4 Things New Site Owners Need to Understand about SEO

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I’ve been offering SEO workshops in Boston for several years now. While I know that eight hours isn’t enough time for someone to learn all there is to know about SEO (I’ve been in this industry for 13 years and I’m still learning!), I try to give as complete an overview as I can so at least everyone walks out of the workshop with a good grasp of the basics.

And while it’s a lot of information to process, there are four key points that I really try to hammer home and keep coming back to throughout the day. These four things aren’t technically action items but more of a mentality a new site owner needs to have when they are ready to start their own SEO campaign.

1. SEO is Long Term

If you need to drive 1,000 visitors to your site right now, then you are going to be sorely disappointed in SEO. SEO is a long term process that builds on itself and gains momentum with time—and time isn’t something you can force along, no matter how much on or offsite SEO work you do.

What you do today might not have a real tangible impact on your website for a few months, but chances are if you did it right you’ll be benefiting from that SEO action item for years down the road.

For instance, part of any good SEO campaign is content marketing and blogging. I’ve been writing in my company blog for over a year, along with a variety of other SEO sites including Search Engine Journal. My company blog publishes at least two posts a day Monday to Friday—that’s a lot of content!

Plenty of these posts get some social love, while others barely make a blip, but each one of those posts contributes to the overall impact of my SEO campaign. Just recently, I noticed that one of those blogs had been cited in a New York Times article; talk about a great link! I know that a year ago I never would have been found by a New York Times blogger, but because I embraced the fact that SEO is long term and that it requires patience, consistency, and dedication, my efforts paid off!

I know that most new site owners don’t want to wait six months or a year to see the value of their SEO campaign, but if you want to do SEO right, it’s going to take time.

2. Always Put Your Visitors Before the Search Engines

I feel like a lot fewer sites would get in trouble with search engine algorithm updates if they stopped worrying so much about the search engine algorithm. I realize that sounds kind of backwards, but in my experience, as long as you put your human visitors first in everything that you do for SEO, chances are it’s the kind of things the search engines are looking for.

Is that piece of content designed to actually inform and educate your readers or are you just looking to rank? Will this link send a few targeted visitors your way or just add one more link to your backlink portfolio? Stop chasing the algorithm and focus on doing things that will help you connect with your target audience!

When you put the search engines before your visitors that’s usually when sites start investing in techniques that are more likely to get them in trouble down the road.

3. There is No Secret to SEO Success

You want to know what the secret to SEO success is? Just doing it and making sure you do it right. There is no “trick” to catapult your website to the top (and actually stay there long term), and any SEO firm or consultant that tries to sell you otherwise is not the kind of SEO firm you want to trust your website to.

A few months ago several of my SEO clients got the same email from another SEO consultant named “Bob” that looked something like this:

Did you know your website isn’t ranking in the top ten for any of your keywords? And you only have 72 back links? With my help I can get your website to the front page of Google in only 2 months time! I’ve worked out the secret to SEO success and want to help your site.

First off, how does “Bob” know what keywords my clients are targeting as part of their SEO? (And plenty of them were in the top 10 for the record!) And secondly, where is Bob pulling is data about my client’s link profile? I’m fairly sure he doesn’t have access to their Google Webmaster Tools Account which tells me my clients actually have closer to 7,000 backlinks … but many new site owners that doesn’t understand or don’t know this information about their own site might fall for such a line simply because they don’t know.

4. Link Building is Forever

New site owners often ask me question like “Well, how long should I do link building?” or “How many links will I take to get where I want my SEO to be?”. There is no definite answer to either of those questions. Link building is forever. You might hit a certain benchmark that you set to measure your own SEO success but that doesn’t mean you get to ride off into the sunset on the back of your previous activities.

Every day you don’t bother with link building is another day your competition does and they get one step closer to unseating you. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of websites competing for the top spot in the SERPs—just because you reach it that doesn’t mean it’s yours forever. I’ve seen too many sites pull way back on their link building when they thought they had a ranking on lock down and their site just dropped through the SERPs over time.

Like I mentioned before, these aren’t really action items that you can take and implement today—but they are four critical ways of looking at and thinking about SEO that I feel more new site owners need to understand. If you can better wrap your head around what SEO really is, what it really


Nick Stamoulis
Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a full service Boston SEO firm. With nearly 13 years of experience in the Internet Marketing industry,... Read Full Bio
Nick Stamoulis
Nick Stamoulis
Nick Stamoulis

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  • David

    That is the best explanation I have ever read about SEO. It is so hard to explain to someone that just doesn’t understand. People tell me all the time that a client is paying you because you understand it and thats fine but if you can’t explain what you are doing you won’t make many sales

    • Amir

      Well i agree to you David, you explain it very well 🙂

      Its just not a process of one time that you do SEO for specific key term and just forget it. You have to do SEO for life there is no end of it. If you are not providing the new and unique content to your audience then its also create problem in enhancing your online business.

