SEO can seem like an alien concept to a newbie, and even if you’ve been working away at it for months or even years, it can still seem baffling.
But is SEO really that hard, or are you just over-complicating it?
Why does SEO seem so complicated?
In the very beginning SEO was an easy game to play – all you had to do was ensure that your website worked, that your content was unique and that all your keywords were suitable and in the right place. Oh and that you were giving your audience what they wanted.
Now, things have moved on considerably.
Today, your SEO tool kit contains a lot more tools, some more confusing and complicated than others.
But is SEO really that hard? Or are we just making a mountain out of a molehill?
We’ll concede that there are some aspects of SEO that can be complicated; not because it involves a large number of specific SEO tools and knowing how to wield those tools to your advantage. Nor because it means learning the best practices as advised by those who have gone before and from the occasional snippets thrown out by the Google Webmasters. But because of the never ending stream of Google updates and the changes to its algorithm.
And every time these technologies are updated it changes the way the search engines operate, meaning the ranking system is in constant flux, further complicating your SEO efforts.
But, if you don’t have a knee jerk reaction every time an update comes about, you will find that SEO really isn’t that hard.
4 common mistakes that can overcomplicate SEO
- Not understanding an algorithm update.
Not every Google update requires you to take action.
Take their mobile page speed update as an example. When this update was first announced, website owners in their droves hurried off to update their page speeds, worrying if they didn’t they would be penalised and bounced down the SERP.
But their efforts weren’t necessary.
Yes if your website page slows down considerably you will eventually get penalised by Google, but busting a gut to shave off a few milliseconds isn’t going to help you move up the SERP. If you want to climb up the rankings you’re going to have to do way more to your website than simply speed it up by a nanosecond.
- Not keeping up to date with SEO news.
How can you expect to keep up to date with the ever changing world of SEO, if you aren’t getting daily digest updates?
If you truly want to learn about, or better understand, SEO, the best way to improve your knowledge is to immerse yourself in it. Sign up to newsletters from people such as Neil Patel or Moz, and start to understand the bizarre terminology that you once found so baffling.
- Watch SEO webinars
- Read the SEO definitive guides
- Check out our SEO glossary for any terms you don’t understand
- Get involved with SEO forums and learn from other people’s mistakes
And remember, even the most experienced SEO practitioner still struggles and has to turn to the experts for guidance. With SEO, everyday is a school day.
- Not measuring your metrics and tracking your results.
If you aren’t measuring your SEO efforts, how will you know if you’ve been successful or not? Make sure you’re keeping track of your keyword ranking, how successful your backlinking efforts are, what your organic traffic patterns are looking like and what your monthly visitors are doing.
If you’re on top of all these factors, you can react easily and quickly when you notice peaks or troughs in behaviour or results, thus ensuring your SEO campaign continues to run smoothly.
- Not keeping on top of what your competitors are up to.
As above, if you aren’t keeping track of how your competitors are doing, how can you gauge how you’re doing in comparison?
So read their blogs and see if they have any new backlinks. More importantly, don’t just check to see what they ARE doing, check to see what they AREN’T doing. And then maximise their failings to your advantage.
Find out exactly what it is their audience are after and then leverage your competitors’ weak spots. By doing this you will be able to give readers what they’re after and steal them away.
OK, so yes, SEO can be a tough nut to crack, and yes, it is so much more than simply jamming a load of keywords into your site and packing it out with links.
But essentially, what worked way back in the beginning still applies now – if you’re giving your audience what they want and providing them with a fantastic UX, as well as meeting the search engine’s requirements, you won’t go far wrong.