If there's one thing that annoys me when it comes to search engine optimization, it's when someone pushes back against development or site changes because they read something somewhere. If your site sucks in rankings and you're unable to improve rankings, you have to optimize. Leaving the site status quo because you read something somewhere gets you the exact results that you have now… none.
The #1 reason companies fail at search engine optimization is because of the read something somewhere excuse for inaction. Rather than applying resources in development and testing, some developer is sitting in a back room scouring Google forums to defend his premise that he shouldn't have to optimize the site. It's ridiculous.
Definition of Optimization
An act, process, or methodology of making something (as a design, system, or decision) as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible; specifically : the mathematical procedures (as finding the maximum of a function) involved in this. Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Search engines don't have rules nor a checklist for ensuring your site ranks well. The team at Google has provided some baseline things you can do as well as some tools for monitoring your success. They'll tell you to make sure your site is mobile, make sure it's fast, make sure you're not blocking search engines… and they provide many more things you can do to enhance the search experience – sitemaps, canonical links, meta descriptions, alt tags, HTML structure, pinging, keyword usage, hierarchy, etc…
But they don't tell you everything you have to do, they just advise you to optimize your site. So, it's on you to test image usage, video usage, site structure, navigation, etc. In order to optimize, it requires that you:
- Act – that means you need to do something!
- Test – that means you create a methodology or process to test changes.
- Measure – that means you must measure the results of the changes you're making to the site so you can tell what works and doesn't work.
Read Something Somewhere
There are a couple of problems with the read something somewhere excuse for inaction:
- The timing of the advice that was given could be out of date with current search engine optimization strategies. For instance, you could read a great article on authorship… but it's no longer supported by Google.
- The source of the advice could be totally out of context for the issues you're running into. Perhaps the advice was provided for an enterprise site, or a local site, or a site with high mobile usage… that advice may or may not work nor be a priority for your site.
Hence… you optimize. And if you're working with a great firm that keeps up on SEO strategies, the responsibility is there's to ensure you don't screw it up. But they also have the experience so there's no need for your team to go read something somewhere.
The read something somewhere excuse has to go. You'll find a million reasons on the web for inaction, but when what you've done isn't working, you can't expect different results until you make changes. That's the key to optimization – continue to test different methods so that you can figure out what works best. Don't discard anything unless, for example, Google has provided clear messaging on what to do or not to do. For example, Google has told you to never pay for links. So don't do it.
Everything else is open for optimization. Quit coming up with excuses and start optimizing your site now!