Start digging into the topic of search engine optimization techniques, and you’ll find a lot of conflicting advice. For example, one “expert” will claim that the key to rising to the top of Google’s rankings lies in producing a 500 word post each and every day. Another will tell you that short bits of content are a relevant, and long-form pieces with lots of content and lots of social engagement are key.
How do you know which pieces of advice to follow? And perhaps more importantly, when should you change course and stop following a plan that hasn’t been as successful as you might like?
This second question is key. That’s because one thing search engine optimization consultants can all agree upon is that patience and consistency ultimately drive results. Give up too soon, and you’re bound to be disappointed. At the same time, you don’t want to throw good money after bad or keep following a losing plan. Digging a deeper hole doesn’t help, and a search visibility campaign that’s taking you nowhere just makes it easier for your competitors to pull ahead.
In our experience, there isn’t necessarily a set indication that it’s time to alter your approach to search engine optimization techniques. Instead, there are a handful of guidelines you should bear in mind when evaluating your web analytics…
SEO Success is a Function of Planning and Flexibility
A lot of search engine optimization plans fall flat because they aren’t really plans at all. Instead, they are random pieces of content combined with some tips, tricks, and best practices gleaned from third-party sources. There’s nothing wrong with getting good advice anywhere you can find it, but you should have a comprehensive strategy in place that will help you improve your Google rankings. Otherwise, you’re just fumbling around in the dark hoping something will work out.
Planning means finding your target market, developing a keyword strategy, and putting together an editorial calendar for new posts, pictures, and videos. It’s a way to keep all of your internal and external contributors on the same page, and to ensure the content you create is going to help your business be more visible.
Even with a well-thought-out plan in place, however, there needs to be room for flexibility in your SEO campaigns. Few things ever work out exactly as we expect them to therefore you shouldn’t be so rigid when planning your search engine optimization techniques that you can’t make tweaks along the way.
You Should Always be Making SEO Adjustments
There are a lot of different reasons you might decide to alter your search engine optimization techniques. Perhaps traffic patterns are shifting and your customers are searching for new terms or phrases. Or, it could be that Google’s algorithm is altered in a way that renders best practices obsolete. You may simply figure out that some of your keywords aren’t leading to as many conversions as you had hoped.
In any of these cases, it’s important to adjust to the situation you’re facing in the present moment, rather than hanging onto concepts that used to be effective. The best marketers are flexible enough to roll with the changes they see on Google and the other engines. It can be hard to let go of a strategy that has been profitable for months or years, but that’s the only way to keep up with the competition.
Be Careful About Changing Big-Picture SEO Strategy
You’ll notice that in the last section we advocated for search engine optimization adjustments. These might involve using more geographic keywords, emphasizing internal linking, or focusing on certain long tail search phrases.
What you should be more careful about are wholesale changes to your SEO approach. From time to time, we deal with business owners who have read something about changes taking place in Google, or throughout the search market as a whole. They worry about being left behind and decide to blow up their current content strategy to chase the latest fad. Or, they want to try an unproven technique they think will bring them dozens of new visitors every day.
There are very rarely any good quick fixes when it comes to SEO, and improvement tends to be data-driven. So, while you should always be adjusting course to keep up with your customers and competitors, be wary of anyone who suggests sudden and rapid changes to your website or optimization plan.
All SEO Needs to be Analytics Driven
As we’ve already noted, profitable search engine optimization campaigns tend to be driven by analytics. You may start with hunches or market research, but ultimately it comes down to which buyers you are able to attract to your website and what they do once they arrive.
The data provided by your analytics package could lead you to new keywords, but also fresh conversion mechanisms and improvements in your sales funnel. You might discover that website visitors are spending lots of time on an unexpected page or topic. Conversely, you could learn that you have bottlenecks in your website where no one is responding to a given offer. It’s very difficult to see these sorts of issues coming ahead of time. But, if you’re watching your web analytics closely, you can react to them quickly and make every one of your pages as profitable as it can be.
If your search engine optimization techniques aren’t working out the way you had hoped, then your first step should be to make sure you had a sensible plan in place to start with. Assuming you have, your next move is to evaluate whether you’ve given enough time to succeed, and to look for any incremental signs of improvement.
Assuming those steps point you toward a new direction, then it’s time to study your analytics and start working with a vendor who can help you get the most from your website and content. If you feel like the advice you’re getting for your Internet marketing campaigns isn’t as sharp as it could be, now might be the perfect time to talk with an SEO expert at MicroD to see how we can help!