You can't just 'do some SEO'

A common request we often hear at Divergent Path (when working on websites) goes something along the lines of ‘We’ll also need the SEO doing’ or even more ambitiously ‘I’ll need the new site to be in the top 3 of Google’.

These type of requests stem from an idea that SEO is something that can be done in a short-period of time, that it’s a technical thing that can be simply switched on or done overnight.

The concept of SEO appears to have a different meaning for different people. There’s the dictionary definition for SEO:

Search-engine optimization: the methods used to boost the ranking or frequency of a website in results returned by a search engine, in an effort to maximise user traffic to the site.’

But perceptions of how it’s done, how quickly it can be achieved, how much it costs and how simple/complex it is vary massively.

Setting the record straight

‘Good SEO’ takes two crucial things, time and money. Its not a quick fix and it will require a significant investment.

Yes there are certain technical things that can be done in theory overnight, things like making sure elements are tagged correctly, that your site is correctly connected with Google Search Console or all your URLs are working.  But their impact will be minimal in the short to medium term. Just populating your site with keywords and links for example isn’t going to get you to the number one spot in Google any time soon.

Content is King!

To climb the rankings, what’s most important is high quality content. Well thought out, informative and relevant content. Content that sings expertise and subject matter authority. The best way to think about SEO is using the metaphor of the Search Engine as a Driving Instructor. You have to demonstrate to them that you know what you are doing, over, and over and over again. 

Sub pages filled with information and regularly updated blogs are your best friend when it comes to demonstrating authority. Without them, you’ll never get anywhere and let’s be honest, to get them right, it takes time and money. You’ll need to invest in copywriting that simultaneously informs but also utilises the keywords you want to be found on. This is not an ‘easy’ task. 

Sometimes it's just not worth it

It may sound counter intuitive for an agency to say ‘don’t bother commissioning us for this work’ but sometimes, unless you have tens and tens of thousands to spend and are willing to employ a copywriter pretty much full-time, it’s just not worth the investment.

If your company or organisation is in a space where your competitors are long established and have a brilliant online presence, then it might just not be worth the time and money. When it comes to the online world, Goliath pretty much always defeats David. There are better, more cost-effective ways to get your name out there and be found. For many companies, SEO is simply not worth it. Highly targeted, paid advertising could produce much quicker and affordable results.

Remember: in the world of Marketing, no one size fits all. 

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