The two weightiest factors in search engine algorithms are the initial year of the domain registration and the age of its back links. Those two factors far outweigh any other mumbo jumbo your SEO company claims to perform.
As time marches on, more and more companies will establish their web presence and participate in search engine optimization with the intention of ranking high in the search results for their targeted phrases. The more websites that are built, the more difficult it will become for new websites to acquire rankings for their respective keywords. In fact, I believe that for the most competitive keywords, the current top 10 websites may remain in their current positions for many years to come. While they may jockey around in position from month to month – moving up or down a few places in the results, the current top 10 websites won’t be leaving the first page any time soon.
Let’s use the plastic surgery industry as an example, specifically breast augmentation in New York. Any plastic surgeon that has been performing consistent SEO for the past few years for “New York Breast Augmentation” will become virtually impossible to overtake in the search results several years from today. Where does that leave the future New York plastic surgeon that’s currently attending medical school? By the time he finishes his plastic surgery fellowship ten years from now and decides to build a website to showcase his scalpel skills, the only way he will acquire any traffic to his website will be to buy traffic via the various PPC platforms. Why? Because his website will be invisible to the search engines; he will not get any search traffic whatsoever because the older, more established New York Breast Augmentation surgeon will have the relevant keywords locked up tighter than Fort Knox. The less experienced surgeon will be forced to cultivate new clients through PPC marketing, social marketing, and traditional print/media advertising.
Search engine algorithms place enormous weight on the age of a domain and the age of its SEO work. That will never change. It can’t. If search engines remove the age factor from their algorithms, it would be a giant leap backward for quality search results. The organic results would become highly manipulative, and without quality organic results, the search engines can’t get top dollar for their PPC clicks. Thus, the search engines can never change their age-driven model as it would be highly destructive to their own revenue stream.
What does all this mean for you? It means you need to be smarter when picking your keywords. You need to think ahead when purchasing your domain names.
The internet is still in its infancy and internet marketers are constructing the cyberscape according to keyword demand, and that process is happening at breakneck speeds. Eventually, the potential for ranking organically for any keyword worth more than a couple bucks will be impossible. When that day arrives, there will be a new generation of real estate tycoons, but their properties won’t occupy land or physical space; their real estate will be virtual.
Imagine the city of Beverly Hills when it still belonged to Mexico before the California Gold Rush. There wasn’t much more than dirt, tumbleweeds, rolling hills, and an unobstructed view of the Pacific Ocean. Imagine galloping onto the scene on your dusty horse and laying claim to the exact chunk of land at the future intersection of Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Blvd., at the exact spot where Tiffany & Co. would build their Beverly Hills store. Sure, you won’t be alive by the time the land is worth a gazillion dollars, but you know that your descendants will benefit from your foresight.
Fast forward to today.
There is a new gold rush occurring but this time it’s happening in cyber space. Instead of staking a land claim, savvy marketers are staking keyword claims. Sure, it might be another ten or twenty years before their foresight pays off, but when it does, that piece of virtual real estate will be worth a fortune. From pool service to plumbers, florists to dermatologists – the future internet will be the virtual, mirror image of today’s brick and mortar business world: business owners will be forced to pay the landowner monthly rent in order to showcase their wares to potential customers. However, instead of signing a triple net lease for prime store frontage at the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Rodeo Dr. in Beverly Hills, a jeweler will be forced to pay top dollar to a website owner in order to showcase his precious metals at the intersection of the phrase “Beverly Hills Jeweler”.
In the not so distant future, all business professionals (regardless of their industry) will be forced to purchase search and content market traffic. The online success of their business will be at the mercy of two entities: the search engines and the website owners who control the top organic positions for highly targeted phrases. In the not-so-distant future, business owners will allocate a portion of their funds to leasing virtual real estate much in the same manner they currently lease commercial real estate.
Here are five potential solutions for business owners that want to avoid the impending keyword-bottleneck:
(1) Hire a full service SEO firm – this will cost wheel barrels full of money, upwards of several thousand dollars every month (probably a lot more). However, you will get results. This option is really only for established companies that have excess capital to invest into their online future. The potential drawback is whether or not the SEO firm honors the work they performed once the business relationship fizzles between the website owner and the SEO geeks. I know several professionals who attempted to sever their monthly fee with their SEO firm only to find that their business website lost all of its rankings within a few short months of stopping their monthly payments. The lesson to be learned with this option: choose a reputable SEO company!
(2) Hire a freelance marketer to help with your SEO – this won’t cost you nearly as much as hiring a full service SEO firm. You can find plenty of these budding search optimization freelancers on Craigslist for anywhere from $40 a month to $1,000 per month. Do they know what they’re doing? In most cases, probably not, but you might get lucky and find a reputable marketer that won’t damage your site’s reputation by performing unethical work. The reason why these internet marketers are so inexpensive is because they don’t have the overhead that full service SEO firms have. More than likely they’re working out of their home on a shoestring budget. Always ask these freelancers about current rankings for websites they are promoting (be sure to find a link on said website that clearly states the name or business that is promoting the site).
(3) Do it yourself SEO – this will cost you much more than trying to hire a freelance marketer or a full service SEO firm. The reason why it will cost you more money is because you’ll be spending time learning a new trade while ignoring the day to day operation of your business. Many small businesses owners attempt this option only to fail in total frustration. While SEO certainly isn’t brain surgery, it’s best if you leave the work to a professional that knows how to get the job done. It took me almost 2 years of 50 hour work weeks before I began to seek the light. Do you have an equal amount of time to invest? Do you have the natural, mathematical skill set that is necessary to delve into the countless layers of work that needs to be performed to acquire rankings? Probably not.
(4) Accept your inevitable fate and start buying traffic – this is a pretty good solution so long as you know what you’re doing when it comes to managing your pay per click campaigns. Unfortunately, most people don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to managing their pay per click campaigns and they quickly rack up enormous click costs without getting any results. If you have the budget to spend $500 or more on pay per click traffic, then be smart enough to hire an experienced pay per click marketer to manage your campaigns. PPC marketing can produce amazing results but there is much more to the process than just picking great keywords. Proceed with caution.
(5) Don’t rely on your internet presence to drum up new business – this isn’t a bad solution either. If you’re a brick and mortar business that has survived many years without having an internet presence, why start now? If it isn’t broken, what are you trying to fix? There are many industries that simply don’t need a web presence to survive. As long as you have a solid system in place for keeping contact with old customers and you’re receiving word-of-mouth referrals, you probably don’t even need a website.
If you really want to acquire top 10 rankings for your business website, you’ll need to hire a professional SEO marketer or a full service SEO company. Be prepared to spend a minimum of $500 per month for an experienced, online marketing professional. When it comes to search engine optimization results, the old adage “you get what you pay for” definitely applies.