As many of you know, Google recently released a video outlining some of the basic questions you should ask an SEO company before hiring them.
Being informed as a buyer is important because it will allow you to better understand what you are hiring someone to do and the basic things they should be doing. Whenever you hear anything from Google though, you have to remember what its business model truly is and value the company's advice accordingly.
Would you hire an SEO company that would give you misleading information so they can earn more money from you?
Most of you wouldn't, but if you take Google's advice as the "gospel" about how SEO should be performed, you are doing just that. I am not sure if you know this or not, but Google is a pretty big company with a business model that involves making money from selling paid advertising on its search engine.
Google Makes Money Selling Ads
Yes, that's right.
Google is in the business of selling ads to make money. In order to sell ads, it needed to create a platform with a high perceived value to advertisers and that is exactly what Google did. Whenever you read literature put out by Google that says it wants to create a great user experience, that is completely true, its motive, however, is less crystal clear to some.
For just a few minutes, I am asking all of you to put away your white, gray, black or money hat SEO viewpoint and think like a business owner.
What Would You Do?
If you owned a platform and you wanted to sell ads on it, but you had a competitor (SEO companies) trying to sell ads on your platform for less, do you think that would hurt your ad selling business?
Of course, it would, especially if what the SEO company offered was a better value than your ads.
You see, the problem with SEO (for Google) is that you can generate a lot more traffic for less money. Not only can you generate more traffic for the same or less money, you are also very likely to enjoy higher conversion rates from organic traffic, none of which are great selling points for AdWords.
Why would I ever buy PPC ads?
The funny thing is, you need to buy PPC ads because SEO takes a long time to work (especially if you follow their guidelines exactly) and it turns out, it really won't save you much money because you now need to create endless amounts of content, be socially active, avoid any deliberate link building aimed at manipulating the search results, and oh yes, make sure the SEO you hire plays by all of the rules Google has created in order to (cough, cough) help your business take advantage of organic search.
Google is making changes that force small business owners to produce immaculate, long-form content, just to have a glimmer of hope that their site can one day enjoy some organic traffic. Google has openly condemned various types of link building, and it is actively trying to close loopholes that allow SEOs to take free traffic for their clients, keeping money out of AdWords. In some cases, Google releases an update that allows the company to effectively kill off a strategy that has been effective at manipulating its results. In many other cases, Google spreads fear and uses misinformation to scare people away from tactics that clearly work, like the use of private blog network (PBN) link building.
It is a near certainty that at least one person will comment from the white hat pedestal about how unsafe it is to violate any Google guidelines and how much safer the "pure white hat" methods are, but anyone who has been around long at all has seen more than a few businesses get caught in the crossfire and become collateral damage to Google updates, even if they never engaged in or paid someone to perform SEO on their behalf.
There are plenty of guidelines Google has created that really do help end-users, but there are also guidelines designed to hinder the ability of an SEO company to manipulate search results which is bad for business owners paying for SEO.
Google is a business and it is beneficial to stakeholders to create inefficiencies and doubt in the SEO process so that AdWords is viewed as the more favorable option, putting more money into its hands.
If you want a list of things that can be used to boost your rankings, check out the list of activities Google condemns and you may find a few. The best SEO companies are the ones that take the time to test what actually works and what doesn't, so that they can provide effective services that provide the greatest possible ROI for their clients.
As I said a few years back, SEO is like investing into stocks. Your goals, situation and risk tolerance should all be considered when choosing the best strategies to employ and on that note, the most recent Google video completely missed the mark.
What do you think?
Is Google really just looking out for the best interest of small business owners and fighting to build a safe haven where good things happen to good people, without effort? Tell us about it below.
About the Author
Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO, a Web design and marketing firm located in Franklin, TN. Travis and his team are equipped to handle any size SEO project and have helped numerous businesses to date build a rock solid online presence. When you are ready for more leads and sales, it is time to get #stellarized. Connect on Facebook or Twitter @theseoproz.