Mike Grehan on Quality vs Quantity in Search Marketing

Thread Title:
Search marketing: Cart? Horse?
Thread Description:

Mike Grehans article threadlinked above looks at the way search marketers can spin the results they achieve for clients over the actual benefit to the clients bottom line.

He argues that often, SEM's sell clients on taking their small amount of indexed pages on a dynamic site and fixing it so the the site becomes spider friendly. As a result of the fix, the client soon has thousands of pages indexed, but is that actually worth having?

Mike argues that having thousands of pages indexed does a company no good unless those pages rank and that as a measurement of ROI on hiring a search firm, it's a poor one.

It's well worth a read, and certainly worthy of discussion. He has made some obvious ommisions though:

  • What about the value of internal linking?
  • About the thousands of unique phrases such pages can rank for - even if they are not money terms they often have value in less immediate areas.

From the article:

Some may say: Well if you have thousands and thousands of items in a search engine index, you have thousands more chances of being found. However, if conducting a search at Google, for instance, doesn't bring back one page in the top 20 right now, what makes the other thousands you've just fed in stand any more of a chance?

Which is damn good point right? It's a good read, go check it out and then air your opinion...


linkpop is good for the belly...

I always thought that hoarding link popularity was the best way to get lots and lots of pages indexed :)

What is there to link to on this site and why would anybody want to link to it anyway?

I think that is where the average webmaster really misses out. you can make up for it by renting links or automating link building or other creative short term link strategies, but its way easier to let the happy social web forces that be work for you than trying to work against them.

I think the route to go short term is to hoard whatever link popularity you can get cheap and then longterm try to figure out how to make the right social relationships, business partnerships, or cool content that will give you an unfair competitive advantage.

I am shocked

Wow, I don't usually disagree with Mike, but I'm completely bewildered about this article, and keep thinking I'm missing something.

Of course simply opening up a site to be crawler-friendly in and of itself isn't going to necessarily help bring more targeted traffic. The idea isn't to get more pages indexed for the sake of getting more pages indexed. Perhaps his clients did have that mixed up.

However, the idea of opening up the site to the crawlers is that you can then have more pages to optimize. Every single page should in fact be optimized (on-the-page stuff) for phrases people realy are using.

Mike seems to be saying the only purpose of these pages would be to get links to them. Yeah, that's nice too, but if you optimize them on-the-page first, and also make sure that all the internal links are optimized to them, you can bring amazing amounts of targeted traffic.

I'm really just confused by this article, as I'm sure Mike knows this.

Mike is making a couple of po

Mike is making a couple of points and perhaps that's what has people confused. Overall, he is hitting nails squarely on head. Mainly, he sees dumb clients out there who are using the wrong metrics - when they know better (if they would simply dis-connect from the Web for a moment and use their "regular" business smarts/metrics).

Yes, he is missing some points - such as the value delivered by terms that generate "non-purchase" traffic (in that they don't transact during that session) and/or traffic that is "influencing" in nature (moves someone closer to a future purchase). I think his point, though, is clearly that clients are the ones who are blinding trusting SEO experts and not using good business sense to set proper metrics. That's his main point and he's right.

Interesting Article...

I always enjoy reading Mike Grehan, the man has a way with words.

In my personal experience, it seems that, there are many cases I encounter of search marketers looking to solve the technical barriers of crawling to get pages into the index, before analysing the much harder challenge of getting that all important, valid top 20/30 rank. And that seems, to me, rather like putting the cart before the horse.

Without solving the technical barriers first, it is a rather futile exercise at getting that all important, valid top 10 rank. The technical aspects of web development come before the SEO does, not the other way around. And yes, the organic SEO needs to be part of the development plan when addressing the technical barriers.

Every single database that we've opened up for spidering has produced wonders for the client in both conversions and quality traffic. It's a given if you are at least covering the basics of organic SEO.

I think Mike might be overloo

I think Mike might be overlooking a few things - the most important one being the power the dynamics of websites. I have uptimized many dynamic websites and/or aded dynamic content to static ones in the last couple of years; and more and more often I find that having a dynamic, ever growing, section of content (such as a foum or blog) not only give you those extra lottery tickets but it also seems to boost rankings for the rest of the website. I have experienced this to be true even in very competitive industries.

He is off course right that indexing in itself does very little - but who works only for indexing? OK, maybe some are stupid enough to do but I never seem to meet them :)

However, indexing IS the first and most important step in getting more pages to rank: They won't bloody rank if they aren't in the index. But that is only the first step - noone said different. At least, I didn't.

I often follow Derrick Wheelers formula:


- Indexing
- Ranking
- Trafic
- Action

I don't think that needs further explanaition in here...

Having said all that, if you employ not only a indexing barrier removal plan but also a plan for how to dynamically uptimize the indexed stuff then you can do VERY good. I know by experience :)

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