Have you ever built a fire? Whether in a fireplace or out camping, the basics are the same. SEO works in a very similar way. It’s a process that requires careful planning, skilled work, and most importantly, patience.
When you’re building a fire, you need to set things up the right way for it to work. You need a good place for it, where it’s not going to set anything else ablaze, the wood needs to be stacked correctly so you’ve got proper airflow, and you need something really flammable underneath that you can readily ignite with your spark when you’re ready.
Similarly… when you’re doing SEO, you need a good website to start with. Great content, easy navigation, accessible to all, things like that. You need to stack your keywords in the right places so they satisfy Google’s interest but still read naturally. (No throwing a jumble of keywords in the middle like it’s 1999!) And finally, you need to make sure all the technical things line up, things like schema markup, tags, and sitemaps.
Once you have everything set up just right, it’s time for…
So you’ve lit the small pile of dried leaves/grass/newspaper/whatever underneath your main pile of wood. If you leave it alone, it’ll burn itself out in a minute or so. To make the little fire grow into a big one, you’ve got to feed it! Small sticks, paper, more dried things… just keep it coming. You need to get this small fire burning long enough and hot enough to get the wood above it to ignite properly.
In the SEO arena, you’ve got the same situation. A good website won’t get you very far on its own, you need to actually get people to see it. Feeding your website a steady diet of backlinks and quality content updates will help it gain some momentum and get its position climbing. And eventually, after months of link building and updating… it breaks through to page 1! You’ve made it!
Keep It Going
And once you’ve got your fire burning big and bright… you’re done, right?
A fire left alone will eventually burn out. You need to periodically feed it with more wood to burn and make sure airflow doesn’t get blocked.
SEO works the same way… just because you’ve gotten yourself onto page one and into the map block doesn’t mean you’ll be there forever. You need to keep updating with fresh content, and continue building quality links so you don’t start dropping again.
And finally… Don’t be tempted to cheat the process! After all, you don’t throw a bucket of gasoline on a campfire you’ve started. You’ll get a bright blaze for a few seconds but it burns out quickly (and possibly gets the fire department involved to put your fire out for good).
Similarly, sneaky black hat practices might give you a big burst of activity right away, but… it doesn’t last long. And while Google demoting or blacklisting your website isn’t quite as dramatic as getting the fire hose turned on you, it can still be a huge setback for your business. Rehabilitating one’s reputation with Google can be a long, exhausting process.
Patience and careful planning will be rewarded. A good process, consistently applied, with awareness and adjustments for any changes that Google makes is your surest path to long-term success.