Finding the Right Recipe: The Art and Science of SEO

Finding the Right Recipe: The Art and Science of SEO
Chris Lonergan
Chris Lonergan February 22, 2019

While search engine optimization is just one component of what we do at Footbridge Media, we get lots of questions about how to "best SEO" a site. Some new clients ask we if we can "SEO" their current site and not do any ongoing work. Others ask if we can just "add more SEO" to their current marketing.

The truth is that, while search engine optimization has some fairly clear best practices and methods that have seen success historically – SEO is not one-size fits all. There isn't one specific tactic that can be implemented to deploy SEO like a commodity.

Let's go over a few reasons why chasing search engine optimization success can be so difficult.

Nobody Really Knows the SEO Recipe

Between the misdirection, conflicting opinions, and misinformation – there is a whole lot that may (or may not!) go into SEO. While we can guess at some of Google's ranking factors from things the company has themselves said, what tactics have had repeatable success over countless websites, and what industry experts can distill – the truth is that no one person really knows the recipe.

Technically Correct SEO Versus Actual Results

We're not saying that you should break the rules when it comes to SEO. You should absolutely follow best practices and only work ethically – but there will be times where some websites that appear to be breaking all the rules will do better than the ones abiding. That doesn't mean that the things they are doing wrong (like keyword stuffing, copied content, etc.) are the things that are improving their position. With all those moving parts, it's hard to say just why a "bad" site ranks well – but in the end they all usually fall.

The Finish Line is Always Moving

It's not just about getting your page to rank well. It's about outranking other pages...that in all likelihood are also trying to outrank you at the same time. We're all running a race where the finish line is constantly moving – optimization is all about jockeying for position continuously.

And What "Success" Means Depends On Your Competitors

Success is a relative term. If you are an HVAC or electrician outside of a major metro, you cannot compare your success to the success of someone in the city or in a different state. You can copy the marketing tactics of the most successful plumber in Wappingers Falls, NY – but that may not work for your plumbing business.

You're competing against those immediately around you. Directly comparing the website success of your business to someone a city or state away is an apples-to-oranges situation. You can certainly glean some ideas, but you won't find a silver bullet

Search engine optimization is a combination of art and science. SEO is a process, not a product – it is an ongoing cyclical system. That's why search engine optimization and online marketing must occur continually. Even if you do well enough to establish a good lead, there isn't much time to rest on your laurels. Taking time out from your marketing and optimization because you're already doing well puts you at risk for falling behind and having to play catch up once again.

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