Google and SEO professionals have had a long and sometimes disagreeable relationship over the years. There was a time when Google felt everything SEO should remain a secret from their end and as an SEO you had to really push the boundaries to figure out what works and what doesn’t. More recently Google has found a comfortable middle-ground, they keep secret many of the hundreds of ranking factors but still guide us in best practices. They just published a nice article titled – Inside Google Marketing: 3 ways we think about SEO
The three topics touched upon in the article are topics that come up often when I create digital marketing audits.
For big SEO results, start small
This can’t be stressed enough and it is one of the reasons SEO is often very slow to ramp up. There is a tendency by new SEO’s and sometimes pressure from clients to make changes quickly to try and reap the sweet rewards of free organic traffic. But that is always a mistake! In order to mitigate risk of losing rankings or getting a penalty it is important to make one change at a time and give the search spiders a chance to re-crawl the website and incorporate those changes into the search rankings. The main reason is that you won’t know what works if you make too many changes at once and if for some reason you see a drop in rankings you won’t know what to change to correct. Kudos to Google for hitting-the-nail-on-the-head with this first one!
Don’t be scared of changes — embrace them
This one is much easier said, than done. From my experience many clients have a fear of making changes to their websites because they often don’t have enough knowledge regarding the digital eco-system and it can be very intimidating. Another issue is that because so much of Google’s algorithm is secret, even the most experience digital marketer can not guarantee positive results, so there is always a certain measure of risk involved. But the flip-side is that digital evolves quite quickly and if you don’t move ahead you will fall behind those competitors that do embrace change. Finding that fine balance between risk and reward is the job of a good digital marketing person and this is something I am very transparent about. If there is risk then a client needs to known it.
Where possible, consolidate
This is good advice but I would say to be very careful blindly following this. Having multiple websites for different portions of your business can be a powerful online marketing strategy but as pointed our in this article, avoid duplicate content or low-value content. The real issue with total consolidation of websites is two-fold, number one you may end up with a very messy website that is hard to navigate and visitors need to dig too deep for the information they desire. Number two is that it can be very difficult to optimize a website that tries to do too much. Finding the optimal balance is something best left to a professional digital marketer.