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Who Would Win an SEO Race? The Tortoise or the Hare?
By Robert Reeve, Sep 19, 2013
We’ve all heard the story of the tortoise and the hare. We’ve all heard someone say ‘slow and steady wins the race’ when we’ve been playfully mocking them for taking their time with something, too. Some of us might even have said it ourselves!
The question many of you are probably asking is how on Earth does a 2,500-year old story relate to SEO?
Allow us to explain.
Fast and Furious, or Slow and Steady?
The whole point of the story is that the hare, which is strong and quick, has an overwhelming belief in his ability to beat the tortoise in a race. However, having sped into a huge lead, the hare then decides to take a break, has a nap, and when he wakes up he sees that he’s lost to the tortoise.
Moving to SEO, the hare represents two types of business. It represents those who believe you can “do” SEO once and then leave it alone, as well as those who are always looking for an SEO quick fix and laugh at those who take time and care attending to an SEO strategy. The businesses who are the hares are the ones who turn to the types of SEO agencies who make grandiose promises such as, “Number 1 in Google Guaranteed by Month End.” Those SEO agencies also tend to be the ones with no long-term plan for making your site a success, and only tell you about how they can improve your Google rankings, not revenue, which is what leading SEO agencies will do. They’ll also disappear when you’re hit with a Google penalty and need help putting your problems right.
It is common for businesses to scale back their SEO investment or efforts once they start to see better results from organic search. This mimics the complacency of the hare taking a nap to perfection. In life, whether SEO, sport, academic work, or anything else, when you’re doing well is the time to ‘cash in’ and really drive home your advantage. If you’re seeing great results from organic search now, you cannot simply stop and expect to maintain this level of performance.
The Hare Solution
Instead of becoming the hare, use your SEO successes as an opportunity to look at the detail of what you’re doing. Unless you’ve been very fortunate, not every aspect of your SEO is going to be running at its full potential.
What are the things you could look at?
- Now that you have established market leadership for a number of keywords, can you diversify your keywords to grow your business from other terms?
- Similarly, look at any PPC advertising you might be doing; can you shift your focus elsewhere?
- Is your content marketing strategy as good as it can be? Could you achieve better results by fine-tuning your blogs or any guest posts you do?
- Are you making the most of your social media accounts?
As a business leader, you’re already of the mind-set that there is always room for improvement. This applies to SEO as much as it does to anything else. Don’t be the hare and think the job is done!
The Role of the Tortoise
Here, the role of the tortoise is played by the business that has spent time and money on SEO services, but hasn’t seen a great return within 6 – 12 months of embarking on an SEO campaign. Given the time it can take to get results from SEO, this occurrence isn’t a surprise. However, business executives and marketing professionals can be very impatient! It is often tempting to give up at this stage and dismiss SEO as a useless venture, or a waste of money.
In the story, the tortoise knew that, if he kept going, no matter how tough his course seemed, he would get his rewards eventually. The same is true for SEO. Sometimes, SEO isn’t going to work for a website, for a variety of reasons. It might just be the case that there are too many established competitors in a particular niche, for example. That said, the majority of the time, sticking with an SEO strategy, whether you’re taking care of SEO in-house or are working with an SEO agency, is the best step to take.
All that needs to happen is for one of your competitors to act like the hare, give up on SEO, and you have your opportunity to pounce.
Which are you?
The reality is it doesn’t matter whether you’re the hare or the tortoise. In reality, you’d want to be a combination of the good parts of both, bringing the speed and power of the hare together with the grim determination and relentlessness of the tortoise.
In business, you’d never do anything that would give your competitors an opportunity to steal a march on you. If you get complacent or give up on SEO, whether you’re not getting the results you want or you’re seeing great success, you’ll be doing exactly that.
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