linking) to the site. It seemed that, GoCompare.com had overused the pay-per-blog methodology, which provides links to a site for a fee.
And after GoCompare.com's dodgy SEO was found out...
From it's profitable number one position, it plummeted to obscurity — on the seventh Google search page.
The results were disastrous. Traffic was slashed by 87%! Instead of 17.49%, only 2.31% of people searching for "car insurance" went to the site. As well as this painful drop, there was the added impact of the gains made by GoCompare.com's competitors. They enjoyed an increase of as much as 77%.
It is perfectly understandable that Google would pick this up and act on it.
In it's free, 'editorial' results, (as opposed to the paid AdWords section), Google wants to serve up sites that have a GENUINE trust and authority. An indicator of trust is the number or other websites that link back to your site. When a site PAYS for inbound links, it isn't a true portrayal of the site's standing in the Internet community. It means your site is not ranking highly because you offer quality content on the particular topic, but because you paid some other sites to link to you.
Be careful with your search engine optimisation strategy!
When an SEO company offers to catapult your site right to the top of the search engine rankings in a short time, they may well be going to use unethical practices — and Google is catching up fast.
Quality SEO takes time, as does anything else that's worthwhile. It is a long term investment, and needs to be treated as such.
At Crockford Carlisle, our approach is to build links in a natural manner, and to develop strong, SEO friendly content on your site that delivers genuine value for people who find it. Our approach ensures steady success in the relative short term AND for years to come.