Somewhat recently JC Penny, the over 100 year old department store, found itself caught up in what has been described as the most ambitious ‘black hat’ SEO scheme ever perpetrated against Google. As reported by the New York Times, JC Penney was appearing either as first or a leading result for items which it is known for selling, even at times beating out the sites of the manufacturers of those very items (such as Samsonite as listed in the New York Times article). This SEO scheme lasted for several months, even through the Christmas season. I do not think anyone would argue that JC Penny’s obviously reaped a huge benefit in revenues as a result of this campaign, though most would similarly argue that it was an extremely short sighted ploy given the company’s over 100 year history.
As a case study it was interesting to read of some of the tactics utilized by the contractor hired by JC Penny (who still on their website celebrates their achievements for the department store).
SEO is a process achieved in two phases. First, and optimization of website coding, tagging, and layout that increases the efficiency in which the search engines will crawl and comprehend the offerings of the website. Secondly, is the process of creating relevant links returning to the website from outside sites which serve to increase the site’s authority. The latter is the portion which SEO contractors often generate their residual revenues, and which generate the most potential conflict for the client.
Recently we encountered a customer whom had spent $2500 a month on search engine opimization services that generated over 20,000 back-links to their website. Initially there was a measured improvement, but in the end they were penalized for some tactics employed by there contractor.
A newer age is dawning in the art of SEO that I like to call NEO-SEO. Google continues to tinker with their algorithms to better ensure quality websites rise to the top. We find that after constructing a well programmed and functional website that chasing algorithms quickly diminishes the returns in your marketing dollars. This new age of SEO will put greater focus on content that better engages your audience, versus keyword density and back links.
Leveraging the power of the social web and the strategy of hyper-niching content, we work with our customers to diligently curate, create, and syndicate relevant content for their web presence. It is our belief and practice that a focus on relevant content, social syndication, and optimized social search results not only in a greater organic optimization, but also provides value that we find essential for our clients website visitors. Our strategy puts the intended audience ahead of the algorithm. Where previous, and now revealed as more risky than ever, techniques focused on typically low ranking links off-site that provided little or no value to visitors, we find this new approach to promote more conversation with the end user, resulting in greater relation and conversions per visits.
What have been your experiences with search optimization?
Disclosure: This post was originally authored for my blog hosted at MarketSmall.net and has been reposted here for the sake of archiving on my personal blog.