Had a buddy of mine call me up today in an East Coast rush.
“Dude, I need some SEO done quick and dirty.”
“Um, why?” I asked, now pissed that I turned down the volume on my first listening of Dizzie Gillespie: The Verve & Philips Small Group Sessions just to be pitched on spam backlinking.
“My client’s site dropped to page 2 for the desired keyword while the competitor jumped to #1 for the term. He hired some SEO guy who ranked it out of nowhere in a hurry.”
For starters, it’s never in a hurry. And if it is in a hurry without adding fresh content, someone was dirty. But I continued to listen.
“I need to get it to rank back on page one for a keyword. Can you do it? I need it done fast.”
“Dude,” I said, “In a post-Panda world, if you’re not doing white hat you’re going to get your ass kicked.”
“I can get someone else. I just wanted to throw business your way,” he hit back.
“Ok. Go ahead,” I said. “If Panda doesn’t get you, your competitors will turn you in.”
I left him a message on Skype saying I could do what he asked but I won’t guarantee anything and told him he needs to do an analysis of the site and competitors first.
“So,” he asked, “Why would you do an analysis first?”
“Because,” I said, “I have no idea what I’m getting into. Your issue could be simple. So, show me what you’ve got.”
“Ok. Talk to me.”
Glad I did. It took 5 minutes of looking to realize that some onsite SEO tactics are sorely lacking and that the site is getting outhustled by competitors. But if we didn’t look right away he could have contracted some money-hungry link broker to give them short term results before potentially burning the domain and getting a manual spam penalty.
I know that HGTV makes it look like that people pick their $500k homes based on window treatments, the surface of the counter tops and the number of sinks in the master bedroom, but the truth is the smart buyers look the house over with a fine-tooth comb to make sure the foundation is solid and doesn’t leak, that the electric is up to code, that the plumbing doesn’t leak…you know, the essentials.
Also, you don’t put an addition on your home without doing those same tests. Why? Because extra work on the home stresses the already existing structure. It brings everything else into stark relief.
The same goes with offsite SEO. When you start to work on backlinks, be it white hat or black hat, you start to draw more awareness for your site. Not only by the desired visitors but also by your competitors and the search engines. It will encourage deeper crawls of your website. This means you better make sure your website is clean of SEO Impurities. And your offsite SEO should be as clean as your mother’s kitchen floor. Because in a Post-Google Panda World and with the New Google Rat-on-Your-Competitors tool, well, as The Grateful Dead once sang:
“If the lightning don’t get you than the thunder will.”
Getting that trust back from Google takes months. The you have to pay people like me too much to have to unburn your corporate domain. And if your company is dependent on Google’s traffic, well, you don’t need a calcuator to know how much traffic you will lose if you are ranking page 5 for your own domain name because of a manual spam penalty.
Make sure you know the lay of the land for both your client and your competitors. The alternative is much worse. Trust me. If you don’t believe me, ask me about my summer of 2011.
After we talked about the methodology a little more and he went,
“Well, yeah. I’ve got a lot more of these if you want to do them. Let me call you back in an hour.”
To bad the east coast boy’s sense of time is the anthesis of a New York Minute. I love doing analyses.