Why Search Engine Marketing Is Way Overblown!
by Jack Humphrey
I just had a customer contact me with a question that reminded
me just how badly misinformed good people are about search
engines and their true role in marketing their websites.
The question was regarding an inability to find my site under a
certain keyword in Google. Then that my page rank for an inner
page of my site was only a 2. The customer said that based on
these two pieces of information he was wondering if I was really
doing well with my traffic generation system.
Now, the customer above is a good guy and very well-intentioned.
He is just badly misinformed about what role the search engines
have in my success. In fact, they have very little to do with
There are only 10-30 desirable spots open on any search engine
for any keyword search. After that it's all downhill.
If you are in a niche competing with people who have far greater
means than you to nab one of those precious few spots, you are
done before you start. Search engine marketing makes your
business potential seem so much smaller than it really is once
you realize there are much better ways to get traffic than
constantly vying for one out of 10-30 spots available on a
handful of engines!
When I started ignoring the search engines and started creating
sites for people, my business changed drastically. I started
getting more traffic and more sales because I basically put the
role of the search engines in its proper place. Ironically, my
search engine traffic started climbing when I made this change
Glad I didn't spend that $4,000 on search engine optimization
because they would have done what I already did myself!
Despite everything you have heard about the power of search
engine marketing, realize this: the sun does not rise and shine
everyday because of Google pagerank or any of their "earth
If you are playing the search engine game and basing your entire
business on the very bad bet that you will always have the
traffic you do now because of a few advertising companies,
(search engines) then you are going to go completely out of
I can't tell you when it will happen. Only that it will happen.
No expert marketer would ever count on the engines for all their
incoming traffic any more than an experienced gambler plays
roulette as a source of income.
The odds in search engine marketing are just about as bad as
roulette. You can lose it all if you don't also base your
marketing on sound, more stable principles that do NOT change
Those principles are:
1) linking: reciprocal and non-reciprocal (I don't give a lick
about Google changing their focus away from link popularity - I
don't want a popularity award, I'm getting real traffic from
linking because I do it right!)
2) feeding: Not using RSS to feed content out to other web
publishers is a huge mistake. RSS and direct links from site to
site are entirely replacing search engine traffic for many
people. Learn about it and implement it as your first order of
business if you are not feeding content through a blog or other
means. There's a great portion your "missing" traffic right off
the bat. And the gap between what you are getting in traffic
now through the engines and what you COULD be getting through
feed content is growing by the day!
3) publishing: If you are not writing articles and syndicating
them, you are missing ten times the traffic you are getting from
the search engines (and I don't care how much traffic you are
getting now - multiply it by ten and that's at least what you
are missing out on.)
4) networking: If you are playing in a sandbox all by yourself
and isolating your business from partnerships and associations
that would drive your traffic up - what are you thinking about?
First, your idea is probably not new, so forget about protecting
things that have already been thought of. And since you have
published yourself on the web and are actively seeking traffic,
the cat's out of the bag already.
5) actual value: Do you have a "me-too" business? Then why
would I or anyone else want to send traffic to you? Cookie
cutter sites and junky 1997 design and content don't cut it
these days. (They barely did in 1997!)
6) actual content: Does your site appeal to any significant
group of people as a credible information source? Is buying
something the only thing people can do on your site? Good luck
with that model. We ditched that with our content sites years
7) jv/affiliate program: Most online businesses can benefit
from joint ventures and affiliate programs to sell their
products and drive traffic. Chances are you are in such a
business and if you aren't doing both kinds of ventures above,
you must be really depressed about your traffic levels right now.
Because of the apparent widespread lack of factual knowledge
website owners have about how to actually market online, I can
totally understand the desperation and depression that could
lead someone to throw themselves completely to the mercy of a
billion dollar corporation. One that changes the way it ranks
sites more often than a new mom has to change diapers.
The purpose of my message here is that there is a world of
promotion tactics out there that have better results and less
stress involved than search engine marketing as a sole source of
You can't be lazy to get traffic from other sources, but keeping
up with what the search engines want you to do to rank well is
not a job for the lazy either!
The question you should be asking yourself at this point is:
How in the world can there be so many successful business owners
online that have lousy rankings in the engines?
And the answer is: We spend our time on the far greater
potential for targeted traffic OUTSIDE the search engines and
(in case you were wondering) we don't pay for advertising - AT
All it takes is hard work, which is the real secret to every
success story ever written. Learn your craft. There is no
magic button on the web you can push to make traffic happen.
Your work is only beginning once you have a store set up on the
web. In fact, you haven't even BEGUN to work at that point.
Spending all your time on search engine marketing is a
guaranteed way to become very disappointed in your results.
Working on a well-rounded marketing campaign will never, ever
fail you because you are in control of your destiny rather than
totally dependent on the fickle engines.
Jack Humphrey is the author of Power Linking Evolution at
http://power-linking-profits.com. He is also the managing
partner at http://contentdesk.com.