Entire businesses have literally been destroyed overnight when Google changed their algorithm which determine where websites appear in their search results.
You may even have heard terms like ‘Panda’, ‘Penguin’, or even the infamous ‘Mobilegeddon’.
Those were all names given to major algorithm updates that caused huge seismic events on the richter scale of website rankings.
Sites that had hundreds or even thousands of page one listings on Google were seriously affected—their rankings disappeared overnight.
Other website’s rankings didn’t disappear, but were relegated to pages deep within the bowels of Google’s search results, where no human being would ever dare venture.
Some very high profile websites have seen their traffic drop by more than 90% after a major algorithm update.
So yes, for some businesses an algorithm update is a traffic killer.
I couldn’t care less, because…
I’ve never made SEO a priority for my sales lead generation websites.
Note that I said ‘priority’, and also I was specific about my ‘lead generation websites’.
Because yes, I do perform basic SEO on all my websites. I’d be crazy not to.
I even pay for an annual subscription to SEMRush—amazing online software that helps improve SEO rankings.
I use that tool to perform quick SEO optimisation of my blog posts—but I mainly use it for research. (It’s incredible and I’ll do a full review at some point.)
So no, the reason I don’t worry about algorithm updates is because many years ago I realised that getting to page one of the search engines is definitely not the only way to get traffic to a website.
In fact, it’s probably the slowest way to build up traffic to a new website.
The only caveat to all of this is that if you’ve spent years building a great website, with great content, and performing white hat SEO then you should be okay… regardless of whatever changes Google makes to the algorithm.
“Don’t worry be happy, here’s a little SEO I wrote…”
Each time a major algorithm update is announced, clients email me, concerned about how this will affect their online sales-lead generation activities.
More specifically, they’re concerned how this will affect their ‘lead pages’ — the special kind of web pages that capture the names and email addresses of qualified prospects.
My advice has always been the same — don’t bother trying to optimise your lead pages for organic search engine traffic.
I wrote about this quite strongly in my first book, and have blogged about it many times over the years.
Hopefully anyone who uses lead pages, and who has read my books and been following the articles on my blog—and maybe even attended some of my seminars and workshops—will have heeded my advice and not built their entire lead generation activities on SEO.
I’ve always advised against it.
Partly because, just like it’s too dangerous to rely on one customer or client for all your work, it’s too dangerous to rely on just one source of traffic for your website.
Especially one that’s liable to change their rules (algorithm), in a big way, at the drop of a hat, like Google frequently do.
However, the other reason I advise against SEO for lead pages is because it’s a passive traffic tactic.
Passive versus Proactive
Here’s how SEO works.
You optimize your website, you submit articles and you build back-links.
You wait a bit longer.
You build more back-links.
You submit more articles.
You add more content to your site.
You keep tweaking and optimising your ‘on page ranking factors’ so it’s all Google-friendly.
And then over time you start getting some of that glorious, free (aka ‘organic’), Google traffic arriving on your site.
That strategy is fine for local businesses who don’t rely on lead pages.
Anyone with a ‘local’ business (plumbers, solicitors etc.) who does the above, relentlessly, will gradually receive more and more organic traffic, and get a lot of work from the qualified leads and enquiries their sites generate.
Those kind of websites will be fine because they have lots of great quality content that Google will give a ‘thumbs up’.
(That is, providing they’ve not used nefarious ‘black hat SEO techniques’ to build back-links or ‘spin’ articles. A topic for another day!)
Over the years I’ve also seen tiny companies grow into multi-million pound behemoths, purely on the back of multiple page one positions for key search terms.
However, for professional service companies or solopreneurs who sell nationally or internationally—my advice has always been to perform proactive marketing campaigns that drive visitors on to their lead pages—and to not worry too much about SEO.
When you perform proactive traffic tactics like Joint Ventures, direct response print advertising, pay per click advertising—or even just plain ‘ol blog and forum commenting and social media updates—you get traffic on demand.
There’s no waiting and praying for Google to rank your site.
So, to reiterate, if you sell high value, premium or complex products and services to a national or International customer base, my advice is to not worry about SEO for your lead pages.
Here’s what to do instead…
- Create lead magnets
- Build lead pages
- Setup email sequences that convert leads into customers and clients
- Then use proactive traffic tactics to get instant traction.
Do that, and your business will grow faster and more predictably.
I’m launching more lead pages than ever at the moment.
They ignore nearly all of Google’s so-called ‘ranking factors’—and yet they work like gang-busters from day one… without getting any organic traffic from Google whatsoever.
If you sell complex products or services, and are using lead pages to ethically capture the details of targeted sales leads and qualified prospects, I hope this article helps you sleep better at night, even when you’ve heard rumours of a seismic Google event on the horizon.
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