SEO can be a boring, monotonous job. But, it can also be an exciting detective trail of discovery. The hardest SEO jobs are those that are for websites that are already performing strongly and you're trying to eek out slightly better results. The fun one's are those that have lots of problems, which even the smallest SEO and analytic edits produce huge changes in the results.

Unfortunately, not all sites are easy to get results for regardless of how much improvement is necessary. Continuing on my theme of using traditional clichés to make SEO points, I hereby provide you with some clichés that will help you be a better SEO.

There's More Here than Meets the Eye

There is an incredible amount of work that goes into the optimization of a site. More than I can fit in this article and even more than I could fit in this considerably long checklist. SEO is almost universally a continuing process. You get one thing fixed or "optimized", and you move right on to the next. Once performance is good in one area, you start working on another. A site may be optimized today, but new products and content must go live tomorrow.

Just when you think you're done with the SEO, you find new keywords that are being searched. Now you need to improve rankings for those too.

Very rarely is search engine optimization a one-time-only process. It's a continuous, ongoing effort to build site relevance, evaluate performance, analyze effectiveness, and adjust the campaign accordingly to achieve and maintain top rankings against active competitors and substantial algorithm changes.

There are Plenty of Fish in the Sea

Social media marketing and link building are an important element to the total optimization campaign. Optimizing your site without considering your link building efforts is like trying to drive a car without tires. You don't need great tires to make the car move forward, but you have to have some kind of tires in place.

The same holds true for web sites. You can have a great site, but without links, it just won't perform in the natural search results. If it did, paid ads would be carrying all the weight.

Traditional link building isn't fun, but social media has made link achievement a much less mind-numbing task. Social media is also more likely to bring in customers than traditional link building. You can still go out and buy links, but when you can create good "socializable" content that people like, find valuable, and brings them customers, it makes you wonder why people go through all the trouble.

There are a lot of social media opportunities out there, even for "boring" sites. All it takes is a bit of creativity to build an interested audience.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Unless you are targeting no more than a single phrase for any given page of your site, inevitably it will take some finesse to achieve top rankings for all phrases being targeted. Good keyword research in the set-up process can greatly improve the ability to achieve top rankings for multiple phrases per page, but no matter what, there will always be certain elements working against each other. Adjust one phrase here and another one drops there. Adjust that phrase and still another phrase drops here.

A good SEO will be effective at getting your keywords ranked well against the competition. As you optimize for certain phrases, make sure your important ones move up and, if you must, let the less important phrases drop a bit. If needed, move targeted keywords from one page to another in order to help those rankings improve. The fewer keywords you target on a page, the better the chance for success, but you will have to optimize more pages. It's all a trade off, and you have to determine what's important vs. the effort needed to achieve the results you want.

Wait with Baited Breath

Make an SEO change today, see the results tomorrow, right? Unfortunately it's rarely ever quite that simple. Changes we make today may take a week or a month to make their way into the search results. The search engines are getting better and quick indexing and implementation, but depending on the change, delays are inevitable.

If you get a link today, the full value of that link won't be applied for some time, even after the search engine finds it and it makes it's way into the algorithm calculations. The value of some things may never be fully realized because the value grows with time. In other cases, there may be delays before penalties are applied if you messed something up.

If You're Not Part of the Solution, You're Part of the Problem

Don't expect instant results with your optimization campaign. Many SEO's require a six or twelve month contract because they understand it takes time to achieve solid results. Expecting great results any sooner is simply wishful thinking.

We've all heard the saying, "A watched pot never boils". Well, in reality, it'll take the same amount of time to boil as an unwatched pot, but it just seems longer because you're there looking at it instead of doing something productive. Once you start the SEO process, give it some time. Don't start SEO a month before the busy season and expect to come out on top. Do the things that need to be done, and then work on something else while you wait to see the results. Keep pressing at it, looking for more problems to solve and solutions to be worked on.

You should also invest in other areas of marketing. While good SEO can certainly help make a business a success, it isn't the only thing that matters. You never want to put all your eggs in one basket. Search engine optimization should not be your only hope for success.

There is a lot of knowledge that is needed to be a good SEO. But, who knew a few clichés could help out too? Sometimes it's not just the technical knowledge that will make you a success... you need street smarts as well. Keeping these tips in mind as you work through the optimization process can help you keep expectations in line and move closer to getting the results you want.

September 10, 2010

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


All the tips are really useful and true.

Yes, I have seen many rushing to see seo campaign success in one month or even weeks. SEO needs some time to take effect. I hope they understand that soon.

You hit the nail on the head with the "watched pot never boils" example. I will use that with my clients who check Google on a daily basis to see results. No matter how many times I explain it takes time to see results happen they still expect to see results the very next day. I've never found social media to do much for SEO but does help foot traffic. Am I missing something here? I've experimented with social media but it's never given me any juice in PR or SEO. At least not the way link building helps. I'm happy to give social media another shot but I've just never had it work well for SEO.

Sherman, I think social media is the best form of link building but you have to do it right. Unfortunately, too many people are just jumping into SM without a plan or an understanding on how to leverage it. That's the problem with so many things on the web. People think it's easy, and it can be, but like anything else, you have to have a solid plan and time to invest in making that plan work. And you can't do the latter if you don't have a workable plan to begin with.

Like SEO, you have to know what you're doing in order to make social media work.

Great article! As Sherman said, "you hit the nail on the head", not just about the "watched pot", but with the rest of your points as well.

Also, thanks for posting your checklist. That's a very nice piece of work.

What are your opinions on the impact that Google Instant will have for SEO in the future?

@Bill - Here are my thoughts in Google Instant:

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Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > 5 Clichés That Make You a Better SEO