SEO – it seems like it’d be easy, right? Add a little keyword here, some alt text there, some quality content over here, and voila! Optimized, ranking websites. It hardly ever works out like that, though, and people tend to think, “Oh, that SEO stuff doesn’t work!” It’s harder than it looks, but why?
SEO can be difficult to say the least. Understanding how people shop, search the Internet, or engage in social media is immensely challenging and convoluting. Understanding search engine optimization requires a massive amount of knowledge, and relentless dedication to keep up with an industry that shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.
7 Reasons SEO is Difficult
Success takes what might be best described as a ruthless addiction to analytics and testing. The following is a short list of reasons why SEO is so difficult.
1. Search engines are constantly refining ranking parameters.
First, search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing constantly refine the parameters for ranking, allowable display properties, and acceptable practices. It’s never ending. Google for one, is always out to provide the best user experience possible—without allowing anyone to game the system. Web designers must take into consideration how a website will perform across a whole array of hand-held devices. Your job, should you chose to accept it, is to optimize your website in as many future-focused ways as possible.
On top of that, business owners must optimize for local search, and that’s a whole new animal within itself. Then there’s the challenge of Schema markup. Do you have enough information for algorithms to rank your site as one of the most informative results for a particular search query?
2. Keyword research is always a huge headache.
There’s an endless supply of tools on the market made available to conduct research—some free and some that requirement payment. What’s the right criteria for determining the best methods of research for your Website or company’s keywords? Can you trust the estimates given from your chosen tool? What are the parameters for running a successful test campaign? How long a list is adequate for your long-tail keywords?
3. Duplicate content can ruin your efforts.
Are you keeping up with possible duplicate content on your own site? Are you keeping up with other sites that might be duplicating your content? How do you monitor if someone else publishes your work? And if you find out, what will you do? Is anyone sharing your content? Yes, content is still king. However, it’s a whole world within itself.
4. Search engine algorithms change often.
Are you up on the latest algorithm changes from the big three search engines? In recent years past, advanced webmasters might have been able to keep one or two steps ahead of search engine algorithms and ranking factors. Today, it’s about fast-forwarding and thinking ahead to what search engines will require two years out from the present.
5. Inbound links still matter.
Yes! Inbound links are still a critical element of how well your site will rank. Is your website aged enough, or relevant enough, for people of authority to want to link to it?
6. There’s a lot involved and years to master.
Another thing that makes SEO so difficult is that it takes years to understand—which means that it’s never really going to be fully understood because the parameters to rank are constantly changing. The moment you understand it is the moment that you might have the ability to game the system—so thinks Google! And keep in mind that SEO isn’t taught as a degree-level course. As such, most SEO experts are self-taught.
7. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.
When you think about it, there’s not even a Google certification for SEO. SEO takes time to realize the results. The best results are usually far out, and this is counter-intuitive with respect to platforms like Facebook where the results are immediately good, bad, or indifferent. What makes such results valuable is that they’re in real time. We have something to measure our definition of success, or failure, against.
The best approach to SEO and your company is to hire the professionals who live it and breathe it on a 24/7 basis. They’re in the know because their livelihood requires them to continually be at the top of their game. SEO is immensely valuable because it forces site owners to stick to the basics of providing products, information, and services that are needed, informative, and relevant for today’s consumer.