Successes in 2011-12
In 2011- 2012, I have worked on four different client websites and at least two of my own. Work on these sites was successful (depending mainly on the amount of time spent) under a variety of conditions. Clients include a website I have worked on for over ten years now, another site that dominates a very rich consumer vertical, and a new e-commerce site started in 2011, as well as a variety of niche sites and others. Below is a sample of three success stories. Screen caps are from Google Analytics and CubeCart Admin.
SEO Success, Example #1: Nearly 50% growth in an Established Vertical
A site I helped establish in 2008 grew significantly since January 2011 thanks to continued SEO work put into it. The site is in a reasonably well-saturated vertical, but through smart content development we grew traffic to this site by over 50% in one year.
Factors that contributed to success: a significant, steady content push, along with increased attention to backlinks.
SEO Success, Example #2: Starting From Zero
I took on a new client who had started a site from scratch early in 2011. Although the owner understood a lot about his own business he understood very little about the the web. In between other work, I found time to get him started in building traffic and generating sales. While the investment up front was heavy, the results are starting to come in.
Sales for this company went from zero to 60 in this time, including an explosive month. Of course, I can't control this. There are ups and downs in sales and it is always a numbers game, of course. But the traffic numbers were there, and sales followed.
Factors that contributed to success:
- Development of over 50 pages of content where there were none before
- Linkbuilding using a sound strategy that would avoid penalties or demotions
- Social media marketing and interaction with sites in related verticals
SEO Success, Example #3: Doubling Traffic in a Niche
BeerClassifieds.com is one of my personal pets and probably my favourite site on the web. It does suffer from "cobbler's kids syndrome" but I was able to grow it out quite a bit in 2011. A comment on a CNN article brought in a lot of traffic around Christmas time. This site has been hurt by the Penguin update this year (too thin and it's an affiliate site). Last year, though, showed that content development is still king (even if SERPs are a game of thrones).
Factors that contributed to success: beefing of existing content, continued targeting of new search terms, social media presence, attention to detail.
Continued Success as the Web Continues to Grow in 2012
There's little doubt that we are in a long wave of web growth at this point in time. There's no great hype about this wave like there was during the web's initial explosion in the 1990's or for Web 2.0 last decade. The web has simply continued growing exponentially in the last few years, many more companies understand Internet marketing, there is increased competition everywhere, social media has extended its reach into every corner of web publishing and Google gets smarter every day at weeding out spam and delivering pretty trustworthy results. Panda, Penguin and other algorithm changes in the last two years were direct responses to SEO strategies that had become entrenched in Internet marketing. Each has strongly affected the way search marketing is done and some blackhat techniques are now gone the way of Netscape and Alta Vista.
The whitehat techniques I've employed and counseled companies to employ continued to reap rewards in 2011 and into 2012. SEO has changed a lot but it's still the most effective, robust way of grabbing the broadest audience you can reach. Undertaken smartly, optimization will effectively increase search engine traffic and it's still the first line of offense in Internet marketing, more than ten years after Google took over search.
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