Accompanying my college freshmen mentees on a tour of the Fineline Printing Group plant the other day, I noticed a poster on the wall with a two-word headline:
The headline related to to the "green" initiatives undertaken by the company. (Fineline executive Phil Mikesell explained that the company offsets 100% of its electricity with wind energy.)
Interestingly, that same week a business blogging client had posed a question: "Is it legal to ‘trick" people to our blog? …Should we use topical phrases to aid our visits?"
The Google Webmasters site has something to say about "tricking users" to gain traffic: DON"T. "Don’t load pages with irrelevant keywords." ‘Keyword stuffing’ refers to the practice of loading a page with keywords in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking… "This results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site’s ranking," warns Google. The recommendation: "Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context."
Reading this, I was reminded of the phrase "sustain ability". Rather than taking the easy way out, the short-term solution, Fineline Printing had opted for the longer view to help sustain their business and support their community. In many ways, the same "long-way-round-is-the-shortest-way-home" approach is true of blogging.
Momentum in the online rankings race comes from frequency of posting blogs and from building up longevity by consistently posting content on the Web over long periods of time. Down time, of course, is rare for a small business; business owners who can maintain the drill-sergeant discipline needed to increase web rankings are rarer still. The task of playing the kind of sustained game that “wins search” might fall, in many cases, to professional ghost bloggers.
Whether we’re talking about a company’s blog rankings or its environmentally "green" initiatives, there’s no quick payoff. The spoils go not to the swift and certainly not to the "tricky", but to those who have the ability to sustain a long-term, honest, effort.