SEO lessons from India’s disastrous cricket tour of England
If you are wondering what a cricket tour has to do with SEO, there’s quite a lot. As almost anyone with any understanding of the field will agree, one of the main aims of SEO is to attract relevant traffic to a website, typically by being at the top of the search results. Just as the Indian cricket team found out when they went on a seemingly underprepared tour of England where they got whitewashed 4-0 in the test series and lost their top spot in the International Cricket Council cricket rankings, companies using SEO as a key element of their online marketing strategy should realize that getting to the top of search engine rankings is difficult enough; staying there is equally hard, if not more so.
Following the loss in England, the Indian cricket team and the administration were accused of: a) lack of enough preparation: the team did not give itself enough time to get used to the different conditions they were likely to encounter and several of its players were not in their peak physical and mental (due to fatigue, perhaps) fitness b) lack of enough practice: the Indian cricket team boasted of some of the best individual players with personal records that are among the best ever in the history of the game, but they didn’t seem to practice their skills for the task at hand enough c) taking things for granted: a “show up in England and we’ll win” attitude.
Now, I see almost identical parallels in the world of SEO. Very often, as soon as a website reaches the top rankings for some keywords, clients feel it is the time to back off and take the foot off the accelerator. ‘We should now get into ‘maintenance’ mode’ – which in business terms translates into “Let’s stop investing on SEO activities as our goals are being met now.”
In fact this should be the time for marketers to increase the margin of separation from their competition; identify newer opportunities; and try to “future-proof” their position. As the Google Panda attack showed in the last few months, things can change (even if it is short-term) very quickly. What might have worked in the past may not work as well in the future. Therefore, while a website is at the top of search rankings, it’s time to take the time to review what’s working well, what needs to change, what can be done better or different (and differently). Remember, if one is not continuing to add content to your website, the competition might be; if one doesn’t continue to build links and external popularity, the competition may be. Very soon, like the Indian cricket team, the website will be off its perch.
SEO is interesting and challenging because of its rather paradoxical nature; the more it seems to change every day as newer and newer ‘ranking signals’ come into play, the more it seems to remain the same ie. do well on content, accessibility and popularity and you are likely to do well with your SEO. The only counter to the constant flux that SEO faces is to ensure that there is continuing diligent effort; don’t let complacence and the heady feeling of reaching the top act as dampeners. The fall from the top can be pretty fast and steep.
- Manoj Aravindakshan
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