I was going to sit down and write a post with my usual brand of geekiness. You know, some more eye-watering patent or IR paper analysis that the search world uses to get to sleep at night? Then I thought of something worth getting off my chest that seems not to get enough attention out there…Since this is a ‘Search Biz’ article, right?
You see, I recently co-hosted a chat session (in zee Dojo) with the lovely Dana Lookadoo on ‘the Business of SEO’ which the gang seemed to be quite keen on. It is interesting that we don’t talk more about it. As we were musing (about a wide variety of topics from proposals to contracts), I touched on what I lovingly term; Task ROI. And it seems to often be an alien concept…or at least one not openly discussed.
So, if you will spare a few moments, allow me to share…
What is Task ROI?
Search engine optimization is never in a void. It is never a best case scenario. As long as there are budgets (clients, in-house, agency) there are going to be limitations to any SEO program. If you read the blog-o-sphere, took some courses, no matter how you keep on top of things, it is generally the whole ball of wax approach. This can be a flawed business model.
What I mean by that is if you did every possible SEO tactic that we hear about; would it really be an effective use of time? When we do business in this thing of ours, we must always be cognisant of the budgets in play and try to get the most bang from the buck.
- Sure, you could spend all day tweaking semantic phrase relations on some third tier pages or you could be working on new content to attract links on core target terms. Which are you going to do?
- You could re-write the entire content management system to get a some slightly better architecture or URL structure. But is it worth the cost?
- We could spend weeks crafting crap hat link wheels or spend that time working content strategy and doing outreach for links instead?
Getting the idea here? And even those situations are not always straight forward. With different sites of different ages, different sizes, will require different answers. What you should always bear in mind is that each activity will have a cost (in time and resources) and efficacy.
Know your site: Know your SERPs
Now that we have the concept, it is time to implement it in the most effective way. This is where SEO becomes more of an art. You will need to be intimate with the site you are working on to know where the strengths and weaknesses are. Each and every site is unique. There is no catch-all solution nor tactic that is going to be best suited to every situation.
I cannot do that for you…. This is where experience comes into play.
You need to assess each situation inclusive of budgetary limitations and create a program that gets the most for the least. Some elements worth considering include;
- Implementation schedule – how easily can the change be made?
- Value of activity – what are the expected (SEO) outcomes from the activity?
- Conversion potential – will it increase primary or secondary conversions?
- Cost v reward – what portion of the budget for what results?
- Future proofing– does the activity stand up over time? (more here)
This can be particularly important these days with the increase in local/universal search as well as the spectre of social search. Where does one invest their time in these? What content strategies are needed to make use of them and how will we get the investment back? Personally real-time/social search hasn’t made the kind of inroads that would support specific targeting unless there were active PR/social programs already in place.
This helps to highlight the concepts to be considered for each action taken.
Provide a service of value
And so the next time you are reading about some SEO theory… considering implementing a given strategy, stop for a moment. You need to weigh the resources at hand and the potential benefit from any optimization tactic. You simply cannot operate from the void and start being an SEO sheeple and doing everything some blog said was ‘good SEO’. That simply isn’t realistic.
You might also want to stop and consider the advice given in the SEO world without qualification. Your situation is unique… thus your programming must be as well. When deciding which tactics to use, which changes to implement; always think Task ROI. It cannot be stressed enough that many times the success of a given SEO program (from a investment standpoint) is going to be dependent on the decisions you make along the way.
Feel free to share your own approaches to prioritizing in the comments
The name is David (aka the Gypsy), I run the SEO Training Dojo, do consulting and manage SEO campaigns while getting geeky at my day blog about SEO stuff. You can also catch my weekly Search and Social news here on SEJ! Thanks for riding along.