  • Roni Mmi

    this is certainly true. i have few website today got depromoted ON PR. few new website earn Pagerank. its a wave . if you have good content…google will always love you.

    • Anoop

      Yha, You are right.

      I think best way to success in SEO is… “Starts loving Google”

  • Adam Thompson

    Nick, this is a great punchlist!

    I think another good item to understand is: If You Want To Rank #1, First Focus On Being The Best

    Google’s goal is to rank the best page/site/company #1. So if you want to be ranked #1, make sure your website is a better resource for that keyword/topic than any other website on the net. If you’re not the absolute best, why should Google rank you #1? Or why should a webmaster link to your site if there is a better site they could link to instead? Offering the best to your visitors won’t automatically make you rank #1, but it will make it much easier for you to build backlinks, attract an audience, earn social shares, and eventually gain a top ranking.

  • aromal

    I didnt read any article like this anywhere about seo. It explains almost everything about search engine optimization. Great post.

  • Danielle Braxton

    So glad I read this today. This helps me in my planning. Thanks for sharing.

  • Alain Nijholt – BMC Internet Marketing

    Most people do not understand SEO at all, they all want the quick winst. I have experienced some customers who wanted black hat seo in the beginning. After spending tons of words to prevent them to go black hat they accepted that. But they where not willing to build links and were suprised they got stuck on page 3. After a while the asked for a white head seo offer, they were offended (all that money for linkbuilding?)

    SEO is worth a lot but most people do not appreciate it 😉

  • Karl Gephart

    Well said, Nick! Most people have to realize that SEO is a long-term investment with no guarantees due to ever-changing algorithms! It shouldn’t be viewed as a monthly expense or a cure for last-minute bankruptcy.

  • Nirav Barot

    Hi Nick,
    It;s seems like a old wine in new bottle with added flavor to make it more addicted.. 🙂 (Please don’t make it a controversial statement) i am saying in positive manner that all n all it’s very nice post.

  • Brian Sloan

    That is one of the primary lessons I am having to learn. If I really want a successful online business, I’ve got to look at the long term. I have got to discipline myself to write, write, and write. Everybody wants a shortcut, but the guys who know their stuff knows that it takes work and time. Thanks for reminding all of us.

  • Jeff Weiss

    Nice post Nick, somebody had to say it. Love the email from Bob. I’ve received a few of those and my clients have sent me dozens. Hopefully nobody will be freaking out about the Webmaster Tools glitch from the past 48 hours and wonder what happened to all their backlinks.

  • James Thomas

    Hi, Nick Thanks for sharing, this information is really helpful for me in planning for my site , in my experience i got very good results on practicing seo.

  • Jeff Brown (@4JeffBrown)

    Excellent points Nick. You bring great understanding of what SEO is and what it is not. My walk-a-way is that SEO is a lifestyle approach and not several separate events you create. SEO is what you do everyday that will matter down the road. Thanks for sharing your great insight 🙂

  • Dario Zadro

    Great article Nick! In addition to no secrets, I would also like to add that there always will be setbacks in the SEO process. It’s important to not get discouraged, and can be quite an art to communicate this to the client. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Simon Derbyshire

    Hi Nick, thanks for these great tips. My background is print design but im finding myself delving into web design now and again so any new advice is greatly appreciated. Time to start blogging I guess! Keep up the good work. Simon.

  • Steve Phelps

    Nick, great synopsis of SEO. We are constantly talking about the longer term success to be built with quality SEO. Unfortunately there are quite a few Internet marketing firms that do pitch quick, even overnight results. Keep the good info coming!

  • Mitch Ballard

    Awesome read, most of the people don’t understand the importance of SEO and how much time do it really needs to done it properly. But I think after reading this excellent post many of them do practice what is been thought and get the desired results.

  • Jan

    Wow finally found this brilliant article , Social Bookmarking also is important for SEO that are one of the mot important thing..


  • Ecommerce Partners

    Like you said “SEO campaign is content marketing and blogging.” If you have unique content that users are actually interested in then it will be shared around the web a lot easier than content written for search engines. Like you said put the users first. I know creating unique and interesting content can be difficult for some industries but that’s where you get to use your creative side. Not all SEO content will follow the same formula; you may create an infographic for one client and a 5 page research paper for another. Tailor your unique content as much as possible to get the best results.

  • Hussain

    Glad to read this useful post you describe it in really good way and the last point about link building is really helpful for me.

  • Sinym

    Link building for new sites often leads you to manual penalty from google. so be safe and do not hurry