Good Bye Black Box – SEO Insights

"Good-Bye Black Box" Blog Series

I thought it was about time to demystify the SEO process. Every client I work with has access to what I am doing, why I am doing it, and what the expected results should be. That doesn't mean they always understand or even ask. But that doesn't mean I can't accurately describe what I am doing and what the results should be.

If you have any questions, please submit them to me: joshuam@cthinkgroup.com.

Insight into SEO workflow

Dimisnhing returns

Image from: https://www.ideatovalue.com/inno/nickskillicorn/2017/11/diminishing-law-innovation-returns-problem-better/

One of the most significant SEO challenges is the nature of the work. In my opinion, SEO work is front-loaded, subject to diminishing returns, and set on an ever-shifting landscape. 

Shifting variables is not super unique to creative fields, and this is not a "one and done" process. So how do you balance your SEO plan or strategy? Here are some ideas outlined below:

For me, I follow a simple method for completing SEO work:

  • Code - Clean code
  • Content - Keyword-rich content
  • Community - Strong backlinks
  • Competition - Know how your positions in a market
  • Clicks - Positive ROI

SEO Workload Distribution

When you apply where all the work lies, the following rings true:

Process Front Loaded Work Follow-up Work
Code Fix Errors, Create a process to reduce errors on new pages Check for errors as new pages as added
Content Establish a keyword list and implement it into your website Check ranking for keyword list, watch for competitor ranks, implement keywords on new content. Refine list and content over time.
Community Create a list of sites that you want to backlink Pursue links as sites become more relevant or as new sites come online
Competitors Identify competitors for specific keywords, Watch for competitors gaining market share, identify keys to success
Clicks Create campaigns based on keyword list and marketing goals Refine the PPC campaign to improve results and aim for more bang for the $, rather than cost savings.

Most of the work is finding out what is happening to a website, outlining what success looks like for your website, and then planning and implementing changes to achieve the desired results.

SEO Diminishing Returns

Again looking at the facets of SEO, we have found:

Process The bulk of the time to address Time to refine When the required time is nominal
Code First few weeks Over a few weeks A few months
Content First few weeks Duration of the project: Track rank, test measure keyword list, refine list and content When you have content updates that continuously feed ranks/conversions
Community First few weeks Duration of project - continue to build relationships with new websites. Backlink saturation for current content
Competition First few weeks Duration of the project: Track rank, test measure keyword list, build backlinks A few months
Clicks First few weeks Duration of the project: Track efforts measure against benchmarks A few months

Most of the SEO work is front-loaded in the first few weeks. Once you can track efforts and changes, you should be in a constant state of process improvement, testing and measuring, watching competitors, and making adjustments.

If you are onboarding new products/services or going after new markets, this process can start anew. 

Shifting Landscape

The internet is adding content and new websites every day. Some of your competitors are ramping up their efforts to improve their SEO efforts. These entrances or actions change the variables you have to track to follow your website's performance. This shift is generally measured and timed so that monthly monitoring should suffice. 

Does this mean you have to keep fixing/changing your website? 

Not really. Once you do the bulk of the work, you get to where maintenance is the main focus. You did the hard work to get up the mountain, you can enjoy the view for a bit, till something else comes along to move you from your place. 

What about highly competitive positions?

Holding a competitive position is the one caveat to trying a front-loaded SEO effort to keep your ground for SEO rank. If you are competing with highly competitive keywords, you will have to keep an eye on your website weekly, making changes daily. These changes include adding new content and backlinks.

How we can help with your SEO work:

We have spent over 10 years refining the process to perform SEO process on many websites. SEO is a one aspect of marketing and is part of the responsibilities of business ownership in these days. If your website is under performing and not justifying itself, you are losing out on customers and revenue everyday. SEO is not a mystical process that different SEO wizards have special silver bullets. We are all competing to improve the same metrics, and as such, the big differentiator is our ability to work with our clients to manage expectations and deliver on our promises in a clear and effective way.

Ready to find out more?

If you are ready to take on the SEO journey, we are here to help.

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