I founded my website, www.findgreatlawyers.com, almost 14 years ago. It’s a great service because we are a law firm that will speak to people for free about and Illinois legal matter. But it’s also a terrible business model because it’s dependent upon Google liking us in order for most people to find us.
Google and I had a great relationship in the beginning. It was new and exciting. Back in 2001 Yahoo and AOL were the big players in search. There used to be something called Overture which was the top pay per click campaign platform back in the day. When I started advertising on Google, they were selective as to whose ads they would show and charged per impression.
But where Google and I really fell in love is when they became the dominant search engine. I dedicated my time to learning what would make Google happy and did whatever I could to keep them happy. This meant that my web pages were ranking consistently at the top of the search engines. And it lasted for years.
Google loved me because I was doing things the right way. No spam, not fake pages. I had people linking to my site, not because I asked them to, but because they thought my site was worthy. I loved Google back because it was great for business. I was helping a ton of people because they knew I existed. Everything was great.
In mid 2013 though, things began to change. I saw Google looking at other law firms. In the beginning I ignored it because I’m not the jealous type. Google still put me first and besides, it’s not like I wasn’t looking at other search engines. But suddenly, not only was Google crushing on other firms, they were ignoring me altogether at times. My page on divorce in Illinois (http://www.findgreatlawyers.
Suddenly Google was only paying attention to me when nobody else was around such as searches for niche issues that not many others were talking about. I did this for my readers and I also did it for Google because they wanted me to provide good, relevant content. Suddenly I wasn’t good enough for them.
I tried talking to Google, but Google didn’t want to talk to me and directly me to their friends on message boards. Those friends were only interested in their problems and didn’t want to hear about what was wrong with me.
At times it seemed like our relationship was getting better, but by the end of 2013 I could tell it was getting worse. So I thought to myself, what would I tell someone that called my office. The answer was clear. I needed to seek outside, professional help. I went to a SEO consultant.
My paid help was good because he told it to me straight. If I wanted to get back together with Google, I had to fix me. Over time I had gotten lazy and had allowed some thin content on my site. While my appearance was attractive to Google in 2001, more than a decade later I looked the same, so I needed to update my look if I wanted to get noticed. In the beginning I was easy to talk to, but my consultant helped me realize that I was making it harder for G (my nickname for them) to figure out what I was really saying and what was most important on my site.
The consultant told me it wouldn’t be easy. It would be a lot of work. It would take time. But deep down G still loved me and I could win them back. So I made the changes. Changing my look was hard to agree to, but when I was done I felt like I went from Joe Dirt to an underwear model. I had never looked so good. Even my friends noticed the changes.
Google started to notice too. Things appeared to be headed in the right direction. Then suddenly they plateaued again. It’s not that we have no relationship, it’s just that it’s half of what it was before. And as much as I like these other search engines, Google is really the one for me. But I can’t get her to change her mind.
I’ve been talking to a new expert on relationships with G. But that would be more money that I’m not sure I have. And maybe I should just be happy that we had this great run together. If Google doesn’t love me, then they don’t realize what they are missing. The most important thing is that I love myself, love my website and love the service that I provide. If that’s not good enough for Google then they don’t know what they are missing. At least that’s what my friends say. Maybe I should start focusing on other search engines. Askjeeves.com used to think I was cute. Altavista.com was alright back in the day, I wonder what they are up to? MSN.com seems to have lost a little weight, maybe they’d be interested.
That’s right. Who needs Google anyway? I’m moving on. I have to look out for me.
But maybe I’ll just drive by Google’s house one last time and sit in my car and wait for them. I haven’t tried serenading Google with my guitar yet either. And I haven’t left Google 50 voicemails yet to see if that will get them to talk to me. But if that doesn’t work then I’m really done with them for good.
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