This morning I stopped to get gas on my way to work, and the cashier refused to give me the change that was due back to me. He refused to listen to reason, and he automatically dismissed my claim that he made a mistake. So what did I do? Most people would likely curse and walk away with the intention to call the corporate office and file a complaint (if even going that far). But I actually phoned the police, waited for 45 minutes until they arrived, plead my case, and walked away with the 50 cents in change that was due to me. You may think I am utterly insane for having gone through all of this over a couple of coins, but there are three things I wish to plead in my defense: (1) I get up at 5 AM every morning and commute to my job that is 92 miles away and I hadn’t had my coffee yet, (2) I was in a bad mood to begin with and (3) it was the principal of the thing: I was being ripped off. After merging onto the freeway and glancing at the time, I realized that, in essence, 45 minutes of my time was worth 50 cents. I felt foolish, and those two quarters now sit on my desk reminding me that common sense and productivity should always take precedence over winning a petty argument.

This entire episode inspired me to question my SEO practices; am I guilty of spending too much time trying to win every little SEO battle worth 50 cents while missing out on the big picture and making more use of my time? Upon much reflection I was able to pinpoint two time-wasting habits that caused me an abundance of time-consumed rage. After recognizing these negative patterns I was able to smother the flames of my hell-bent wrath induced tactics, and re-structure my endeavors with a calm hand and cool head.

Increasing Link Equity

We all know that a website’s homepage should have more text links than any other page. Common sense tells us that linking to various product pages, categories and informative content is a basic SEO rule of thumb, but after checking the page rank there was no increase nor was there any real buzz on the various social media platforms. Upon doing some research I discovered that the problem wasn’t so much the links themselves, but more so with the content that padded the links. Google’s Hummingbird update challenges SEO professionals to approach their craft from an angle to “earn results” versus “building results”; creating high quality text around the links that mimic the same subject matter on the aimed content is essential for results. This translates to painting your website with high quality content so the search engine spiders will be drawn in to feast upon your keywords and content-padded links.

Also, giving in to my impatience and anger led me to peppering my homepage with too many links. This is like pouring water into a colander—it will disperse but in doing so it will nourish each link in equal parts abducting SEO juice from the areas that are of greater importance. You can use Moz Crawl Diagnostics to check for link saturation and then make deletions as necessary.

Unrealistic Directory Expectations

Adding your business to a directory can either be advantageous for SEO or a total waste of your time. In many cases trying to get a website pasted in a directory can be frustrating and choleric, especially if the SEO consultant is trying to add and verify a business using their own phone number through a text message system when often the actual business number must match. After learning which directories were quick and simple, I uploaded the business information and website URL to a great number of them feeling rather victorious that I had created so many backlinks. But 30 days later the hours I spent doing this proved to be a total waste of my time. When adding a business to a directory with the intention to create strong healthy backlinks, follow these guidelines:

  • Ensure the site has a Google page rank of five or higher
  • Check the page source and make sure it allows “follow”
  • Target industry specific directories
  • Search for entertainment sites with large social media followings that are relevant to your business industry

Building a single backlink on a site with a large page rank is more beneficial than building 10 that link from weak sites. You can download the SEO Quake toolbar to instantly view the Google page rank of each site and quickly determine what is a waste of your time, and what isn’t. By right clicking your mouse you can access “view page source” and from there simply press CTRL + F and type the word “follow”. The appropriate areas will become highlighted on the source page letting you know if the site is “follow friendly”. Also, don’t just plaster your business information on any site with a strong page rank—you will get better results if the back link derives from an associated or comparable source.

Throwing my 50 Cents into the SEO Ring

Sprinkling your website’s homepage with an abundance of links and launching a numbers-heavy back link campaign is just as absurd as appraising 45 minutes of your time at 50 cents. You may think you succeeded just because you created 20 back links in 45 minutes, but in reality your SEO is sad, impotent and you could have made better use of your time. Anger and impatience go together like Homer Simpson and doh.  If you find yourself knee-deep in the bogs of eternal frustration then step back, think practically, do some research, and abandon your stubborn old ways for the contemporary practices that reward SEO consultants with handsome results earned through time well spent.