One of the most challenging aspects of digital marketing, and specifically SEO, is that the process involved changes for every website. When speaking to clients from an agency perspective, this can be the most frustrating thing for them, because while the general process in terms of checking technical SEO aspects and developing a strategy are the same, that is where similarities end. What works on one website isn’t guaranteed to work on another, while there are so many different variables that contribute to SEO and to the wider digital marketing spectrum in general that it is impossible to predict in full what is going to happen in any campaign.
Here are some of the most important variables that contribute to the SEO process differing for every website.
From a basic perspective, all websites have the same things. A hosting package of sorts, a design template, and some on-site content discussing whatever products or services the site is looking to sell.
However, the quality of these factors and others can vary massively, meaning some websites have a strong foundation from which to build a digital marketing campaign, while others need help with establishing many of the basics of a strong website.
There is a big difference between starting a digital marketing campaign by looking at content creation and link building, and starting it by spending a long time putting things as they should already be.
This is another digital marketing factor that can put many people off investing in it. SEO success depends on your competition, and depends what they are doing within their own SEO and digital marketing campaigns. Digital marketing isn’t just a case of Google seeing that you’re doing work on your site and then rewarding you for it. Whether what you’re doing beats what your competitors are doing is crucial.
Several SEO factors come into play here, from keywords to the quality of your content to the sort of sites that are building links back to your own.
One thing that is the same in all SEO campaigns is that an SEO agency will conduct competitor analysis. If you’re doing your own SEO you should make sure you spend some time doing it yourself. This then allows either yourself or the SEO agency you have hired to plan and execute the best campaign based on your competitors and around what you need to do to beat them.
At this point, differences will then appear, as one website might need to do very little work in order to hit the first page of Google and dominate the rankings for their chosen keywords, while others might need to commit to 6 – 12 months of SEO before they start to see even a small difference.
One company might have very little in terms of financial resources that they can commit to SEO on a monthly basis, while another might give the majority of their overall marketing budget over to SEO.
What a business is willing to spend on a monthly basis is an important factor to consider. The process taken by an SEO agency or by a company in-house will be different if spending £500 a month on SEO and digital marketing activities in comparison to spending £2000 a month. Priorities will change, as will the expectation around seeing results. While it is wrong to assume that you need to be spending a lot of money to see SEO success, it is true that the more you can invest, the more activities and opportunities you can pursue, and the better your likely chances of seeing a difference.
If a website has been actively trying to use black hat SEO techniques to succeed or have been hit with a Google penalty after unwittingly doing some bad link building, for example, the SEO process for these sites is going to be massively different than it would be for a site looking to explore digital marketing for the first time.
In such cases, the full focus of an SEO campaign during the early stages will be on doing whatever is needed in order to remove a penalty, at which point the site can start to move forward once again. However, to the specific action taken will depend on a number of things, including whether the penalty was a manual or algorithmic one.
Although the key objectives and methods of SEO remain the same for every website, how these are pursued and achieved depends on a number of factors. Understanding these factors, and how they all play a part in the overall SEO and digital marketing process will be key to you getting the most out of your campaign, whether you work with an SEO or digital marketing agency or plan and execute your campaign in-house.