Yesterday we looked at five decision making strategies and applied them to SEO. Today we'll conclude with an additional five ways to help you make better SEO and business success decisions.
Take time to get all the facts; conjecture leads to crisis.
There are two sets of facts that you need to have before moving forward with any type of SEO strategy or fix. The first is understanding what the problems with the site are, and the second is knowing what can or cannot be done to fix them.
When putting together your options for moving forward, understanding these facts will help you sort out which options are viable and which are not. Moving forward without being fully aware of all the facts leads to poor decisions based off of an incomplete or poorly considered set of options.
Once you know the problem and have a set of options to work from, you then need to be sure to fully understand the potential implementation of each of these options. Some options are simply not as workable on some sites as on others. Knowing what you're working with and how each option may play out within the confines of your site matters a great deal.
Consider the consequences of each action.
As an SEO we have to be fully aware that every change to a site could have potentially negative consequences. Granted most strategies have been proven to produce a positive impact on websites, but this isn't true 100% of the time. Some changes will have a positive long-term impact but have a severely negative short-term effect.
Before moving forward with any change to a site you have to consider both the long- and short- term consequences. Any short-term negatives have to be weighed against the overall long-term gains. In many cases the overall gain isn't worth the losses that'll happen in between. A good example of this is changing URL structure just to get keywords in the URLs. The gain will be minimal while the temporary loss in rankings can be significant.
Make sure your expectations don't exceed your potential and your resources.
One of the hardest thing to do in SEO is to manage expectations properly. An SEO selling their services will often promise miracles to get the sale but then tell the client not to expect miracles at all. SEO is never a magic solution and often times what we think will be an easy job turns out to be anything but. It's like peeling back the layers of an onions. You get one problem solved and that uncovers several more problems.
One of the primary issues with keeping expectations in balance is ensuring that client knows what they can expect for the investment they have made. Sometimes you promise little but the client expects a great deal, even though they are paying for very little. It's important that the client knows what they'll be getting for the service they have paid for and understand that sometimes you have to pay more to get more.
Time is your most limited and valuable resource. Don't wast it.
My personal philosophy on time is don't do yourself what you can pay someone else to do for you. Especially if you know they can do it more quickly and efficiently.
As they say, time is money.
Every small business owner has this dilemma. How much should they do themselves versus how much can they afford to hire someone to do for them. When it comes to SEO, the business owner must decide how much of their own time can be dedicated to doing the detailed work, or if their time is better spent elsewhere, like running the business.
SEO isn't difficult but it does require knowledge. Most of that knowledge is available for free, but that doesn't take into consideration the cost of your time to learn it, implement it and then to ensure each strategy is performing effectively.
On the SEO side, the client is paying for results. There are a lot of things we can spend our time doing for a client, but first and foremost our time must be spent where it will provide the greatest return. This is especially true when budgets are limited. We must put often balance between doing what's important and doing what's urgent. And sometimes we can't do both.
One note to business owners who hire SEOs to do a job for them. Realize that any time they spend taking your calls and answering emails is time away from the work they could be spending on your account. That's not to suggest that your time isn't wisely invested in getting updates, however having to constantly be reassured means that the SEO is spending that time talking rather than doing.
Allow yourself a 10% risk of being wrong, a 50% likelihood of something going wrong, and a 100% commitment to survive it all.
There are many precautions that we must take in life but hope that they won't be unnecessary. Just like insurance, we need to have it but hope to never have to use it. When moving forward with your SEO campaign there are are certain mental precautions that we must understand in order to be prepared for, however unlikely they may be.
The first is that you may be wrong. Shocker! Whether you're wrong about implementing this strategy over that strategy, or choosing one path over another, you have to be content with knowing that at some point or another you'll make a bad decision. Nobody is 100% perfect 100% of the time. Some SEO strategies are implemented based on past performance from other sites, but there is no guarantee that the same strategy will work for this site. Be prepared to be wrong.
You must also be aware that doing all the right things correctly, something may still go seriously and unexpectedly wrong. There is no clear path into the future and only hind site is 20/20. Be prepared for disasters but hope they never come.
Finally, no matter what, you must be committed to overcoming all obstacles and generating your own success. Life throws curve balls and SEO is not an exact enough science to be smooth sailing all the way. So whatever happens, being prepared for the possible but accepting only victory is the only sure way to success.
Success is a path that must be paved by each person making wise decisions. Search engine optimization isn't an instant path to victory. There are still dozens of daily decisions that have to be carefully considered and thoroughly before action is taken. But once you have a history of making good SEO decisions, success becomes much easier.
Every day new habits are developed that help us better understand and implement the myriads of SEO strategies that we are presented with. With each successful decision, the next becomes easier and our rate of implementing a successful SEO campaign increases. Just as in all aspects of life, making solid SEO decisions leads us to a more assured victory online.
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.
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