Outside of my life at Browser Media, I spend a lot of time in the gym. I absolutely love following a strict training and nutrition programme, and even moreso, I love the progress and results that all the hard work brings about.
At first glance, search engine optimisation may appear to have very little in common with keeping fit. However, there are actually numerous theories born in the gym, which can be applied to digital marketing (and vice versa) to deliver the very best results.
So, whether you’re a digital marketer, a gym fanatic, or (like me) a little bit of both, let’s take a look at some of the ways that running a successful SEO campaign is similar to the discipline of working your body into optimum condition – albeit a little less sweaty!
1. One size does not fit all…
Fitness instructors and SEOs alike can probably relate to an awkward situation where a client has asked them for quick, guaranteed results – only to have to break the news that really there’s no such thing. Unfortunately, the efforts that yield brilliant results for one client, will not necessarily resonate the same with another. Instead, it’s essential to set realistic goals and adopt a tailor-made approach, in order to meet them.
When it comes to inbound marketing success, we find a bespoke plan > attract > grow methodology, geared toward individual requirements is the winning formula.
2. All the gear
The most effective gym sessions typically involve using specialist equipment – ranging from a basic bottle of water, to performance footwear and clothing, to high spec power racks and weight plates. Of course, it’s useless just having access to these tools, you need the know-how for using them effectively, too.
Similarly, a good digital marketing strategy involves using a range of tools for planning campaigns and measuring their performance. Whilst this list is absolutely not exhaustive, our essential go-to platforms for digital marketing include Google Analytics, Search Console, Adwords, Link Research Tools, and Buzzsumo.
3. Train every muscle
A good training regime will account for all body parts. The laughing stock of any gym is that one guy who always skips his leg days. No one wants to be this guy.
When it comes to SEO, a similar discipline applies – for the best all-round results, marketers must spread their efforts evenly across the many varying aspects. For example, if you channel all your energy into one single keyword or phrase, you risk being penalised for keyword stuffing, unnatural link building, keyword cannibalisation, the list goes on. Or, if you’re only optimising for a small demographic, you may miss out on more competitive opportunities.
4. Consistency is key
It’s one thing to go to the gym and have a powerful workout, but if you then spend the rest of the week laying around on the sofa and stuffing your face with pizza, then you’re not making any long-term progress. To maximise results, the training and diet regime needs to remain consistent.
Again, SEO efforts need to be consistent. The digital marketing landscape is forever evolving, so it’s vital to stay on top of industry news and views, and adapt your approach accordingly. Google, for example, has rolled out plenty of updates and algorithm changes over the years. Now that Penguin and Panda are running in real-time, it’s even more important to follow best practice at all times.
Unique content needs to be created on a regular basis, but there’s no point in just churning it out for the sake of it. Analyse your site metrics often, and ensure all content is of a high quality in order to meet the needs of your audience. If you fall behind on essential activities, results can quickly come to a halt.
5. Look in the mirror
Constantly staring at their reflection in the mirror, striking poses on stage, and flooding social media with progress pictures, it’s easy to see why bodybuilders are often perceived by wider society as vain and egotistical. Whilst, I could write a whole essay that pulls this theory apart, this is absolutely not the time or place. The point I actually want to make here is that it’s crucial to keep reviewing and monitoring yourself and your progress in order to improve.
As mentioned above, there is no one size fits all approach to success, but one thing that does always apply, is that, just like a bodybuilder, the digital marketer must constantly analyse their performance, and results, to establish the strategy moving forward.
6. There are no shortcuts
Sadly, no industry is free from snake oil salesmen, offering miracle products and services that are full of false promises. I often hear people talking about the latest diet pill or quick fix steroid, that promises them the body of their dreams with no real effort required. These are, of course, extremely unhealthy shortcuts to take, with consequences that can leave you in a much worse off position in the long run.
In similar vein, we still hear of dodgy “SEO companies” promising a guaranteed page one, position one ranking for any given keyword (sigh), and you still see websites falling victim to penalties as a result of purchasing a tonne of spammy links. An effective and sustainable strategy for success in any discipline requires consistent hard work, and steady growth.
7. Seek expert advice
Whatever we are trying to achieve, there’s no shame at all in asking others for help. An aspiring athlete may call upon a trainer or a coach to help take their workouts to the next level, and digital marketing is no different.
Engage with influencers, build relationships with others in the industry, partner with experts, and you will reap the rewards from doing so.
If you’d like to discuss your digital marketing strategy, please contact us.
Also published on Medium.