There is a common mistake that many new website owners make, and it’s about the concept of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). For the most part, those who don’t have experience with it believe it’s something you do once or twice, then you forget about it. In reality, SEO is a consistent practice. So, it is in every website owner’s best interest to understand that SEO is all about the long haul and that it’s not going to be instant. That means all the experts promising you higher overnight rankings are not being completely truthful.
Now you might be wondering why you need to constantly tweak your SEO strategy? Or maybe there’s a shortcut you can use? In order to find out the answers, keep reading.
Why SEO Is A Marathon
The best way to explain why SEO is like a marathon is to look at the way search engines operate. If you were to compare how Google operates now, and what it was like ten years ago, you would notice a dramatic difference.
This is because search engines never stop adapting to the habits of their users. Instead, they continue to add and fine-tune technology in such a way that users become completely dependent on their services.
And you can bet your site the changes will never stop. Because the more people get comfortable with something, the more they search for change.
What does this all mean to you exactly? Well, with SEO you are trying to make your site more visible. And getting to the first pages are definitely possible, but there are many variables involved.
Not only do you have to keep the changing algorithms of search in mind, but you have to stay up-to-date with trends and your competition. Everything will be changing around, getting more focused towards making users happy, which means you need to keep changing if you want to stay relevant.
The Current Situation
As it stands, search engines make it pretty obvious what they want from websites. And by doing a little research, you’ll learn all about these requirements, ranging from informative content to page loading speeds.
Once you have all these areas covered according to the set requirements, it becomes a matter of maintenance. So, no, you won’t have to do a massive amount of work each day, but there are certain things that need to do to stay consistent. For example, posting quality content two or three times a week, makings sure the site is responsive, check for important software updates, etc.
Basically, everything you do can be considered a step towards the next thing that needs to get done. And if you take the right steps, it’s a lot easier to maintain an SEO campaign.
SEO Takes Time
Another tough reality is the fact that SEO takes time to show results. Don’t expect things to happen in a day or two, because there are simply no guarantees involved and you don’t control all the variables.
All you can do is think smart and do the work. And if you really want to take a shortcut, the best way to save loads of time is to work with a professional.
Ah, clients. We love them. They are our bread and butter and helping them realise their search goals is naturally what we’re all about. Of course, helping them understand what their search goals actually are – or should be – is another kettle of fish.
Read four of the most common yet misguided client requests below.
1. We want to rank top in Google for ‘biscuit news’ but we don’t actually want to mention biscuits in the content
If only this was possible! Actually, on second thoughts, no. Could you imagine the state the web would be in if optimisation really worked like this? It all goes back to search intent – if content does not meet user expectations then search engines such as Google will not present it to them. You can’t trick engines by mentioning something in a headline but talking about something entirely different in the body – they are much, much cleverer than that. In fact, since 2017 Google et al have been demanding to see even more relevant detail in body copy than ever before. Deep diving into a topic and its associated interests is really what it’s all about.
2. We need to rank #1 for this keyword by next week
Perhaps the most common request of all. And in our heads we’re thinking, “Of course you do – but so do 500+ other websites.” Lots of clients I’ve come into contact with do not consider SEO to be a time-consuming process – most seem to be under the impression that adding a smattering of big number keywords to a page will work itself out because “Google will do the rest”. No. It. Won’t. Even a new Telegraph webpage, which comes from a domain of longstanding authority, can take weeks or even months to settle.
But expecting to rank at number one – even without a given timeframe – is a mistake. It could be that the client’s website is not authoritative enough to land a page-one slot or that the keyphrase they’re gunning for is so competitive and far removed from conversion opportunity that it would be a pointless exercise.It’s also worth pointing out that search engines can rank and un-rank content without obvious reasons so even if your efforts are improving client ranks today, tomorrow might be a different story. Clients should therefore be encouraged to take the long term view and create content pieces that will enable them to build authority in the relevant field. Targeting keywords big and small is essential – those long-tail keywords, that are cheaper and “less popular” are actually often closer to points of conversion and should be considered “low hanging fruit”.
3. I need every trace of this webpage wiped from the internet by X date
This demand crops up when clients are working to specific campaign timelines, meaning certain messaging or detail can expire on certain dates. It’s understandable, therefore, that pages or content marketing efforts which feature this detail will need to be edited or removed from the front and centre.
Unfortunately, a page that goes live on the web cannot simply be erased with the push of a button. Certainly, we can delete pages from a content management system and yes, we can redirect old links into new destinations on servers, but we cannot control search engine indexes, old social posts that refer to content pieces and any other platforms that may have lifted the content and re-published it on their end.
If content detail is so sensitive to a client’s marketing schedule then discussions should be had at the beginning to manage expectations.