Like many things in life, there is a sort of ‘law of diminishing returns’ when it comes to SEO (at least I feel).  You will see a significant amount of progress if you focus in one area, like in-depth website analysis or adjustments to your PPC campaign.  But you can overdo it – meticulous scrutiny of every detail and scouring of dozens of SEO blogs will have you over-thinking, over-optimizing, and wasting your time that can be spent elsewhere.

SEO, though evolving in directions many experts could argue both ways into growth and into obscurity, definitely has taken a sort of an art form in the sense that success can be reached in a  number of ways.  Sometimes you stick to your fundamentals, but make a landing page to rank for a certain keyword using an unconventional method.   It is like having a page on the site with numerous pictures without alt descriptions, 150 words of content without any keywords, no H tags, no inbound links to the page, and only the meta title carrying the page.  Then it ranks 3rd on Google for a keyword that gets 2,000 searches a month.  The first thing I can share after 5 years of being an SEO is that sometimes, rankings and traffic are still going to baffle you even if you ‘follow all the rules’.  You’ll have pages that are masterfully crafted that will never rank, and others that were an afterthought that end up generating 15% of your total website traffic.  Sometimes there isn’t rhyme or reason to the Google algorithm – sometimes, there doesn’t have to be.

Here are 5 more things that grounded me as an SEO after being in the field for about a half decade:

  • You’re at the Mercy of Google – Recently, I was attempting to get a rich snippet going for a client. After going back and forth between the website and the Google+ profile, finding the perfect profile image, making sure the previous schema code wouldn’t interfere, and beginning to grow the Google+ profile, Google got rid of snippets.  Just like that, a dozen hours of work was gone.  You’re at the mercy of Google in this respect – since the average percentage of traffic is about 80% from anyone I’ve ever worked with, it is as simple as that.  It is best to keep updated with what Matt Cutts is talking about (though it appears he is on leave now), and keep in mind what he is saying about algorithm updates with about 95% certainty.  If they give you a tool, use it (like the more recent disavow link).  They’re basically saying something underneath with every release like that: “we don’t like your crappy links” in this case.
  • Content is King, But Not Always on One Site – It is simple to organize a website in about 20 pages – a home page, and about us, some service pages, a couple pages for press releases or company news, a contact page, a disclaimer, privacy policy…etc..  If you have a blog, that’s great ( would recommend on your site, and if you can get an offsite one too, even better).  Now when websites get into the hundreds, they are hard to manage.  Eventually, pages are simply going to be buried on the site, and if they get to 3-4 sub-directories down, they are hard to crawl, hard to index, and hard to rank on Google (unless you use a one-dimensional approach, where every page is just one sub-directory down, which we’ve seen some success with).  There was a period of time we saw many smaller sites starting to pop up higher than massive sites last August.  I think it is better to disperse content into other opportunities once your website becomes too heavy.  Blog networks, guest blogs, social platforms, niche microsites, online content curation sites are examples.  I’m not saying these are link building strategies (though they could be, but would be more complicated), but moving forward I don’t believe your main site should be a sort of hoarder for all of the content you end up producing.
  • You’re Not Going to Know Everything – So sometimes, it is worth getting someone niche for one particular thing, like killing it in your local or giving your PPC a sweep.  I think it is definitely important to be very well-rounded as everything is connected to each other one way or another, but it is good to become niche in a few specific things; for example, being very strong in content strategy and on-site optimization, or being good at link building and lead conversion.  This gives SEOs leverage in ‘trade secrets’ when they share ideas with other SEOs.
  • There’s an Opportunity in Everything– If you get hit by a new algorithm and you see your rankings fluctuating, I find that quite exciting – the landscape is changing again, and it is another opportunity to be on top.  If Google comes out with a product you may see as irrelevant, there’s going to be some way you can use it to your advantage.  Every time you have something newsworthy company-wise, or something you think is worth sharing with the public in any capacity, always consider every possible way you can use it. Which brings us to the last point…
  • You Can Reuse Something Dozens of Different Ways-Did you make your new product a press release?  Great!  Now you can post it on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Linkedin, and everywhere else in different styles that work with the appropriate medium.  You can add it to the press section of your website.  You can make it a blog.  You can put it in a press kit.  You can make a video about it.  Don’t be afraid to fashion what you produce into many different forms for further distribution.

So there you have it – some of these may have been presented to me after a year or two, but it took longer to really comprehend and properly implement every facet of the concept.  Have any other questions for an SEO?  Shoot us a message or give us a call – we’re always ready to chat with those that want to learn.