The history of search engine optimization (SEO) is such that diversification has been often ignored with website owners suffering the consequences of that decision. Essentially, owners found a winning SEO strategy and threw all their efforts behind that single technique to mine it until it was “mined out.” Unfortunately, there have been dire consequences when following this targeted approach.
In this article, we cover why diversifying is the right SEO strategy and the reasons why this is so.
Diversification Hasn’t Always Been Followed
When casting an eye back a few years, people saw website owners following questionable techniques for SEO. These include buying links from link farms like Build My Rank and other places that provided inexpensive access to powerful backlinks. These links significantly moved the needle and propelled sites higher up on page one for their chosen search terms.
These types of linking approaches eventually saw a Google algorithm update that was specifically designed to penalize such services. The sites that relied on their powerful links took the brunt of the Google action. It seemed like Armageddon to many observers and it was for those people who focused 80-100% of their energies and budget for link building on this strategy.
The PBN Craze Came Later
The pursuit of public blog networks (PBNs) came later with site owners purchasing links from websites that seemingly published weak, short content that was either machine generated or originated from a non-native speaker for English language content.
Indeed, PBN sites were often easy to spot because they typically had no human visitors at all (other than the owners of the websites being linked to who were looking to verify that their link was live and pointing to their website). Scant, if any, social media traffic, Shares, Likes, or any other activity that would have indicated genuine interest. However, the sites were developed on old domains with authority from powerful links pointing to them. Backlinks purchased from them performed well. Until they didn’t…
Sure enough, subsequent Google algorithm updates aimed at popular PBN networks took most of them down. They were easy to find because they were selling the links on public forums, Facebook Group pages, and so forth. If it was public, the sites that were linked from them eventually took a hit.
Does a Lack of Diversification Pay Anyway?
Winning with a currently acceptable or “gray hat” strategy with SEO today is usually a technique that will be seen as unacceptable down the line. It’s only a matter of time and waiting for the overuse of that technique where it becomes too prevalent. At that point, Google can no longer ignore it and action follows.
Churn and Burn?
One strategy used in SEO is to mine a currently working approach for as much traffic and profit as it can generate and then switch out to something completely different.
For some website owners who are willing to accept the risks associated with this type of strategy and the lack of diversification, it can be highly profitable. Yet, it requires being on the cutting-edge, trying out new SEO techniques constantly, using the ones that work, and often abandoning the sites that get hit with a Google penalty as a result.
The Business Viewpoint
For companies with an established brand and a website that is required to be successful for years (or decades) to come, SEO strategies must be measured, reasonable, and workable over the medium- to long-term. A short-term churn and burn strategy won’t work for them.
In which case, diversification is useful as a form of self-protection because should they ever adopt one method (even accidentally) that is later seen as incorrect, the usage of that single approach will be restricted to only a small percentage of the SEO activity as a whole. Stopping that activity and correcting it is a manageable problem at that point.
Social Strategy in Isolation
One focus for companies has been a social media strategy as part of an overall SEO one.
Driving Social Traffic
For companies and websites that see the shareable nature of their industry or niche that they operate within, social media has an interesting immediacy. It also provides social signals through Shares and Likes that confirm to Google, Bing, and other search engines that the content is popular.
However, it’s possible to overly focus on the winning strategy once again. Therefore, channels and accounts on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram can overwhelm other areas where progress can be made with a solid SEO marketing plan.
Lack of Control and Channel Ownership
Indeed, it’s worth reminding readers that once upon a time, Facebook sent considerable traffic to websites. Until it decided to stop doing so. Similarly, the traffic from Pinterest has been reducing every year for the past five years for websites that solely previously relied upon it.
It’s worth appreciating that a social channel or account isn’t “owned” by the company at all. The social network is free to remove it at any time. For instance, London Real recently saw LinkedIn restrict their account, causing the owner to seek online support for how to resolve the problem.
Don’t Forget to Diversify SEO Activities Specifically Too
As this article should amply illustrate, overly relying on a single traffic source is unwise. History has shown that to be the case.
With content marketing and SEO, publishing to a variety of other websites for guest posting along with useful articles on your own site is useful. Similarly, when seeking authoritative backlinks from well-known sites, it’s best to diversify these sites and avoid using popular ones. That popularity could become a liability later on! Therefore, it’s worth looking at how many outbound links a website has to determine whether they’re linking out too much and might create trouble down the road.
When it comes to SEO strategy, the best one is to use a variety of different approaches to avoid having too much involvement in a single one. The same goes for traffic sources. When not relying only on Google for all SEO-driven traffic or Pinterest for all social-driven traffic, a business is better placed to withstand any changes. And as the frequent Google algorithm updates and policy changes around the web indicate, SEO never stands still. It’s best to diversify and be prepared for constant change, so you don’t get surprised by it.