With the amount of time I have spent running in the past months while training for my second marathon, my mind has plenty of time to wander off. During my runs, my thoughts have ranged from how did someone come up with the concept for Sharknado to exploring the commonalities between distance running and SEO. Since you are more than likely here for information on search engine optimization, rather than a Syfy movie, we will look at its similarities with marathons.
All too often, people enter both worlds with unrealistic goals and expect immediate results. Everyone would love to wake up one day and be able to keep up with Meb Keflezighi and his blistering 4:54 minute-miles for all 26.2 miles of the Boston Marathon. Unfortunately, we have just as good a chance as waking up as the top result on Google.
Both take time and patience and all start with humble beginnings. Sure you could cheat your way to the top with performance enhancers and black hat strategies, but once in the spotlight you are going to get caught and there will be some serious repercussions. Much like the like age-old adage, “slow and steady wins the race.”
Building a Workable Base
It all starts with cultivating proper form. Without it, all of your hard work and potential gains will be drastically limited. Unless you have worked with a talented SEO firm in the past, your website is going to need an overhaul before they can work on helping you move up the ranks. Correcting the site’s form is going to take time as keyword research is done and every page is evaluated. Having the proper tags and meta-descriptions and keyword rich on-page content will provide your website with the base it needs to make its run for the top.
Making a Training Schedule
Once you have optimized your form, you are almost ready to start building on that base. Before you start racking up time, you know what strategies and techniques to use for the best results. While you could use one method the entire time and achieve the desired result, it is not going to be nearly as effective as using multiple techniques. Much like how mixing speed workouts with long runs helps the body better repel lactic acid, building links through a mix of web and infographics directories helps the site attract link juice.
With your form and strategy in place, you are ready to start your training. As with running, it may take a few months before you begin noticing improvements. Here is where running and SEO vary. When training you always want more competition, it pushes you and can result in faster gains. In your case, the more competition your keywords have, the more of a challenge you will have and it may take more time to reach the top. In both cases, however, you went in knowing you cannot expect immediate results and it was not going to be a simple walk in the park. Do not get discouraged, soon you will see the progress that you have been working so hard to achieve.
So now that things are looking up, you feel great and it seems like you will hit your goal in no time, but all of a sudden you hit a wall and everything you worked for has come to an abrupt stop. I remember the exact spot I hit the wall on mile 20 and still cringe when I drive by it. My muscles screamed for mercy and I thought I would never make it. Since I was not going to let all of my hard work go for nothing, I forced my way through the wall and found new life. Your campaign can hit its own wall as you reach the end of your marathon. Much like you, your competitors have worked hard for these coveted top spots, but you must push on and continue your efforts. Do not get frustrated, just keep building links and adding fresh content and before you know it, you too will have broken through the wall.
Crossing The Finish Line
Once you have crossed the finish line and reached the number one spot, take a minute and enjoy the runner’s high. Much like a runner, you will find that rush to be quite addicting and will not want to stop. Keep going, push for greater things. Turn your marathon into an ultra-marathon and target new keywords. Ending your SEO campaign after reaching the top for one keyword is like never running again after completing your first marathon. All of your hard work will have been for nothing.
Remember, your campaign is like training for a marathon. Magic is not going to happen overnight. You are going to have to work for it. There will be changes that you need to make to push yourself into that elite category. There are times where it seems like things have hit a wall and your work is crashing around you. After persevering through the hard times, you will be rewarded with a rush of success and accomplishment. You can now look back and laugh at all the time you had any doubt and thank yourself for fighting to the top. Congratulations, you did it.