The most important point we try to hammer home to potential clients is that you can’t fool the nerds at Google. Everything you do, both on and off your site, should be working toward the end goal of making your user experience awesome… not trying to fool Google into placing you higher on search results pages.
During the Summer of 2014 I had a restaurant equipment supply company contact me about doing their SEO and helping them with their website. I knew when I met with the client it might be a little bit of a challenge but he seemed like a good guy, the website was built using wordpress and I figured I could help. I should have known when he didn’t want to have anything to do with a contract that it might not be that good of a deal for me. After talking to him for a while I realized he seemed to have a sense of what it took to rank well in Google (5 years ago). Here is when I should have made a stand and tried to correct him about his failing strategies. Prior to my being involved he had some other people from out the country help him with optimization and he seemed very disappointed with them. He understood that his website had some articles on it that were written for SEO purposes. The articles were nothing special but they were keyword oriented, after going through the site I found that the spammy SEO articles were the primary articles on the site. The site was mostly image oriented and even the descriptions for the for sale items didn’t add much to the overall text of the website or user experience. The owner of the company was convinced all I had to do was add pictures of new items to the website and rewrite the articles with different locations and he would be back to ranking well in google.
When I started to spend more time on original articles, building his Social Media exposure and other SEO strategies like back-linking rather than adding the new images to his site, he became unhappy. I know he wanted the Google rankings to improve but he thought that would be done by nothing more than copying one of the existing articles, replacing the location keywords and adding it back as a new article to the site. He didn’t seem to understand the importance of good valuable content.
He didn’t want to continue with my services because he was convinced he knew what needed to be done and wanted me to spend more time adding pictures and videos to the website. I tried explaining to him in order to rank well it wasn’t as simple as rewriting an poorly written article and changing the locations (which worked for him years ago).
It has been a few months and I recently checked the site in Google and it is ranking better now. It seems my methods worked, back-linking and increasing Social Media signals helped like I thought it would.
Like the article from brickmarketing implies, you can’t fool the Google guys. Good content and a good user experience is what google wants to show. You can’t get around it. Content was king when I started doing SEO work in 2000 and it is still just as important now.