Cleveland is a town that was once known for it’s incredible business growth — growth that petered out almost a century ago and hasn’t returned. In the last two decades, Cleveland has undertaken some impressive efforts to ‘shortcut’ its resurrection, including spending massive money on several projects designed to make the city attractive (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, anyone?)
They failed for the same reason that many Internet entrepreneurs fail: they tried to ‘shortcut’ growth. The problem isn’t the lack of big, shiny things in Cleveland: it’s the fact that the view from the street looks more like decay than growth. And just like Cleveland, SEO ‘shortcuts’ pulled by the entrepreneurs of the Internet often produces a few big, shiny numbers…and no real results.
Regardless of what some claims might tell you, there is no ATM on the Internet. You cannot ever just ‘print money’ when you need it. The only way to build a business online is to build a business. When you use ‘shortcuts’, you end up with — at best — a site that is going to make you some money for a few months before Google’s next algorithm change kicks your ‘tricks’ to the curb.
Cleveland is starting to realize their mistake. It began in University Circle, and it’s starting to spread from there — genuine economic growth projects that start with the fundamentals (jobs). It’s not going to turn the whole city around overnight, because that’s not how growth works in the real world.
If you have a website that had it’s SERPs killed by Penguin or some other recent Google change, congratulations! You have an opportunity in front of you: a choice. You can either remake your website with different ‘tricks’ and lose your pants again in a few months, or you can do what they’re doing right now in Cleveland: SEO — the slow, near-certain growth of someone interested in long-term success.
Mind Your Business
The number one reason that people want SEO shortcuts? They want their income to be on autopilot. They read books like The 4-hour Workweek and read message boards like The Warrior Forum and they want to magically have income, right now, forever, without working. Let me let you in on a secret: that kind of automatic income is totally possible to attain — with years of effort put in up front.
Put short, you can’t put your business on autopilot when you don’t have a business yet. So start with the assumption that you can be an independent millionaire several years from now, and start building toward that by beginning with the fundamentals: a great product or service, a website that converts better than any of the world’s religions, and rock-solid SEO. Then be patient, keep minding your business, and grow.
P.S. The Single Most Important Secret to Growing Anything
Here’s the one thing that you need to know, more than anything else, in order to accomplish literally any goal you have. It’s a single word, and it’s among the most powerful words in the world: tracking. When you track something, you learn how it works. Hunters track elk, and by tracking the elk, they learn where they feed, where they sleep, what they eat, and most importantly where to find and how to kill them to feed their families. Dieters track what they eat, when they exercise, their weight, their body fat percentage, and their circumferences — and by doing it, they learn what makes them lose weight, what turns fat into muscle, and how to manipulate their bodies.
SEO people — real ones — track hits, bounces, conversions, cost-per-click, cost-per-conversion, profit-per-customer, profit-per-click, RoI, total incoming links, total unique root domains linked from, SERP positions by keyword, and dozens of other variables. It’s only by tracking that information that we learn how commerce flows around and through search engines. If you want your business to grow, and you have to track these things, and if you can’t do it yourself, you have to hire someone to do it for you. Without tracking, there can be no understanding of what makes you grow, and without understanding, you’re going to fail eventually.