Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Plan Your SEO for the Long Haul

In her latest ClickZ column, Short- vs. Long-Term SEO Shari Thurow proposes that most SEO firms can be divided into two groups depending on whether they employ short-term or long-term strategies. Short-term “algorithm chasers” are fighting a losing battle, she says, trying to get the best results at the moment and scrapping everything when an algorithm changes. Thurow outlines the short-term pattern like this:

Short-Term SEO Strategy

  • The client’s search engine traffic drops (sometimes a dramatic drop if there’s a major algorithm change).
  • The client communicates dissatisfaction to the SEO firm.
  • The SEO firm attempts to reanalyze the algorithm.
  • Based on the so-called algorithm analysis, the SEO firm implements changes.
  • The client waits for implementation to take effect.
  • Lather, rinse, and repeat.

Instead of having a reactive strategy like that, Thurow suggests that SEO practitioners should instead take a proactive approach, by building a keyword-focused, search-friendly, user-friendly Web site. That strategy can also help increase conversions and attract inbound links. She also points out:

The funny thing about this long-term approach? Implemented correctly, a keyword-focused, search-friendly, user-friendly Web site tends to receive qualified search engine traffic over time in spite of all algorithm changes and all new search engines that come onto the horizon. Link development isn’t a difficult process because people genuinely want to link to easily accessible, unique content.

Here at Rank Magic, we have always followed the long-term approach. In fact, the first web site we ever optimized (a tutor for kids with learning disabilities) back in 1999 still ranks #1 in Google for “NJ Tutoring” and it hasn’t been modified in at least 5 years.

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