Biyearly Growth Planning
When we plan to grow the search engine ranking of any our clients, we have both short term and long term goals in mind. We usually consider short term goals to be in blocks of 6 month, biyearly periods. These biyearly goals of ours usually include an overall increase in search ranking for most of the target keywords of our client, but this alone is an incredible oversimplification.
Our long term growth strategy for any client website depends entirely upon our client’s goals and the competitiveness of the keywords they wish to rank under. Ultimately, we hope to make our client achieve all of their ranking goals, but this is usually done through a series of simpler short term goals, taken in biyearly steps.
Long term planning involves far more than simply SEO, it involves indirect link building methodology such as establishing connections with influencers in your industry, gaining a positive reputation via social media campaigns, and some unique strategies that we’ll need to come up with along the way that are unique to your niche. This in addition to all the standard link building we’ll of course also be doing. Long term growth is usually highly volatile and unpredictable, and we plan around that accordingly. Some niches may be practically dominated in as few as a year or two, others it would be unrealistic to ever expect a first page ranking in, even after many years.
But first page rankings are rarely the name of the game for highly competitive niches anyway – rather ranking under long tail keywords for those niches is often a far more profitable and practical endeavor, unless you have many millions of dollars per year to throw at the problem and truly wish to play in the major league.
We’re always honest with our clients about what we think, and will advise accordingly. We’re not going to let you attempt to rank #1 in Google under “buy life insurance” with a $1500 monthly budget in 1 year’s time. Doing so will only lead to predictable disappointment. If however you are an established insurance company that is serious about such a ranking, and are equally serious about the time and investment that such a ranking requires, then we will devise a long term plan accordingly.
We consider many things besides how to go about getting mere short term ranking increases for our clients. We need to consider whether a new link building strategy may backfire further down the line in a few years time when new search algorithms are released, or even worse, how a manual penalty could destruct all of a client’s organic traffic overnight. We often are able to make such predictions by examining the trajectory that search engine updates are going, and avoid conflicting with them. There’s no need to charge head first into a giant elephant. We can simulate a lot of this through our own internal AI simulations, but more often than not it’s a result of gut and observing patterns of boom and bust in the SEO industry.
We also sometimes make incorrect predictions internally, which is only natural because no one can predict the future with complete accuracy. This is why we prefer to adopt an overall philosophy of natural link building as opposed to employing the latest gimmicky methods which are nearly always penalized eventually, even years down the line. Slow and steady wins the race (as a failed presidential candidate once said). But in all seriousness, if you’re not an elephant, the next best thing is to be a turtle.
For our enterprise clients, we need to ensure our creative link building methods are in sync with their corporate social responsibilities, and would not do obvious harm to their reputation. For large corporations, consistency is often more important than immediate profit, particularly if that immediate profit goes directly against their CSR planning.
For our small business and personal-tier clients, often high risk for the chance of high reward is a more motivating factor, as they usually have less to lose in terms of reputation; CSR isn’t usually a concern of theirs. We respect that too, and our managers are often instructed by these clients to pursue such high risk strategies, which we implement when instructed, only after the appropriate warnings have been made. Nevertheless, even when pursuing these strategies we are still cautious where we can be for one simple reason: getting immediate short term results is often possible but ultimately meaningless when those results may be gone by tomorrow, with line charts looking more chaotic than the latest cryptocurrency fad. Like a drug addict getting high before a massive crash, that is not what we’re about, and we advise our clients of such.
Such business relationships are bad for both us, and our clients. They are bad for us because after the inevitable ranking crash, our client will of course abandon us when we were hoping to grow a long term business relationship with them. They’re bad for our client because the allure of short term profit sacrificed an often very good business idea on their part. This isn’t to say that irresponsible SEO techniques are impossible to recover from, indeed many of our clients come to us with an extensive list of search engine penalizations after their once miraculous former “professional SEO” partner did a classical “pump n dump” on their website (“pump n dump” refers to generating short term trading profit before abandoning the investment). We can help such clients, but the process takes time, money, and honesty with the search engines that bad errors of judgement were made in the past. We also need to show the search engines that such clients are serious about not engaging in such practices again.
We prefer it if our clients grow with us over the years at the same pace as their business. As their business expands, they can afford to broaden their search engine goals. Such slow and steady organic growth is usually highly successful in the long term, since it builds Domain Authority. An aged, high DA makes ranking for more competitive long tail keywords, and eventually major keywords, much easier. In fact everything becomes easier. Search engines place a lot of trust in domains with high authority and are even willing to forgive blatant SEO mistakes that might otherwise wipe out a newer business. Long term expansion with careful planning becomes a win win for both us and our clients.
This isn’t to say we’re philosophically against any technique that works in the short term. Of course, short term strategies that are effective without penalization are ideal and better than any other. Indeed a lot of our SEO methodology is based upon such strategies. However, such strategies should form a small part of an overall link building plan, particularly if the website in question wishes to remain relevant years into the future.
Unfortunately, we often encounter clients that acquired their online entrepreneurial wealth during the “SEO Gold Rush” of pre 2012 who still are stuck in the same mindset even though the world has moved on. Back then, careless blackhat methods were the most effective methods of all. We too were guilty of employing them before. They worked, and they weren’t penalized, so why wouldn’t we have? However, that was all before Google released their Penguin algorithm update in that chilling pre-summer night of 2012.
Since then, we’ve matured a lot, and we’ve adapted to the direction that Google and other major search engines are headed, which is embracing AI to do a lot of things better than any human can, and at scale too. It would be foolish to bury our faces in the sand employing blackhat SEO techniques that don’t ultimately stand a chance against advancing AI research, and it’s not where we put our focus.
There’s a very good reason we think and plan long term as opposed to employing the latest gimmicky ranking tricks. It’s not only about ensuring long term growth whilst your less ambitious competitors fail to play the “long game” correctly, it’s about your reputation throughout the whole process. And not just from a CSR perspective; when we talk about positive reputation we aren’t thinking about planting trees, but rather thinking how that reputation can translate into natural links.
It’s abundantly clear from our experience that a positive reputation will lead to natural Tier 1 links from organic sources, sometimes many years into the future. However else this might help a company outside of link building is not our primary concern, and is just a bonus. Nevertheless, the two often go hand in hand.
Hopefully you’ve understood from our perspective why we plan in biyearly blocks of time and never month to month. If you still insist on thinking of SEO as a month to month thing then we strongly recommend that you don’t subscribe to our services. Save yourself the money, go with an SEO company promising you the moon for less, and experience for yourself the problems that short term planning will bring as search engines mature and embrace advanced AI methods.