In Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as in life, you have enemies and you have allies. To win the Internet marketing (IM) battle we must be vigilant and focused and prepared for the long haul. In reading Sun Tzu’s Art of War we can take but a few of his tips, and turn them to our favor.
Know your Enemies
Being conscious enough to know where you are failing is very important; in fact it is vital to success. What kind of enemies can you have in IM? This list may not be all of them, but it sure applies to me, or at least it did:
1. Forum Loitering
2. Side-track Surfing
3. Website OCD
4. Social Network Zombies
5. Statistics Anxiety
6. Blogging excuses
You may not relate to all of these Enemies of IM, but I bet you are courting at least one. Let’s break these down and have a look at them in a bit more detail.
Forum Loitering is an easy trap to fall into. You start off learning from others that have gone before you, you see that Special Offer that could be the big break. Before you know it you are on these forums a couple of hours a day. “So what” you cry, “I AM learning and I AM only spending a couple of hours doing it”. Yes, but it is 2 hours away from IM, and that equates to less traffic to your site.
I turned this enemy around. I chose half a dozen forums that were consistently helpful and added them to my Bookmarks. I ONLY visit these forums when looking for an answer. I occasionally share where I can see I could be of help, but I never hang out there; in and out: a Commando raid.
This enemy is crafty.
‘I start surfing for an answer to a need, I then see a site that reminds me of another task I need to do, then I come across an interesting bit of info, and in fact, I think I will read the whole post, then the comments…what else is of interest here…… OMG, what was I originally looking for?’
Is this a familiar scenario? If I must go outside of the task I was originally performing I will make sure that I open multiple tabs. Since doing this, instead of clicking from link to link, I can immediately see where I started. I may spend an extra 10 minutes getting side tracked, but I don’t have to spend another 10 minutes working out how I got there.
Website Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a dastardly enemy. You think you are making improvements, streamlining your site, or improving visitor experience through tweaking your best WordPress theme to absolute perfection. Building the site up, stripping it back down again, testing new plugins and experimenting with code. This is a hard enemy to defeat, so as Sun Tzu might advise, we work with the enemy, rather than against them.
To ensure that website OCD didn’t defeat me; I had to make some tough decisions.
• I will work with only 2 themes
• I will only add a plug in if it is a proven winner, and then only to one site at a time
• I will always weigh up a tweak against IM, to which IM will always win
Website OCD is based on aesthetics, not on functionality, and it certainly doesn’t stack up to getting traffic to your site when compared to SEO and IM.
Social Network Zombies
We all know that social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook can be an effective part of one’s Internet Marketing strategy. What many don’t know is that it is an enemy as well, or at least it can be. How long do you spend on Twitter, or, do you side-track surf through Facebook? How long are you spending there?
There is more self discipline to be had here people. You will need to make some hard and fast rules for yourself about social networking use, and here’s the rub, the less the better! If you have a SEO strategy then use it, otherwise…commando operation…in and out, minimum casualties.
Statistics Anxiety – The art of SEO
Where am I placed in the Google rankings this morning, this afternoon, this evening. How many unique visitors have I had? These questions are typical of those that I have asked of myself in the past on an hourly basis. I still struggle with this enemy, but these days understand that there is nothing actually gained by over-analyzing my sites and pages. I can gain some insights, but not the way I was going about it. In fact, I was making life hard on myself. By checking stats every few hours I increased my own frustration and anxiety. Best to keep away from this one. Check them once a day if you have to, less if you can manage it.
If you have not encountered any of these enemies to Internet Marketing, then it is time to look into the shadows, because it may well be that the enemy is within! Of course this is not the end of the Art of SEO list, it is only the beginning, but for some, that is all that is needed.