The offices of TMD Marketing & Advertising are not unlike that of any other SEO services company. That being said, our office has been overtaken by the Waist Race, the unseen force of weight loss that, when unleashed upon an office setting, spreads like wildfire. Whether planning for holidays or taking brief advantage of COVID, being able to hunker down and diet without constant temptation of food-related occasions. Plans for lunches are altered, people stop bringing in donuts, the chocolate fountain is all but dry at this point. But as an SEO professional, we see everything through the SEO-corrective lens of life and strive to relate normalcy to a vague & oft misunderstood capitalistic art. As I see it, weight loss might be the most acceptable, analogous parallel to SEO I have stumbled across in some time.
So, one day you wake up and decide you need a change. You’ve been feeling sluggish, the phone doesn’t ring as much as before. Friends have hinted you might have let yourself go. Instagram photos of you seem to be photos of somebody else. And thus descends the need to be motivated to make a change.
We see this happen to new, and old, clients every week. We will be approached with a project, normally a website hastily put together and thrown live with some SEO, some SEM, social ads and a hope and a prayer. But over the past months, the client has been talking to friends and other business owners and has been hearing the same thing. “Organic search has been amazing” or “our SEO guys are killing it” are statements heard over a beer that leave you wondering, what am I not doing wrong?
Like weight loss, we are starting at a baseline. Time to take account of everything you are not doing, not going correctly, but more importantly, what you are doing wrong. In order to do this, we first need to establish everything as of today concerning all metrics…traffic, CTR, keyword ranking, competitive analysis, etc. To move forward with positive steps we first need to know where we are coming from to gauge success.
Goals are incredibly important as they serve as our milestones to keep motivated. It is important to set realistic goals in both scale & time constraints. To say your goal is to be number 1 within Google SERP, Search Engine Result Page, for 50% of your organic campaigns’ salient keywords. This is a lofty goal, which maybe is a good goal for the overarching theme of the campaign, much like starting a diet and setting your goal to fit into your high school jeans. Normally, this is a good overarching, pie-in-the-sky goal to have, however we deal in enthusiastic realism.
Goals should not be something that are wished for, they should be worked for sequentially over time, more to come on that. You do not need, or perhaps want, one end-all, be-all goal to be sought. Goals shift and need to be able to shift, be agile in the overall plans. There should be multiple goals in multiple areas of your IMC, integrated marketing campaigns, not necessarily to be able to throw a party one day celebrating achieving all of our goals! This rarely happens, but having multiple goal touchpoints let’s you not only know the health of your campaigns, but aggregate direction the campaigns are going.
So, you decided to drop those pounds…you figure you have 30 pounds to lose to be in the best shape of your life. How long should you set your calendar for your first weigh-in to see how your grand progress? A long damn time.
Same for SEO in a big way. You don’t stop drinking soda on Monday and hop on the scale Friday to be marveled at your fitness achievements. No, this is one tool in your arsenal to achieve your goals. No soda…plus exercise, no simple carbs, cutback on red meat, etc. This change takes time for yourself & the world to begin settling into the groove of weight loss.
For TMD, this equates to our arsenal of tools, white hat best practices, and over 20 years of experience. We might start tactic executions in the area of linkbuiling, but this is accompanied by technical SEO, code changes, copy optimization, blog research & execution and literally hundreds of other tactics that amass results as a whole, not individually. These not only take time to research, implement and measure but most importantly tactics need time to soak online in Google’s eyes in order for our work and your site to be trusted.
One mistake that many clients make is thinking there is one exercise or tactic that is going to push them over the finish line quicker, cheaper and with little to no effort. Anyone in the industry knows this equation. Used mainly to illustrate project management constraints for website design, but applies to SEO as well, you can have two of the three, but not all three. SEO is a long process, mainly because Google has constructed the process (of course everchanging) to rank by expertise, authoritativeness & trustworthiness EAT.
This cannot, nor should not, be earned overnight. This is Google’s “promise” to the consumer, that you will be delivered the best website search results for your query within Google’s algorithmic reach. To achieve this position takes time, interaction between consumers, your website & Google so that Google can set it’s baseline for YOU.
Much like before, you need to exercise multiple areas of digital marketing campaigns for a healthy & successful organic presence. Many SEO’s have seen the link building metrics from the past 5 years and have seen the gray hat, past link building methods result in Panda and Penguin disasters as Google punished those marketers putting all of their marketing eggs in the link quantity basket. Quantity of backlinks do not mean rankings, quality of backlinks mean rankings over time. But this needs to be paired with citation building, blogger outreach, article submission and other tactics to provide an overall force for organic growth, not just a single deep-dive effort.
When eating on a diet, the phrase “lean & clean” seems to be the newer insertion in the lexicon when answering “what have you been eating?”. In our prior analogy for web design, you can get it fast, cheap, good, and pick two would qualify as fast & cheap…as good would be a ribeye instead of steamed chicken.
The diet for SEO is pretty simple…fed a steady stream of high quality, keyword phrase rich content with consistency, Google will reward your site with positive gains in the SERPs. Again to reiterate, this is time-intensive
It should be noted that if your goal is immediate results/presence, Google Ads and pay-per-click is the best option. However, you are buying presence, not earning presence. Whereas the billfold equity of PPC is immediate & hopefully gratifying, those gains are as short lived as your checkbook. The sweat equity of SEO gains are much more static & unchanging once gained as they have been earned in Google’s eyes.
Now that you’ve been dieting for 6 months to a year, you’ve seen great results. On the whole, you’ve met your goals and are overall much healthier, active and productive than a year ago. But what now? Time to go grab a beer & a burger and kick back?
Nope, now is time for the next cycle of SEO. This involves first reflecting; what worked, what didn’t work, what did I enjoy doing, didn’t, etc. At this point, we need to start analyzing our work, find the 80/20 balance of what efforts are producing the best results, and begin maximizing those efforts. As Neil Patel notes, “The gist of it is that 20% of your invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained.” This 20% is the area that needs to be focused on for further growth, but the other remaining 80% needs to be evaluated and continually optimized.
So in closing, when losing weight or starting optimizing your website be prepared to have a long, hard look at the current state of your situation, set multiple, realistic goals over 6 months to a year, begin the journey with multiple tactics in your plan & expectation that no work will be “phoned in” but will be consistent, quality work & reassess what has worked, why, and repeat. With these expectations in mind, good luck keeping the fat off your site.
Article by: Jonathan Hall – TMD Marketing SEO Strategist