Of all of my readers, I most enjoy Natasha Robinson. Honestly, I think it’s the name…. Natasha… that exotic beauty from Rocky And BullWinkle. Natasha Fatale is one of those overly-managed “properties” in cartoon world, so no graphic here, but she is described by her “manager” Classic Media as follows:
Natasha Fatale, the female counterpart to Boris Badenow, is a former Miss Transylvania and gives a whole new meaning to the word “vamp”. Although much of her younger life remains a secret, there is substantial evidence that Natasha is the only child of Axis Sally and Count Dracula. Besides her work with the infamous baddie Boris Badenow, Natasha has also had previous stints as a model for Charles Adams and popping out of cakes at embalmer’s stag parties.
So when Natasha comments, I read it for all the wrong reasons. Anyway, Natasha commented yesterday :
In trying to explain to an engineer why knowing what to do with the pages that you already have indexed in Google is more important than having all of the pages to the site indexed in Google I started to explain to him that there is basic SEO which everyone can learn from any forum, Google’s webmaster guidelines, etc and there there is Strategic SEO.
and of course she is correct. Strategic SEO is not the same as technical SEO. In fact, as I suspect she is learning, “strategic SEO” is not SEO at all but competitive webmastering, which uses SEO tactics. The same is true for “optimized SEM” and the newer “social media optimization”. They are tactics, which must be executed within a plan that has goals and objectives. Competitive Webmastering, too, will someday cease to exist when business finally wakes up to the fact that the Internet is everything, and we will just refer to all this clever competitive stuff as “business” once again.
But what “that girl from marketing” said above was interesting to me not because of the mention of competitive webmastering, but because of what she was preaching to that poor engineer. It’s not about more pages indexed any more.
Sorry to throw yet another monkey wrench into your SEO business model, but if you are still working to get your client’s sites fully indexed in Google (or worse, still paying an SEO “firm” to get all of your pages indexed), I’m sorry to hear of your continued inability to get SEO and the web. It doesn’t matter so much how many of your pages are indexed, but it matters which of your pages are indexed and whether or not they are indexed such that they appear in the right SERPs for your business objectives. Google started trimming it’s inclusion long ago. It’s not interested in more millions any more. Google wants quality.
Here are a few more things that your SEO “firm” may not have told you :
5 6 Things Your SEO Firm May Not Have Told You
- Google figured out how to spider and index your dynamic pages long ago, including the duplicates, most of the the broken ones, and the ones buried deep in your CMS. You don’t need to change your URLs to get Google to spider and index your site. You may want to change your URLs for other reasons (that being based, of course, on a business strategy), but unless you’ve had strategic business planning meetings with your SEO, having your SEO convert your CMS to use “search engine friendly” URLs is probably not cost effective.
- Nobody knows your money terms. Nobody. Not you, and not your SEO. The list of search terms that produce best for your web site is dependent upon overall Internet traffic patterns, your specific industry trends and events, and culture. At any given moment, the value of search terms can be estimated, the currently-working search terms can be identified, and new candidates for productive search terms can be identified. But which terms produce can only be known from actual experience or testing. Every keyword list is dynamic, and keyword list management is major part of the ongoing SEO efforts.
- There is a new Supplemental Hell, and it’s called Zero Traffic Hell. Google is no longer labeling all of your low-value pages as “Supplemental”, but instead has decided to simply not refer visitors to those low value pages. So if you’re SEO firm is still showing you “see, it was in Supplemental before, but we pulled it out” then you probably need a new SEO firm. Check your logs. They are dying to tell you what your low value pages are.
- Less is More, Sometimes. If your SEO firm is still saying “more pages = more traffic” then you probably should hire a competitive webmaster consultant to check on your SEO consultant. I think of it like a freight train. There’s an “engineer” driving the train, and then there’s an “engineer” setting the track signals that enable the trains to go where they need to go, at the right times. Which engineer is driving the train? If your SEO is out there working to get your site to bring in traffic, who is setting the guidelines on exactly what traffic you actually want to garner? Your business needs traffic that does what you want it to do (e.g. buy something) and all other traffic is a cost for you, consuming bandwidth, occupying your SEO at an hourly rate, etc. Sometimes less is more. Google knows that.
- Sometimes it is smart to simply STOP. This is a tough one for both the SEO “firm” and the client to accept, so I don’t expect it to change soon. Sometimes, the best thing to do is stop and wait. Stop and monitor the signs of change. Stop and measure. That’s not free time, off-the-books, but part of good SEO. Think of it like creative time: when an artists dreams, it is productive work. But nobody likes to pay an artist for the time she is dreaming, and so artists are basically poor for the most part and suffer under a sponsorship model. SEO firms tend to average the effort over time to come up with a reasonable hourly rate for work, that covers the crunch time and the dream time. The parallels continue to be remarkable…. art critics/seo experts, art auctions/seo proposals, galleries/web design firms, etc etc etc. Anyway SEO is a creative endeavor more than a technical endeavor, even if your SEO firm doesn’t acknowledge that.
- SEO changes daily. Another tough one, because it basically means yesterday’s proposal needs another change order. Seriously, folks, if you hold your SEO to a fixed contract you will get just that - a fixed performance. There is simply no way to specify an SEO engagement, and so we have what we have today: a whole bunch of dysfunctional SEO firms. I’m not saying it’s kismet, but you are far better off challenging your SEO team to achieve a monthly business objective than challenging them to meet a specification for work. Hard to put that into a contract? Yes. Hard to know what matters and what doesn’t? Yes. That’s why I believe in strategic consulting, and that’s why I advise everyone who hires and SEO form to also hire an expensive, independent, capable competitive webmaster to keep an eye on the project and advise the business team on how to move on beyond the SEO work - in parallel. Not to work with the SEOs, but to work with the business team on the next steps, while keeping an eye on SEO progress from the business perspective. It’s the right way to do it, but almost nobody does it that way.