There are many articles that describe the disadvantages and ineffectiveness of cookie cutter SEO. But a totally innovative SEO solution is equally useless. The above reasoning could be quite surprising for many, but is truthful. In order to understand this reality, we need to get to know a few basic concepts.
Best Practices in SEO
A best practice is a way of doing things to achieve better results. They may not be the latest trendy practices but implementing them ensures end results. It is not a good idea or choice to avoid best practices because they are not unique and latest. For instance, avoiding checking fluids levels and tyre air pressures of car before a long trip only leads to trouble. Best practices are not totally unique methods or fads but they are good things to follow to maximize end results. When a website is performing poorly on rankings there are around 200 parameters to consider for improving the performance and the right way is to follow best practices even if they are not something new. While some parameters are new, many aspects of the algorithm are same for decades.
Best practices for optimizing the website includes maintaining original, insightful and unique content, good titles and meta descriptions, following Google webmaster guidelines, maintaining website with fresh content, gaining links to promote the site etc. Sometimes the methodologies that are defined as best practices five years back do not have much in common with today’s best practices of SEO because the algorithm have updated many times. In SEO, best practices need to be constantly re-validated especially after any significant update because the optimization techniques that comply with one algorithm update might not work for next update. So it is like formulating new strategies by evaluating the end results for each implementation of standard procedure. At the same time many SEO companies without knowing much about the algorithm/updates define their own approaches and strategies as best practices even though they deliver little positive outcomes.
What is a Cookie Cutter Approach?
Cookie cutter SEO is a templated set of activities or methodologies which are done mechanically without assessing the needs of a website. These are mechanical and rigid methods that are not customized to the website requirements. The approach is similar to doing lot of things and hoping something will deliver the rankings. It shows limited understanding or ability, where work is being done by inexperienced or low caliber resources with poor judgment. The work may get done at lower cost but with meager results. This could waste opportunity, time and even negatively impact website branding.
The strategies of Search Engine Optimization are highly dependent on the current algorithm updates of the search engines themselves. Simple cookie cutter SEO techniques don’t work anymore because today there are nearly 200 parameters that affect search rankings. For example, the keyword density which was considered as important for many SEO campaigns, is now of almost no value for enabling top rankings for a given keyword. Each website require different set of parameters to optimize the site for good rankings. So the cookie cutter approach, doing SEO the same way for all websites is simply ineffective. For instance, when we go to a doctor, we expect him / her make the right diagnosis and give treatment by identifying the specific ailment and give a specific prescription targeting the ailment, not the same prescription or medicine for all illnesses. Similar is the case with SEO. The SEO services should offer proper diagnosis of the website and come up with solutions that will help boost search rankings, rather than provide a generic solution with lot of services that the site is not likely to benefit from.
SEO is quite complex to understand, especially to those with little understanding of technology. With the need for rankings for business and lack of quality professionals, cookie cutter SEO has flourished. It offers cheap cost and lot of activities. It gives a false assurance of quality work at low cost. Unfortunately, clients have paid a heavy price for such work. For example Penguin 3 punished bad SEO methods, many of whom had done cookie cutter solutions. It took websites 2 years before they could regain rankings even after resolving all issues with the penguin penalty.
Clients Make the Mistake of Seeking a Totally Innovative Solution for Better Results
A totally innovative solution is opposite to a cookie cutter approach. The main assumption to adopt this approach is to achieve superior benefits with the innovative approach. A totally innovative solution that doesn’t make a positive impact is a waste methodology. SEO methods should make a positive impact on rankings, either by boosting SEO credentials for the site or removing an issue that is preventing rankings. A method that does neither is ineffective. It is just waste of effort and time if it works in opposite manner, destroying the credentials or creating new issues. With the intention to rank higher, today people are using manipulative and risky methods as totally innovative solutions. Many business owners are falling for the fallacy of seeking a innovative solution instead of a customized solution without even knowing what type of methodologies the SEO company is going to implement.
The Myth of Results From a Totally Innovative Solution
It is possible to create a false positive impression by offering services that are trend setters in SEO, like the most popular hash tags in Twitter. The idea of a totally innovative approach is just a myth. Based on headlines of the articles in popular SEO related websites, an “intelligent” looking proposal can be made that sounds very reasonable to someone choosing an SEO services for the first time. The popular trends such as keyword stuffing, article spinning, blog comments, forum signatures, two way linking and other tactics which were once popular were just the shortcut routes for giving an impression of unique and up-to-date SEO methods. These innovative SEO methods were mostly ineffective or provided some short term boost. But more often they created negative impact over the long term.
Seek a Balanced SEO Solution
Right and balanced approach will focus on performance rather than uniqueness. Based on the customer’s business needs and individual website requirement, strategies are customized to address the weaker areas of the website. Also, don’t make mistake of avoiding best practices in specific areas of SEO as some of them are necessary for optimizing the site for search engines. Avoiding them will result in poor rankings and may even lead to website penalty. Seek a balanced proposal that avoids cookie cutter approach, adopts best practices and customizes a few elements that are important for that particular website.
By: Uma Sri