6 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse of Search Position

Your web site is lost in a sea of search results because of something we call the Zombie Apocalypse of Search Engine Optimization. Namely, SEO is dead. Living, but dead. Here’s how your business continues to survive during the zombie apocalypse.

Know When the Rules Have Changed.

Your web site took a nose dive in search position since the release of Google’s newest algorithms (dubbed Penguin and Panda). So you try more “search engine optimization”. Nope – that’s the very thing that stopped working in the first place. Maybe you switch web site providers and, in the process, break all the secondary site links to pages on your site that Google had indexed in the first place. That signals Google to give you even worse treatment. Or you change domains (to a new dot com), which means starting over from zero search engine references, like a newbie, even if the web site hasn’t changed. You pump money into a back link building scam or some other fix. You continue to focus on the web site itself and the search engine itself – on SEO. But nothing is working. You keep shopping for someone with a magic bullet solution. You want a hero, and you’re running out of money to spend.

Don’t be a Hero.

We are not heroes. We are zombie slayers. Just ordinary guys with web savvy and fuel in our chainsaw. But if you’re going to roll with us, we need to get three things straight first:

  1. It’s not like this hasn’t been coming for ages. Google’s has been saying all along to stop ‘fixing’ search parameters and focus on consistently generating fresh, unique content. Now they’re just better at enforcing that rule, there’s no amateur workaround any more, and the “search engine” geeks that held out to the end, focusing on gaming the system, have run out of value to offer. Solution: PAY ATTENTION! You want something out of Google, try listening to what it says it wants. Savvy?
  2. Continuing to make it worse rather than get help is arrogant. Every time you decide to ‘try’ something, you’re assuming two things: 1. you won’t make it worse and worse won’t be permanent, 2. you have expertise that you simply don’t have. You can indeed make it much worse, if you continue ‘experimenting’ on your own live business. That’s a lot to risk if you’re not reasonably certain you’re going to help. And if you don’t know *why* you dropped in the first place, then it makes sense you might not know the best solution to the problem. Solution: STOP TINKERING! You need a good analysis of the problem and then experience with what it takes to make a change. Pull over and ask for directions. Get consulting. Self-reliance in this case will be far more costly. Comprende?
  3. Change your view of how the web works, or die. – no instant gratification anymore, no magic trickery from geeks, new rules – accept them instead of fighting them. The web has changed, so you must change your understanding – what worked once isn’t working anymore.

Learn Out How We Got Here.

The 2-minute history lesson: The basis for search position in the earliest days was a system of tags that told search engines what your site was all about and what it had to offer. This is because search engines were really lousy at indexing sites from the content itself, so it relied on special headers full of geek-code to tell them. Of course, you could create a site about porn or pills and put phrases about kitty cats in the headers, so search engines needed to get better. They started warning the world – “we’re going to focus on content – real, original, fresh, frequent, new – not a bunch of static web pages that get served up week after week – no one wants to read your crappy web page!” Google bought Blogger to make the point, and maybe you had to shell out for some occasional geekery to ignore Google’s (and people’s) express call for continually fresh content, keep your stale pages’ search positions, and give those search engine execs the finger. Yep, that’s what you were doing, even if you didn’t realize it. So search engines got even better – Google stopped bothering to read some of those header tags altogether and started using artificial intelligence to read your site the way a human being would, including the boredom with your sales pitch (no one’s actually searching for most of what you’re pitching, in other words). Google finally got so good at this stuff that it hauled off and issued the latest releases – “Penguin/Panda” – which, like the zombie apocalypse of gimmickry, put a lot of search engine geeks out of business. Bye bye – you’re old school. Search engine optimization is soooo 2000-2010.

Stop Living in the Past.

If you keep fantasizing about zero-effort solutions you can just throw money at, you’re going to watch your business do exactly what it’s doing now – get it’s arse kicked. Instead, get an internet marketing consultant to help you construct and implement an internet marketing plan that focuses on content marketing, which is where this decade is at. Stop futzing around with search optimization and web site trickery. The alternative is to live in a fantasy where it’s still the golden age of dumb search engines. Don’t be the person who can’t accept that the zombie apocalypse has happened – it has, and you have to deal with it. The new way is more work – it requires ongoing time and/or expense. But this is what they’ve been telling you is coming, it’s here now, wake up and smell the zombies! Your company has to change or else keep plummeting. Capisce?

In short, if you’ve got a static web site and you’re not doing content marketing (unique content that is local and relevant, with a sustained campaign that adds content frequently and consistently), you need to switch gears. The web really has changed, and a lot more sites are going to get eaten – search engines just haven’t finished nailing all the the people who haven’t caught on yet. They will. Internet marketing now isn’t a static web site – it’s content marketing, in which a web site plays a role but isn’t the sole point. Search engines are content delivery vehicles – so where is your stream of content? Make your decisions based on that, and get people involved who get that. Start with a consultant or a business developer, not with geeks.

Change Your Routine.

This is not a technology problem, it’s a business approach problem. Now saddle up! We’re going to tell it straight, as you should expect. In the zombie apocalypse, it’s not about getting your feelings hurt. You need candid talk, dished out swiftly, and a change of attitude about these things. Or you’re going to get eaten. They’ve already taken New York and Boston. We’re taking a chainsaw to this mother, and hope you’re with us. That’s how we roll – by understanding what’s happened and accepting that we have to adjust our behavior accordingly. Nuff said.

Get Some Help.

Band together with us to enhance your survival in the new volatile market of zombies. We’ll help you craft a digital strategy that ensures your success and growth.

Daniel DiGriz

Daniel DiGriz is a corporate storyteller and Digital Ecologist® at MadPipe, which provides creative direction, marketing leadership, and campaign direction for firms that want a stronger connection with their audience. A Digital Ecologist® applies strategic principles from both natural and digital ecologies to help organizations thrive across multiple ecosystems. Daniel hosts podcasts, speaks at conferences, and his ideas have appeared in Inc, SmartBlog, MediaPost, Forbes, and Success Magazine.
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