Whether you’ve hired an SEO expert, attended a local seo training class, or decided to attempt the work yourself, one of the major challenges of a search engine optimization campaign is determining how much time to devote to specific techniques and certain areas of your website. Simply knowing what to do doesn’t solve the problem of understanding how much to do. Whether it’s keyword research, title optimization, content development or link building – often the missing link is the art of knowing which of your efforts will yield the greatest return on your investment of money or time.
Most of our optimization work is performed on client websites and in nearly every case we are trying to achieve improved rankings and increased traffic within a budget and timeline. While we don’t have a true “pay-for-performance SEO model”, rather than locking new clients into long term agreements we often advocate beginning with a short term contract that will allow us to prove our worth before moving forward with a larger commitment. Our most typical scenario gives us 90 days to tackle the SERPs and analytics for a group of medium to moderately difficult search terms (from a competitive standpoint).
While every project is different, when you have to show some success in a relatively short period of time it is important to quickly identify the major issues holding back your site. As we discussed in an earlier post, page title optimization is always very high on the list. Even with that said when you are working on a site with hundreds or thousands of pages, spreading yourself too thin by concentrating on only one ranking factor will usually fail. Unless you have an overwhelming number of site architecture or duplication issues, you are normally better off getting laser focused on just a portion of the site.
Along the same line is the amount of time you spend on research compared to time devoted to actual change suggestions, on-page optimization tweaks or link building (for example). There are so many different ways to analyze a site or even one page on a site. There are also dozens of keyword research techniques and SEO tools, and you could spend countless hours dissecting the strategies that have seemingly worked on competitor sites. At some point you simply have to be comfortable knowing you’ve done enough due diligence to dive in and begin making changes that will have an impact.
Search engine optimization is a science. It’s not like building rockets, but most SEOs follow a set of tried and true practices that offer the greatest chance of success. Search engine optimization is also an art. All the research in the world won’t do you a bit of good until you take that first step and begin making changes. Every client and every website is different. This is what makes the process fun and exciting.