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Good SEO Starts with a Good Product

There's this weird myth that seems to circulate around the industry about how things are done. I hear it the most when I'm at conferences chatting with new faces and getting to hear about their business and why they're at a show like Search Engine Strategies or Search Marketing Expo. I'll meet someone, introduce myself, and then ask them what they do for a living and what they hope to get from the show. They'll tell me about their also-ran of a product/service, I'll give them a deflated "is that all?" look, and then they'll chuckle and say, "that's why we're here. To help it get attention and to catch on."

Hi, the Internet's marketing community called. They said you're doing it wrong. SEO isn't going to make your boring product interesting.

Search engine optimization can offer a powerful punch for your business. Obviously being someone who works for an SEO company, I totally get that. I understand that creating a Web site that is SEO'd and therefore structurally sound, usable, and that builds trust is incredibly important. It can help take your earning-nothing Web site and make it a serious player in your industry. But it can only do that if you deserve it. If your product or service is worth the attention. I've mentioned Bruce's pig/eagle saying numerous times, but I think it holds true (and frankly, I like it). As our fearless leader says, it's not the job of SEO to put wings on a pig; it's the job of SEO to genetically reengineer the pig into an eagle.

In less animal-related words, that means whomever you hire to do your search engine optimization, it is not their job to get your crap site to rank. It's their job to show you how to fix your Web site so that you deserve your rankings. It may be their job to explain to you how to get there, but it's not their job to do it for you. It's your site. It's your responsibility to make it something. Your SEO can then help get it the attention it deserves.

I think a lot of sites underestimate how much easier it would be to rank if they actually deserved to rank. Often you'll hear site owners complaining about how unfair Google is and how it's not right that they've been banished to page four of the SERP. And then you'll go and take a look at their site and you'll get it. You'll know exactly why they rank where they do. They rank there because they deserve to rank there. If you're trying to put wings on a pig and call it a resource…welcome to Google's toilet. Stay awhile.

Search engine optimization isn't the first step to achieving high rankings. Having a good product is. Offering something that is better than your competition and serves a purpose to the community is the most important part of achieving rankings. When you offer something of value, that's when the links come in naturally. It's when word of mouth does your marketing for you. It's when people are linking to your content on social media networks because it's actually interesting and engaging, not because you hire a company to push your stuff. Before you go and hire a search engine optimization company, make sure you have something worth getting to rank. Because if you don't, you're just wasting your money, money that would be better invested in actually improving your product.

Step one to a successful SEO campaign is this: Have a product worth selling or a service worth paying for. Otherwise, why would you ever rank?


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