Image by Rebekah May
It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.
– W. Edwards Deming
It’s safe to say the way search engines work is changing; but then, it’s been safe to say that since the first engine rolled out. Is SEO changing, though? Think about it:
- Since people first started using the Web to advertise their business, they’ve been hiring other people to figure out how to make sure their business gets visibility.
- Search ranking, and thus, SEO, is becoming more competitive. But then – hasn’t it been “becoming” more competitive each year for several years?
- Choosing the right keywords to target is essential – but hasn’t it always been?
So, then is SEO, as in the whole, encompassing “Search Engine Optimization”, changing or are the number of methods just growing?
Changing SEO Methods
The number one, never changing method of SEO is the three T’s (tracking, testing, tweaking). As far as I’m concerned, Alfred Edward Perlman perfectly described the mindset of optimization almost 60 years ago:
“After you’ve done a thing the same way for two years, look it over carefully. After five years, look at it with suspicion. And after ten years, throw it away and start all over.” (New York Times, 3 July 1958)
In yesteryears, SEO might have been nothing more than a few reciprocal links and some on page optimization. Today, it could be a long list: article marketing, blogs and other content development, URL structures, back links, you name it. While methods may change, grow or depreciate, the same two truths hold firm. They are:
- An SEO campaign cannot be thrown together. It has to be carefully planned – as any campaign should be.
- An SEO campaign has to be revisited intermittently and adjusted as necessary – as any campaign should be.
This is not news. These are the basics.
A side note on SEO service providers…
If you’re starting a marketing campaign and know nothing about marketing, would you consult a professional before starting? More likely than not, you would – you’re pushing hundreds or thousands of dollars down the drain that way, and you know it.
Now consider this; how much is it costing you to keep your online business going? Hosting, website design, writing (whether you do it or hire someone, it costs time or money), marketing perhaps… Are you willing to see all that go down the drain as well? You don’t have to consult with an SEO professional, but there is a degree of risk without at least checking your campaign with someone in the industry. End of lecture.
Succeeding in a Continually More Competitive Marketplace
So what does it take to succeed nowadays? What steps can you take? Here are just a few:
- Define your SEO strategy, content and site structure before beginning any of it. If you have a pre-existing site, define it anyway, and make necessary changes.
- Make sure the company or person designing your website understands at least the basics of good on page SEO structure and uses it accordingly.
- USE your analytics program. Most hosting providers have one and, if not, you can grab Google Analytics free. If you can’t see what’s happening on your site, how do you expect to know what to change and where?
- Don’t automatically go for the high search, high competitive terms. Start with the lower ones (thusly called “low hanging fruit”) and build traffic gradually.
- No matter what else you do, don’t ignore content. The search engines want and expect content. You have to provide it; it isn’t optional.
Lastly, understand the World Wide Web is the busiest place on Earth. Don’t believe me? In Africa, a continent full of third world countries,almost 111 million people use the Internet. In Asia, the last count was 825,094,396 Internet users. Worldwide, there’s almost 2 billion. (Statistics thanks to Internet World Stats )
It’s also the smallest place on Earth; companies in Germany can be your direct competition, even if you’re just a local online business shipping to three area codes. Be willing to change your strategy, your methods and your content to meet the needs of 1) your visitors and 2) the search engines. Survival isn’t mandatory, but it sure is nice.