In today’s health-conscious society, everyone has spent at least a couple minutes of their life thinking about (or purposely ignoring) their diet. Is this meal healthy? How many calories are in this? Does this bacon-wrapped butterball make my butt look fat? The theory and principles behind improving your health and getting better results can also be attributed to what you do or do not contribute to the health and welfare of your website’s SEO. Here are a few suggestions on how you can lose weight and improve your rankings at the same time.
1. Have A Measurable Goal
It may seem feasible to stare longingly at the slim thighs of fashion models and think that you can get there someday (if only you could keep your fingers out of that mayonnaise jar), but think about steps that are measurable and achievable. In that same vein, you may see a website that ranks amazingly well for single-word keywords, but if you don’t set yourself up for success with a committed strategy and follow through, you will spend months wondering why your efforts are not providing results. Those svelte upper-leg-areas don’t come easy, but by tracking your progress, you will see what is working, and why that mochachino addiction definitely isn’t.
2. Results Don’t Happen Overnight
Last night at dinner you gave up carbs entirely, but why isn’t that belly fat dissipating this morning when you went to button up your pants? That is because, like anything worth having, weight loss and kick-ass rankings do not happen right away. Best intentions aside, it takes hard work and patience to get where you want to be. Keep plugging away. Gradually you will see that all the tedious link building, onsite optimizations and Zumba at the YMCA are really paying off, both in results and attitude.
3. Find Credible Information
The skeletal lady behind the counter at the teashop may be an expert in all things “holistic” but she is probably not the best person to make judgment calls on healthy ways to lose weight. In that same fashion, you may not want to take the marketing advice of every Tom, Dick, and Harry that sends you emails about your meta descriptions. Popular SEO blogs tend to be a reflection of someone who knows what they are talking about, and has the support of other experts in the field. Check out multiple, highly regarded internet marketing blogs (ahem, like Web Talent Marketing, for example), and take the advice of industry leaders. If there is a consensus among the group, it usually becomes a best practice. Just like in weight loss, you’ll need to find a credible trainer who has the experience necessary to help you. It may seem like a great idea to use chili powder to cleanse your colon, but in the end it’s just a pain in the butt.
4. Commit To A Process
The guy that hosts the P90X+ videos is ripped, and when you use the program it probably garners amazing results. But is that a plan you can dedicate the time and up-chuck reflexes to on a daily and weekly basis? You may have 30 minutes a day P90X+ dreams, but your reality is probably closer to weekly Jazzercise on your VHS player. Whatever your process is, own it and commit to it. Don’t start and stop and then commiserate with your girlfriend’s low-fat yogurt about how its just not working for you and maybe you should just buy a pair of Spanx and forget about it. If you care enough about your website to complain, you should care enough to commit to a plan and follow through for the entire campaign. They say that weight loss is a lifestyle change so is effective online marketing. Commit, Commit, Commit!
5. Change It Up (When Needed)
Congratulations! You have found a plan that you aren’t mortified to tell people you use, and you have been consistently using it. You like your plan, but after a while you may not see the dramatic changes you have come to expect. Your website and your body may both be adjusting and adapting to the plan you gave yourself and a refresher course may be necessary to keep the spark and progress alive. Maybe you need to take a break from submitting to directories or guest blogging and spend some time creating assets or going after juicy links found in your competitor’s link profile. Is it time to take a look at your site and make a list of improvements to increase usability? Change up what you are doing to keep the motivation and success flowing. When you hit the plateau and the results drop off reinvent your process and keep up the momentum.
6. The More You Put Into It, The More You Get Out Of It
Your success is only as good as the effort that you put into it. If you are only barely making the minimum effort, you are going to get minimum, or perhaps no results. Swapping out meta tags and building a few low quality links are not going to get you where you need to be. This is the equivalent of only dieting on the weekends. If you are committed to a plan, make sure you are giving it your all to see the changes in your rankings (and muffin top) you would like.
7. Aggressive Tactics Can Be Hazardous
I don’t have to tell you that binging and purging is a dangerous habit to get into, so why would you do the same for your website? Don’t binge on easy SEO fixes like automated submissions or other gray (or lets face it, black) hat tactics just to get your rankings up quickly. The results may be quick, but you will just as quickly fall into disrepair when your website gets dinged by the search engines. Or, you know, the lining of your esophagus deteriorates into rice paper.
8. Ignore Tempting Quick Fixes
You may be in awe of the waist-to-rump ratio of the Kardashian sisters, but buying their diet pills will only result in a mild heart murmur and a deep hole in your bank account. You may feel energized for a short period of time, but after a little bit you will be back to normal and you may as well roll those twenty dollar bills into little balls and swallow them whole. The same theory applies to the sneaky tricks, excessive paid linking tactics and black hat schemes available online. You may see a push in the beginning, but in the end it is never worth the time or money.
9. Keep a Balance
Effective SEO takes a balance of both diet, in the form of tried-and-true Search Engine Optimization best practices, and exercise by way of ongoing link building. Doing just one or the other will only take you so far. An effective SEO campaign should look at all aspects of SEO including conversion, usability, analytics, keyword research, competitive analysis as well as onsite SEO techniques and link building tactics. Make sure to keep a healthy balance between them and not give anyone more importance than others, they all play a role in your website’s success.
10. Do What Works For You
What works for that skinny girl next door may not always work for you. Just because she lost 2 pounds in a day doing a pilates-ballet-shakeweight combo class at her boutique gym doesn’t mean you will see those same results. Check out all your options and don’t jump on one thing and beat it like a dead horse. Genetics versus Culture is equivalent to Business Model versus the Online Economy. You may be predisposed to wear Apple-Bottom Jeans, just like your business may be less predisposed to convert into online sales than ones in other verticals. Like exercise, SEO results may vary depending you industry and some are much more competitive than others and will take time. Let us not forget that SEO only brings in qualified consumers to your site, it doesn’t convert them. You’ll need to do competitive research before starting your campaign to make sure you are setup for success.
Like weight loss, the results and benefits of ongoing healthy online dieting and web marketing work are invaluable to your business. In the long run you will add years to your average business lifespan and general well-being. You will be happier as a marketer and more secure in yourself and the services you offer. The end result? You will then pay less to your overpriced therapist to listen to you complain about your stress level. So strap on those leg warmers, tell yourself you’re a maniac on the dance floor and practice your quickstep because you have some hard work to do, but it is totally worth it!
Miki DeHaven is an SEM Specialist at the Internet Marketing Company Web Talent. Based in central Pennsylvania, Web Talent Marketing offers search engine-marketing services to clients nationwide. For more information visit http://www.webtalentmarketing.com/.