It's Valentine's week. Love the Hallmark Holiday or hate it, at the very least it's one of the top five times of year to stock up on chocolate candy.
This is also a good time of year to search for quotes about love and romance, whether you want to write a valentine or you're looking to rewrite a few classics to apply to our perpetually dysfunctional relationship with Google. Clearly, I'm going for the latter.
It's funny how when you change a few words in some quotations about love, you get a whole new meaning as it applies to SEO.
Love means never having to say you're sorry. – Erich Segal
We're all learning the hard way what it means to be in a fight with Google.
A guy who called a woman by his ex's name has it easy compared to a site that bought links and spun article content. Ask anybody going in for a fifth reconsideration request whether they'd be willing to shell out for a dozen roses and a new Pandora charm.
Using misguided link building practices does actually mean having to say "I'm sorry," often several times over. It also comes with acts of penitence that are the relationship equivalent of anywhere from 6 months to years of sleeping on the couch. Likely, it's a very uncomfortable couch. But that's the price of getting back into Google's good graces. Sometimes even once you get back in the master bedroom, you still have a long time of playing nice ahead to get things back to normal.
Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye. - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
The reasons Google may have a problem with a link may be more than you can eyeball at a glance.
There are other patterns related to on- and off-site factors that can be mitigating. Anything from an IP address, a C-class, a map of cross linking, or a repeating series of words, can send negative signals to Google about a whole series of links, sending up a red flag. There may also be symptoms related to the ratios and proportions that comprise a site's back links that could be tripping a filter.
Sometimes what's setting off alarms is beyond what you can see looking only at a page or a link alone. It's the entire context of the link, including influences you may not be able to see that easily that is affecting how it is read.
Consider everything when you're reviewing your links and prepare to make some hard choices. Even something that looks harmless may have to go.
'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
Even if getting back to the best rankings you've ever had may not be in the future, that doesn't mean it's game over. Yes, it's hard to think about the way things were without tearing up, but stop listening to Adele, and snap out of it.
More than two or three keywords matter now. There are a lot more opportunities out there. They may not be as rich or sexy as the one that got away but they are smart, reliable and obtainable.
No one will tell you to settle for a spouse, but when it comes to keywords and traffic sources, get ready to lower your standards and broaden the sea you're fishing in.
Immature love says: 'I love you because I need you.' Mature love says 'I need you because I love you.' -Erich Fromm
Dependency isn't typically a pillar of any solid relationship. But over dependency on organic traffic from a limited source can lead to a dangerous depression if it goes away. It's the kind of downward spiral that involves enough raw cookie dough to cause ecoli.
Don't get stuck. Focus on capturing traffic from a wider spectrum of keywords and content.
Spend more time thinking about referrals from links than the keywords on them. Spend time engaging people you do care about as followers on Facebook instead of buying followers that don't matter.
Look at branded traffic from people that are searching specifically for you; think about how to draw in visitors from more obscure searches into your conversion funnel. It may not be the glory days of the past, but it's a lot healthier and it's got a shot to last.
To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance. - Oscar Wilde
Loving what you're doing, regardless of how anyone else feels about it, is a huge part of happiness. So know what you have to offer and whether it deserves to be the best.
If what you provide is really worth being presented as the top choice to users, fight for it. Find your voice, tell your story.
You can lead and innovate in big and small ways. Real connections, positive experiences, and genuine insights don't have to be loud and flashy.
New ideas, events, and "big things" can come from anywhere. If your ultimate goal is to be great instead of just achieving great rankings, the hard work involved can pay off in ways you'll never have to apologize for.
Any involvement with Google is going to be a tempestuous affair; it's rocky, imbalanced, the communication is terrible and you'll always feel they don't love you as much as you love them. But when it's good, it's so worth it.
In my search, I found this quote that, even though it came from a blonde bombshell from the past, it seems appropriate for one of the greatest heartbreakers of our generation:
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!