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Old 12-30-2005   #1
Mikkel deMib Svendsen
 
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Moderator Note: Thread split from Dealing With Duplicate Content On Dynamic Site.

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It is a means to a goal - the goal of selling more products, but never ever a goal in its own right.
In general I would agree with you, and most likely for this case as well. However, I HAVE in fact come around a few rare cases where the top rank in itself was the only purpose - not the qualified leads or sales it could bring.

The most recent case was a company that was planning to be sold shortly. They, in fact, wanted to give me 2-3% of their company stocks to put them in a top 3 position in Google.com for a very competitive phrase ONLY because they had a very strong feeling they would mark up the 3% many times in the higher pirce they would get for the company if they could show that top 3 rank.

Yes, investors are STUPID if they pay millions more for a company just because of one keyword ranking but I don't doubt they would in this case. This is just real life as we all have to deal with it

Last edited by dannysullivan : 01-03-2006 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 12-30-2005   #2
calebw
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Yes, investors are STUPID if they pay millions more for a company just because of one keyword ranking but I don't doubt they would in this case.
Is it turning 2006 in a couple days or 2000? I'm not surprised investors would pay more because of a top 3 position... but it IS very sad because that doesn't always relate to higher profits. Anyway... have a great new years!
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Old 12-30-2005   #3
Mikkel deMib Svendsen
 
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Totally agree, but I don't think stupid investors died out in 2000 - and I don't expect them to do in 2006 either. I guess, they just have too much money - and you know what? I am happy to help them spend it stupidly, if thats really what they want
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Old 12-30-2005   #4
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Hehe, yup, have seen it a fair few times, Mikkel, but definitely deserves a thread all of its own.

One of my own clients was considering a purchase of a company that had ranked well in searches relating to their pretty competitive keyword areas for a few years. I said it was worth considering as a purely build or buy decision and asked what the asking price was. I actually laughed out loud when they told me they were being asked for 10 million (UK pounds).

Thing was that the site in question was reliant on one single SEO 'trick' that anyone could see was coming to the end of its lifespan. I said that if the deals and customer base was worth it, it could be worth 1 million, but that otherwise it would take the company only 6 months to build the same thing. Therefore the real value of the thing had to be based on six months earnings, the customer and partner lists, and that was about all.

Thankfully the client took my advice and withdrew from negotiations.

Just a couple of months later, I got an urgent call from the owners of the site for sale. Right in the middle of negotiating the sale, they'd lost all their rankings. They were pretty desperate, as they were losing well over 10k per day in revenues without the search positions they were utterly reliant upon, and worse still, stood to lose the deal to sell the company for anything up to 10 million.

The finishing details are almost irrelevant to the above, but yes, I was able to stabilise things enough for them to finish negotiating the sale for a little under the 10 million. Last I heard, the buyers were still struggling to find a way to recoup their money, and even ended up firing the first CEO after takeover.

Yes, sometimes the site position can be seen as its value. It is almost invariably stupid, and almost always results in the buyers losing a lot of money.

I have to stand fully behind my original statement:
Quote:
Second, getting good Google placement is never ever a goal. It is a means to a goal - the goal of selling more products, but never ever a goal in its own right.
After all, this is a forum, and I believe such is best suited for sharing good advice, not helping to propogate stupid and harmful business practices.
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Old 01-04-2006   #5
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Not just stupid investors

Quote:
Originally Posted by calebw
Is it turning 2006 in a couple days or 2000? I'm not surprised investors would pay more because of a top 3 position... but it IS very sad because that doesn't always relate to higher profits. Anyway... have a great new years!
Isn't the issue way deeper than this?

The way I see it the most tangible evidence, for a person with no insight in SEO, as to whether a campaign is a success or not is how the positions in SERPS have changed an if they now have a top 10 position (or top 5, top 3 etc..)

Naturally it's up to all of us in the SEM industry to educate our clients, but nevertheless it's a real issue.

Where I'm from the most successfull SEO companies sell first and foremost by giving out top 10 guarantees. In my opinion this can only lead to one thing; The SEO company taking shortcuts and optimizing for "easy to rank" keywords. In essance a worse result for the client.
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Old 01-04-2006   #6
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Yes there are some very inexperienced CEO's

I had a company come to me for advice about top rankings on Yahoo. They were about to sign another contract with an SEO for 2k US/month for top position in Yahoo. The sad but funny truth was this "SEO" was simply using pay per click and had them "ranked" with low CPC keywords in the paid ads!
He wasnt spending more than a couple hundered a month in clicks.

Another "SEO" was being paid by how much he could increase the website "hits" by. They had already paid him 35k for a years worth of increases. They were more than upset when I informed them that all he was doing was adding transparent gifs to each page every month.

Was this in 98? No just last year in good old 05.
Just amazing.

