5 SEO Lessons and Tips for Your Business Learned from 17+ Years in the Industry – Dragonfly Digital Marketing

5 SEO Lessons and Tips for Your Business Learned from 17+ Years in the Industry - Dragonfly Digital Marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO) is alive and well, and has been since the dawn of the internet, and especially the dawn of Google in 1998. Search engine algorithms are in a constant state of flux. Google updates their algorithms around 400-600 times a year. A handful of these are core algorithm updates with major impacts and a lot of others are minor tweaks here and there that have little impact. Individuals and businesses interested in SEO should stay on top of updates, which push websites in one direction: a focus on quality. Google needs to sift through a lot of garbage content. They do so by focusing on content with strong E.E.A.T – Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. (Formerly known as E.A.T, now with Experience added as the extra E) For years, Google’s quality rater guidelines have focused on these principles, with the recent addition of Experience to that list. The addition of mass-produced AI-generated content has made Experience a necessary addition. Experience is one thing AI cannot create for you. Experience is earned through years of hard work. Taking that into consideration, here are 5 SEO lessons I’ve learned in my 17+ years in the industry that you can use when doing SEO for your business: 1) Quality is Difficult to Scale I started my 17 years in SEO as a self-taught optimizer trying to promote my writing and editing business. When I began doing work for other companies, one of my primary responsibilities was writing content that was SEO optimized. Early on, one of my clients was in the OSHA compliance industry. They needed a lot of pages focused on OSHA training in each of the 50 states. What did I do to save time and money? I took 5 template articles and did Find/Replace for them, switching out one state name for another. The result? I had 50 nearly identical pages, none of the content ranked. This is a huge no-no due because of duplicate content. Duplicate content is the notion that search engines will consider a site low quality if many of the pages are identical. Even 13 years ago Google believed that quality is imperative for success on the internet. The SEO tip you can learn: Content should unique. There are no shortcuts to quality. 2) Start in Your Own Backyard Another early client was a limousine company in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (DFW). Eager to rank for primary phrases such as “limousine company”, “limo services” and “limo company”, I optimized the site for those phrases. Unfortunately, I overlooked the focus on DFW in primary SEO areas such as Titles and Descriptions. The result? The site performed poorly. I soon realized my mistake and included local cities in optimized area of the site, and they began gaining traffic. The SEO tip you can learn: Even for semi-national brands, it’s almost always best to start in your own backyard with SEO and build out from there. Everyone wants to be a national player, but you need to build up to that. 3) Make Sure Operations Are in Place Before Starting SEO One of driving ranking factors for SEO, especially local SEO, is reviews. This falls under the Authoritativeness principle of E.E.A.T. Over the years, I’ve had a wide range of clients, from technicians who ran their companies with well-defined policies and procedures to off-the-cuff clients who loosely ran their businesses. I can say that in general the former tends to do better. Of the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with, I’ve had a few that ran their operations particularly poorly. Customers were treated poorly, dismissed as nuisances, work was shoddy, and overall quality was not there. These are the clients that picked up bad reviews. Despite the red flags, I agreed to do SEO for them. The result? Increased traffic, but also increased negative reviews. Digital traffic tends to come from customers who are digitally minded, who are more likely to leave online reviews. The SEO tip you can learn: No amount of organic SEO traffic can make up for a poorly run operation. Fix your business before you choose to grow your business online. 4) Sometimes Google Messes Up Recently, a client’s Google Analytics numbers tanked. In one day, they lost 50% of all their traffic. Panicked, I dug into the numbers and website and tried to figure out what happened. Surely, they were penalized, but for what? Unable to figure out how this could have occurred, I talked to 4 different developers and an analytics expert, none of whom had an answer. After some investigation, I learned the client had not seen much change on their end. We waited it out and a month and a half later analytics numbers returned to normal. No explanation, they just returned. Ultimately, it was a glitch on Google’s end. While harmless, this was a wakeup call to make sure we always follow quality practices in our approach to avoid real rankings drops. The SEO tip you can learn: In the SEO industry, we’re at the whim of the search engines, and some things are out of our control. Not all rankings drops are bad, and following quality practices will help bolster you against true penalties. 5) Stay True to Yourself This one is an aggregate of 17+ years of experience. Of all the companies I’ve worked with, the ones that stay true to their core values and products are the ones that perform the best. As a company grows, it’s natural to want to expand services and products. The greatest lesson I’ve learned from an SEO standpoint is that it’s better to own a single vertical or product than spread yourself thin with many services and products. The most successful clients from an SEO perspective are the ones who stick with what they’re best at. That helps build their Expertise in a specific area, and that is almost always rewarded with good rankings. The SEO tip you can learn: Stick to what you know. Search engines are great at seeing through BS. It’s better to be specialist than a generalist. The Takeaways 17+ years in the SEO industry has taught me one important, unwavering lesson: A focus on quality practices is always the best approach to SEO. There are constant changes to algorithms, but using quality as your guiding principle will bolster your website’s SEO against current and future algorithm changes. Always consider the following when doing SEO for your business: Quality is Difficult to Scale Start in Your Own Backyard Make Sure Operations Are in Place Before Starting SEO Sometimes Google Messes Up Stay True to Yourself

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.