Every new year people come up with New Years resolutions. It occurred to me that my resolutions are always less about change and more about doing things ‘the right way’. Think a ‘classic’ coat rather than an ‘on trend’ coat. There is something to be said for learning what works and sticking to something that will last! Think Audrey Hepburn rather than Paris Hilton. </Fashionspeak>
I’m not saying that change isn’t going to happen, nor should it ever be ignored. The opposite, however, is also true. Principles that work, techniques that make a difference, day-to-day methods should not be dropped after the latest hysteria or in order to keep up with the trends. My thoughts:
It’s Trends vs Classics. SEO is always changing, Google is always moving the goalposts – to the endless frustration of SEOs. Having said that, life does go on. Change will always happen but the absolute essential core of our day to day work will not change overnight. I think it is good, and healthy, to keep on top of changes. I am a firm believer that it is important to stay up-to-date and on top of SEO news. For example, the storm that has broken out in the last 24 hours surrounding Google’s alleged link buying is potentially huge news and important to our industry as a whole. HOWEVER..
I do think that too many people spend too much time worrying about the future, ready to run around screaming in a panic, each and every time an update or a remotely scandalous story breaks. Calm down! Do your clients or your boss really care about Google’s possible blackhatedness right now? Are they not perhaps more concerned with their current revenue, a site update, a broken link, a piece of content that is yet to go live? Boring but true.
Although it is important to be interested in current SEO affairs, let’s also remember our bread and butter. Let’s knuckle down and get today right before we worry so much about tomorrow.
Don’t only look forward
At new years, the consensus is to look forward and predict what will happen over the next 52 weeks. Round-up posts like those over at E-consultancy are always interesting and provide solid insight into upcoming trends. Again, however, there is a tendency to focus so much on the future ahead that basics are cast aside. Yes it can be a huge boost to correctly predict changes, be ready for them before your competitors and reap the benefits. But fixing all those niggles you’ve been meaning to fix for months but haven’t quite got around to are just as important.
– Are you confident that you understand all basic aspects of your site’s performance?
– No page is underoptimised?
– No page could do with improvement from a content or link building perspective in the good old fashioned sense?
– Your analytics is 100% in order?
– You get the point…
Putting the horse before the cart
It’s easier said than done but having at least a firm grasp of what is catching on, what is moving fast and what remains various shades of grey does make life easier. It’s all about priorities. Let’s consider some real life examples such as social media.
Social media is HUGE. There are so many social platforms, it’s directly impacting the algorithm and links, it’s everywhere. It should definitely feature in a site strategy. What if you have no resource? How do you build a community? How do you monitor it? The answer? Small. Steps.
Consider Google+ for businesses. It is being talked about all over the place. I’m not sure how important it is just yet, in all honesty, but… at least securing your business page is both simple to do and could have potentially huge benefits. Your company may not have the resource to handle maintaning a Facebook page right now, but have you at least bothered to secure your name? How about twitter?
Know when to spend that time getting involved. Consider priorities, damage control and resource allocation. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Fix first, update second
Get your house in a solid state of repair now. A new year isn’t all about changes and updates and keeping up with the Joneses. The new year should be a time to sit back, undertake all those repairs you’ve been meaning to do and THEN move onto the updates.
I don’t know a single site that couldn’t do with some maintenance on the basics first. Whistle blowing and spying on the neighbours should drop down the priority list guys. Let’s get our own houses in order!
Image courtesy of Marie Claire.