SEO: A marathon, not a sprint
You’ll often hear us say that SEO is like a marathon and not a sprint. We’re not saying this to have a clever sounding buzz phrase to throw around, we’re saying it because it’s true.
Google performs algorithm updates on a regular basis, more so in the last couple years than ever before. These algorithm updates are rolled out to assist with showing the best websites at the top of the search results. Why? Because that’s Google’s purpose at the end of the day – to give the searcher the best result possible. These algorithm updates are, in most cases, reactions to various findings or various changes on the Internet. For example, go back a few years, there was very little influence on rankings because of social networks. When social networks became hugely popular and it was clear that they weren’t going anywhere, Google changed their algorithms to cater for these social networks and studies have showed their influence on rankings – heck, all you have to do is look at Google+ and author rank to know that social is an important ranking factor.
My point is that with Google changing their algorithms frequently, so do companies need to evolve to stay ahead of the pack – if you think about it, things work the same way in business offline, why wouldn’t it work like this online? So, if the Internet is changing and Google’s updating algorithms, how could you possibly hurry to get SEO done? It’s just not possible and therefore the metaphor of being a marathon comes into play.
Let’s look at an example – towards the end of last year, we took over a website which had been poorly treated by an SEO. The website was in a really bad state and it took us several months to remove links, rewrite content, create social signals and so forth. The website finally stopped dropping in the search results and began climbing. Unfortunately, at the end of the agreement, it was decided that we were no longer needed and it was assumed that the website would continue to climb in the rankings despite us spending a lot of time educating as to why it was a bad idea to just let things ride. We decided to track the rankings of the website post-agreement completion out of interest. This morning (just over 6 weeks later) when the ranking report was compiled the results were clear:
It was an awfully sad sight to see after all the work we had done over the months, but it was confirmation of what we’ve always stood by.
Put on your running shoes, not your spikes.