Over the years, I don’t know how many people I have told that “SEO is like commercial farming,” but there have been many. Typically, I mention this in the beginning of a sales meeting to help set the
stage for a successful and effective campaign.
SEO = Search Engine Optimization
Imagine being a farmer and surveying an empty field (your website) for which you later intend to plant crops. You wouldn’t run into the middle and begin throwing seeds everywhere, yet many SEO campaigns unfortunately begin that way. First, you would probably analyze your field for things like consistency (code validation), soil quality (message), irrigation channels (page loading times), etc… because having a strong platform is essential if you want to have a big harvest. Once that was under control, then you begin looking at what type of crops (keyword phrases) should be placed strategically in certain areas of your field, possibly because some require more or less sunlight than others. I do not have a background in farming, but am trying to make the point that a lot of analysis and planning needs to be done in order to increase your odds of success.
Once the field is plowed (Sitemap created for ease of indexing) then we plant our first crop, or in this instance, we create our first SEO keyword phrase landing page, and add it to the Sitemap as a text link. Like a newly planted seed, there is no visible growth (in the search results) in the beginning weeks or months. However, over time, you will soon see a sprout appear out of the soil (showing up on search results). And eventually…with the proper maintenance (inbound linking with social media efforts), this crop will become large, strong and productive. Of course, I am referring to a 1st page search result ranking on the major engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo), which can deliver powerful results.
Over time, your field will ultimately become full of high yielding crops and the same thing happens with websites that have targeted all of a client’s industry related keywords. As a website adds more key phrases, the SEO firm’s maintenance duties increase as well. When I see website designers and SEO agencies offering “one time SEO services,” it makes me cringe because… like a farmer… you don’t just plant a bunch of seeds then go home. In reality, your job has just begun. In addition, competitor SEO enhancements and continually changing search engine ranking algorithms will always keep us “out in the field” plowing, planting, pruning, clipping, etc… in an effort to keep up with the changing times and conditions.
What does all this mean? SEO, like farming, requires a well thought out plan, lots of initial work, and ever increasing ongoing maintenance as larger yields are produced. How about a freshly sliced tomato? 🙂