SEO, or search engine optimization, is part science, part technology, and part dumb-ass luck.
Mind you, I have done a lot of SEO, but I am not a full-time SEO practitioner – I wouldn’t have the patience. A good friend, a mucky-muck at one of the West Coast’s top SEO firms once told me that SEO is less about a silver bullet, and more about doing a lot of work, over and over again. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. And sometimes it’s just fickle.
I’m a member of a professional networking group, with more than 3000 members. Most are at the top of their game, or at least at the top of their game in their territory. As a result, the organization’s website is very powerful, with a ton of links going in, and a ton of links going out.
That organization has been an SEO boon for all of its members. Well, until recently. You see, they just did a website overhaul, and committed the cardinal sin of breaking their links. Ten years worth of SEO down the drain.
How any web development firm can build out a site without protecting links is beyond me, but it happened.
Those broken links triggered a small landslide of falling rankings. It’s not catastrophic, but it sure was noticeable. A few of my page one listings are now down a page or two. A few of my page two and three listings are gone (which means they are lower than page 3, because who ever looks past page 3 of a Google search result?)
SEO is a temperamental thing. Don’t take it lightly. If you have good searching rankings, for your name, your organization, or your company, cherish them, protect them, and keep working them.
SEO isn’t everything in marketing. But it is an important thing.
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