You can spend hours reading about the best optimisation tactics to help your site rank well on Google. Or rather you should, because without expert advice, it can be tough to actually achieve the rank your site deserves.
There are plenty of pitfalls to avoid and you should ideally be able to use SEO to prevent your site from resting in unnecessary obscurity, or alternatively, finding itself the subject of punitive action from Google, after the transgression of page quality rules, whether or not you feel it is justified.
Over at Search Engine Roundtable, writer Barry Schwartz, points out that some webmasters are pushed to extremes when it comes to handling a negative Google ranking.
In particular, it seems that sites which were once riding high in the SERPs, only to come crashing down after one of the search giant’s recent algorithmic updates, are most likely to be managed by those desperately seeking a get-out clause.
The Google Webmaster Help forum is one of the best places to go if you want to read sob stories posted by site owners who have run out of ideas when it comes to SEO and are, instead, trying to appeal to the humans behind the search engine for leniency, whether or not they actually deserve it.
Schwartz points to a number of threads which are personally addressed to Google’s Matt Cutts, but clearly visible to all forum users. Most explain that a once buoyant site has been struck down and now struggles to operate as a business because of its ranking woes, with the authors effectively asking for a reappraisal, or at least an explanation.
While it is definitely sad to see webmasters failing to make remedial changes to their sites and thus resorting to shot-in-the-dark forum posts for help from on high, it should serve as a valuable lesson to others and demonstrate that good SEO practices are incredibly important for the long term survival of a business.
In many instances, these dispossessed site owners will have previously relied on black hat SEO solutions that provide short term benefits of an artificial nature, without really providing any kind of firm future that can be turned into a stable source of income.
Indeed, it is possible that some sites that were riding high before Panda and Penguin arrived, might have led to their owners holding on to a feeling of entitlement, which just does not cut it in the tougher modern market.
If your site has taken a bit of a beating and is still struggling to make up for lost ground on Google, it might be worth studying your higher ranking competitors, to see why they have achieved so much and what tactics you might be able to employ so that you are better able to become a worthy rival.
There is no quick fix solution for attaining a good Google ranking, or at least not one that avoids underhanded exploits. Instead, webmasters should seek sustainable SEO and avoid ever having to plead with Matt Cutts as a last resort.