I read with great interest that my favourite mammal, known for its outright speed, had some interesting abilities to help it out when hunting prey. Not only that, the similarity between what some people perceive of cheetahs and the way search marketers work is uncanny.
All too often, people expect SEO to be a pedal-to-the-metal process: build backlinks fast and throw as much weight behind old ideologies as possible to get results. If you were to ask some people how a cheetah catches its prey they would say, “Well it runs as fast as it can till it catches it, of course!”
In fact, the opposite is true; a cheetah has an immense ability of being agile (truly agile, not just a marketing buzzword), leaping sideways, decelerating and accelerating back up to speed. Just as wildlife experts have had to rethink how a cheetah gets results (kills), in the past couple of years we have had to adjust client expectations on how we achieve our own results (traffic).
This rocks the boat with many business owners who are reading blog posts that are a few years old. An SEO campaign does not need to decelerate per se, but is by no means all about flat out speed. If you are building a website for longevity, building 5,000 backlinks overnight will ensure that it crashes and burns (there is a very real risk that it will get penalised if using exact match anchor text and can cause you a headache for months to come).
Along the same lines; if you don’t have a mass of great content ideas then how do you expect to write a blog a day with nothing to say? (Oh that rhymed!) All the old tactics such as mass backlinks and low quality content are null and void. Slow down, pick your fights wisely whilst building upon high quality links and great content that you would be proud to list alongside your brand name.
As search has become a more difficult terrain to navigate, it has become important to be able to change tactic quickly and decisively. If an opportunity arises, you want to quickly grasp it and use it to its full potential – if you don’t then some other sharp-eyed SEO cheetah will get the first run at it and have their free meal.
Part of this is looking ahead and analysing the competition. Can you see the direction they are heading; is there a trend of increased search visibility? Use tools to your disposal and work out how you can better the competition’s advances. Big data is your eyes and ears – make use of it if you have access. Sometimes the best answers come from talking to a client and finding out that they have a goldmine of content hidden away, or they are moving into other marketplaces but they have failed to communicate this to you.
Built for killing
Was your website built for killing the search engines, or built for killing your business? The description of a cheetah reads like a rule book of a mean killing machine! Does your website match up to it, or does it sound like a sloth that just got a craving for a 12oz rump with no steak house nearby?
• Fast speed – Do your pages load fast?
• Lightweight – Is your website coded correctly or is there too much code weighing it down and returning too many queries back to Google?
• Very focused – Is it apparent what your website is about? Does the content and design funnel the visitor to where you need them to be?
• Strong back end – For all manner of reasons, that which powers your website and the server it sits on is just as important as what visitors see from the front.
These points alone do not mean a flood of traffic to your website, but technical SEO is still a strong factor to any campaign – and is another reason why SEO is a long way off from being declared extinct.
Image credit: Wikipedia