Why your site sucks in search engine rankings

Your business model is flawed or ill-conceived. And your Web site is garbage.

So says Mike Grehan on the always excellent ClickZblog: Why You Don’t Rank on Search Engines.

I wonder if we at iStudio could get away with telling our clients this?! Thousands of man years of work and research into SEO boiled down into 14 words that will be like a dagger into many a marketer’s heart.

Search engine optimization is broken down into three basic pillars, two of which you can control and one of which you can’t. At least not directly.

Those three pillars are:

  • Technical structure (the code)
  • Content (key word density and the like)
  • Links

The first two you can optimize to your hearts content but these will only work on the margins compared to other sites with similar PageRanks. The real work comes from earning links back into your site and increasing your PageRank.

Back to Mike:

Ask yourself, “Why would anyone want to link to my site?” Be brutal. Write down as many reasons as you can about why other sites should link to you. If you can’t convince yourself another site would want to link to you, you seriously need to question what your value proposition is and how your site promotes it (or not, as the case may be).

And that is what makes Internet communications so interesting these days. There are many ways you can get people to link to your site.

One is by going black-hat and joining link sharing networks like this guy did – getting 33,249 links in the process. The downside? Completely screwing yourself and getting blacklisted by Google. Congratulations. Now you’re a Belgium newspaper.

The other way is to create remarkable content and to produce things that people will want to share and use. Widgets to go on blogs and Web sites. Videos that people want to embed. Content that people want to comment and build on.

3 Responses to Why your site sucks in search engine rankings

  1. Parker says:

    That’s a great quote.

    I also think that too many people complicate SEO, particularly in our industry. They think that it is some kind of alchemical magic, when it really comes down to the three simple “pillars” that you mention. I’ve always heard that if you design a site that is easy to navigate by humans, the search engine bots/spiders will also be able to crawl it easily and find your content. If you’re creating relevant content and writing naturally using words that people are likely to search for rather than jargon, people will be able to find your site and are more likely to get something out of it, and subsequently link to it.

  2. Max Bottaro says:

    very interesting post… I had a vague idea of the SEO criteria but this really helps break it down.

    I had a feeling linkbacks were the limiting reagent to a better page rank…. dammit

  3. [...] Related is a great post from Ed Lee about why your site sucks in search engine rankings. As I commented [...]

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