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A Year Without SEO

A Story Of How To Rank Without Cheating

Last edited on 09/05/2021

It has been one year now since I concluded that SEO was a waste of my time. Over six months ago I gave up trying to get any type of link from other sites. What led me at the time to make decisions which many would have said were rash? After all, reciprocal linking was still being expounded as an essential method to build search engine rank, and the software tools were still being actively marketed as an essential part of any serious webmaster's tool kit. And the buzz phrase of the day, "Keyword Density," was still ringing in the ears of every Internet marketer with functional synapses.

What I did was go back to the basics, with my marketing training and experience from the 1980s and 90s. I was not born into digital marketing, so could still see past the hype and nonsense that is so prevalent in internet marketing today. That means I could look at this new technology objectively, as an intelligent adult, and not get bogged down by all the techno-babble that most experts seem to regard as so important.

You need to know your marketplace intimately. Search engine rankings are only one of many important factors in the success of your online business. You must also understand your customers, what turns them on, what turns them off, and how to use this knowledge to make your sales pitches more effective.

Many people have been buying links wrong for a long time. It wasn't always like this. In the past, buying links was almost a given; you used them whenever you could and ignored them whenever you couldn't. That was true until recently. Now, with some clever coding, buying links can be used very effectively. If used properly, they can help your rankings substantially. If used improperly, they can do just as much harm as good links would do for you.

What the other major search engines really wanted was to rank the best websites for a particular search term, and it seemed only a matter of time before they sniffed out and extinguished all the abuses, such as obviously artificial link building, blog spam, website scraping, and unethical SEO tactics.

A year ago, I started two websites without any thought of SEO. I just wanted to provide what search engines wanted, original content on what people were searching for. Aside from title and descriptions tags, everything else was just written on a go with the flow basis. The keyword phrase for any page would come out in the organic flow. I could just write to my heart's content without using any tools to check keyword density.

When that first website went live it was in the very competitive self improvement niche. I expected to be sandboxed by Google, and so it was. But I just kept plugging along, sticking to my sandboxing principle. Of course, none of us outside of Google knows for sure if there is such a thing as a sandbox, but there is certainly a delay before a new site is fully integrated into the search engine rankings.

After about a year, my website finally came up in the top ten results on the major search engines. So, at last, I could see if my no SEO approach was to work or not. The very first results that came up were a few top positions. Now, these are the early days for that particular site, and there is much to do to get more high rankings. But, I am confident that SEO is much easier than some experts, especially those selling so-called SEO ranking tools, actually make it seem more difficult than it needs to be. There will always be some experts who think they know it all, but in reality, they don’t know squat about what it takes to get a site to the top of the search engines.

Since I started that particular website, I have made only one major change. That change was to convert all my websites to CSS. Providing a content-rich website that is easy for search engine robots to crawl is the most important aspect of the new, simplified SEO. In fact, following the advice from the major search engines to webmasters is about all you need to do, and that is free. Of course, those with software products to sell will argue that I could do even better with their software. But if the search engines decide to blacklist that software as a manipulating tool, then all my hard work could be undone. I’m going to leave the others to rank software and just enjoy writing content. After all, that is what basic marketing told me to do.

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