SEO is a Business: Just Focus On What You Can Change

SEO is a Business: Just Focus On What You Can Change

2nd May 2012

Dearest SEOs, this is not a rant per say but more a sigh of exasperation. It’s also not aimed at one person, group of people or industry alone. However… I am starting to feel blue, and stay blue, with all the endless ranting, raving, negativity and well even ‘whining’ that seems to abound these days. (Or maybe it’s just the constant rainy downpour I’ve been under for the last 2 weeks – can’t quite figure out which).

Between panda, penguin, social signals, algorithmic ‘tweaks’, WMT warnings, Search Plus Your World, (not provided), random ranking drops, delving into the world of financial comparison and all the other stunts Google has pulled in the last six months (not to mention fun privacy laws popping up), I get where the ranting comes from. I do. And yet I’m also a little sick of it.

At the end of the day, we’re all in business. What we need to do is adapt, learn, have a mini rant and move and focus on the ££/$$/€€. There are a few facts which cannot be denied people. Some seem to be forgetting them.

1) Google does not do things to ‘help’ people!

Like duh. I’m not saying this as a negative point, unlike many. I just mean it as a simple statement of fact. It is a company. A profit-Head against a brick wall
making, near monopolistic company. When changes are made, it is not going to be because lil’ Jimmy complained about poor quality SERPs on his personal blog. Nor is Google doing it out of spite because Jimmy wrote about them on his blog. Does everyone need to get so personal?! It is about making money, planning for the future profitability of the company, keeping a competitive edge and maintaining an all-powerful position. If you were CEO of Google, you might not be too different.  Panda may have cleaned up the SERPs, I’d say positive tick. Penguin is looking decidely more negative towards the world of SEO. At the end of the day, it’s still just all about the money.

2)  Link building is also all about the money

SEOs may love what they do but they don’t do it for the love of it. We want to get those number one rankings because we want the money. I don’t condone endless spamtastic efforts because it makes the world wide web an uglier place. Then again, if it works and it brings home the bacon…well. I can see the argument. It’s a tough life being whiter than white all day everyday. I like to be openly atheistic about black vs white, and not get into pointless heated arguments about it. But the point is, paid links, article marketing and all their baby brothers have had a long-term place in the world of link building because they have worked. Now they are being clamped down on, people using those techniques may need to move on. The point is, stop complaining about it and just get on with it!  Some people seem to spend so much time judging others, I wonder how they actually get any link building done.

3) Common Sense is not expertise

This may seem a little ironic considering there is zero ‘expert’ advice in this particular blog post. But I’ll push on with it regardless, sorry. ‘Experts!’ Stop telling us to create “great” content and that’s how to run a successful link building campaign. That is not helpful. I saw a tip about ‘how to create great infographics that will get shared’ the other day – “work with a great publisher”. Really? You think? How about you tell me who those “great publishers” are then! My point here is if the idea is that we all need to be a little whiter and we all need to improve the content that we put out there so Google loves us again, why don’t we actually do it productively? Let’s stop talking about “great”, “shareable”, “engaging” content and let’s get real. I know it’s a business, it doesn’t mean we have to quite go all the way to “blue sky”.

4) Focus on what you can change, not what you can’t

I’m one of those people who has always been a teeny tiny bit unlucky in life. If there’s a hot water boiler that can break, it’ll be mine. Quick 20 min rain shower? Always when I’ve just set off on my bike. If there’s one thing it’s taught me, it’s that there is little point in wasting time focusing on things you can’t change. To my mind, the changes being made within the industry should be treated  with this categorisation. Things you can change vs Things you can’t change.

I’ll give you an example – the (not provided) bullsh*t that Google has lumped us with is one of THE most frustrating things to happen to me since I started a working life. It’s pointless, it’s ridiculous, it doesn’t help anybody. It is just a thorn in everybody’s side. But there is nothing we can do about it. All the ranting and raving in the world is not going to change this fact. So we have to pick ourselves up, do the best we can to figure out what’s actually going on with our traffic and just DEAL.

On the other hand, with updates like panda (and to some extent penguin), Google are actively cracking down on common link building niches. We need to sit up, take notice, reassess and MAKE CHANGES. Not sit there complaining about how it’s ruined our rankings but not actually have a positive plan of action for how we’re going to work moving forward.


That’s me done (for now). I apologise that this post does not contain ‘practical’ news or advice. However I like to think that a gentle reminder that moaning less and doing more is usually pretty productive (and profitable) is still useful SEO advice!

Images courtesy of Peter Hudspith and Photobucket


Written By
Originally from the UK via France and Malaysia, Annabel Hodges is a digital marketer with long experience in the industry now residing in Sydney. She heads up the Digital Marketing at Next Commerce, working across an array of products, channels and brands.
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