Unfortunately this is what gives true seo's & sems a bad rep. And I certainly agree with everyone here that our collective honesty to our clients will improve our reputation and preserve our industry.

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Old 01-06-2006   #7
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Seen it here too...

I have had advertisers actually want to get temporary results higher in SEO and SEM so they can brag to potential investors (which they think allows them to actually charge more for franchise opportunities) b/c they "can control" their listings once they come on board... Very interesting indeed how the average person views the power of high visibility on the search engines. They often think that top placement means that person must be the best, when we really know it has no bearing whatsoever.
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Old 01-07-2006   #8
Black_Knight
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The only real reason you'd ever want a top ranking is when you want the most page views and have no interest in conversions - exactly the position with a lot of sites being prepared for sale to people who think Page Views are a valuable metric.

It is technically also possible to use a top ranking to pre-poison the offerings of other companies. If your company's approach is radically different from all others, a top ranking page about how to spot bad products (that focusses on all the selling points of the other companies) can be a powerful guerilla tactic. Of course, the risk there is of coming across as a screwball for disagreeing with the rest of the world, damaging credibility, so is not a highly recommended tactic.
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Old 01-09-2006   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black_Knight
The only real reason you'd ever want a top ranking is when you want the most page views and have no interest in conversions - exactly the position with a lot of sites being prepared for sale to people who think Page Views are a valuable metric.

It is technically also possible to use a top ranking to pre-poison the offerings of other companies. If your company's approach is radically different from all others, a top ranking page about how to spot bad products (that focusses on all the selling points of the other companies) can be a powerful guerilla tactic. Of course, the risk there is of coming across as a screwball for disagreeing with the rest of the world, damaging credibility, so is not a highly recommended tactic.
No actually it is a selling method many have used to gather clients.... rank well for their terms and they will come to you for the traffic. Whether it is a managed PPC account of smart keywords (couldn't resist), generated searchers from organic pages or well placed links or banners... you need traffic to convert to customers.
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Old 01-10-2006   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Knight
The only real reason you'd ever want a top ranking is when you want the most page views and have no interest in conversions - exactly the position with a lot of sites being prepared for sale to people who think Page Views are a valuable metric.
Agreed Ammon, though I tend to believe these companies have stumbled out of an Ice Age and into the Medieval Age, from Page Views to Unique Browsers/Visitors. For many companies, especially those from traditional media industries, the prevalent goal for a website is audience reach whereas ROI, conversion and other value-return metrics are secondary objectives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussiewebmaster
...rank well for their terms and they will come to you for the traffic.
A: Hey, this site is ranking 1st for 'our widget', let's make them an offer for leads or better yet, let's acquire their site!
B:How much?
A:Nielsen and Comscore say they have 500,000 unique browsers per month.
B:Let's pay them $6 per browser
A:O.K.

Based on a true story
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Old 01-10-2006   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shor
A: Hey, this site is ranking 1st for 'our widget', let's make them an offer for leads or better yet, let's acquire their site!
B:How much?
A:Nielsen and Comscore say they have 500,000 unique browsers per month.
B:Let's pay them $6 per browser
A:O.K.

Based on a true story
If you work in the industry you should know how long they have been holding those spots.... the long-term conversion numbers are what I would be looking at first... if that will pay the way then the rest is a matter of improving the landing pages, increasing ROI and lowering CPA.....
true you can get to a certain spot from scratch but it generally takes some time... if the difference in that time would allow the purchased site to make enough money to decrease the gap between develop site cost versus buy off the rack then you have more details to consider.
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Old 01-10-2006   #12
Black_Knight
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieWebmaster
If you work in the industry you should know how long they have been holding those spots...
Let me go back to my earlier example for a moment and pull out the following point:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black_Knight
Thing was that the site in question was reliant on one single SEO 'trick' that anyone could see was coming to the end of its lifespan.
Now bear in mind that the site had owned excellent positions for a couple of years. Knowing the history made the value look excellent. Knowing that the trick was a trick, and one the engines had been working on for a while was what really gave the true value - that there were just months left in the lifespan.

As for the earlier point:
Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieWebmaster
No actually it is a selling method many have used to gather clients.... rank well for their terms and they will come to you for the traffic
That is true for some.

However, the biggest driver for SEO that I have seen is affiliates. So many companies have seen how well their affiliates are doing and thought to themselves "Hey, if they can do that when all they have to work with is a small slice of our action, why can't we do it even better?"

Affiliates have probably driven about a third to a half of the general acceptance and demand for SEO by showing companies that were ignoring the value of good listings just how much business it could drive.

Once past a given point, in-house becomes cheaper than outsource, and driving your own traffic may well be a cheaper option. How much do you pay your high-ranking affiliates each year vs how much would it cost to out-rank them yourself...
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