SEO is a strategy that’s all about growth. You want to see higher authority, more traffic, and bigger returns over time. It’s definitely possible when you invest enough in your strategy. As you gain more influence, every piece of content becomes more valuable, you get better link opportunities, and all the content you’ve written previously will still benefit your bottom line.
But most marketers aren’t patient enough for this growth to unfold naturally. Instead, they try to accelerate the process by investing heavily in development–producing more content and building more links to reach a competitor or earn a higher ROI in a shorter amount of time.
There are obviously some potential advantages here, but is it possible to grow too fast in an SEO campaign?
There are some possible threats that set in when you start to grow your online presence too quickly:
- Losing your core message and brand identity. As Dialpad CEO Craig Walker explains, when businesses grow too quickly, they try to do too much at once, investing in all markets at once and losing their core philosophy. If you spend your time focusing on growth at all costs, you could end up abandoning the core values and brand identity standards that attract your customers in the first place. This isn’t exclusive to SEO either—almost any marketing campaign, or general track of business growth, could have the same unfortunate results.
- Investing in the wrong areas. If you start pouring money into your campaign, you’ll end up pursuing many different tactics at once. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you move too quickly, you’ll invest in things before you whether they’re effective or not. For example, you might develop dozens of articles about how to make better cake icing, only to find out your audience isn’t interested in icing cakes at all!
- Suffering negative ROI. The early stage of an SEO campaign usually comes with negative ROI; this is to be expected, and it’s actually a motivating factor in trying to accelerate a campaign’s growth. However, if you invest too much, too quickly, you’ll find yourself stuck in the early stage of the campaign, but with more money to burn—it’s almost like spinning your wheels when you’re stuck in the mud. If your campaign yields a negative ROI and you invest more money, it will almost certainly result in more money lost.
- Too many experiments. Again, if you want to grow quickly, you’ll need to invest in many different areas. That means most of your campaign will be made up of experiments. Generally, experiments are good—if you can isolate the variables, you can learn a lot about your demographics and potential future. However, when you have too many experiments going on at once, it’s nearly impossible to isolate those variables. For example, if you’re trying 10 different tactics at once and you experience growth, how many of those tactics were responsible for the growth? Are any hindering an even higher potential growth rate? You’ll never know without a control group.
- Earning a penalty. Growing too quickly also has the chance of earning you a Google penalty. Writing content too quickly could make it appear to be low-quality and mass-produced, and building too many links at once could make you look like a spammer.
- Alienating your audience. One of the biggest risks in growing too quickly is alienating your audience. Your brand message could be diluted, for starters, and as you invest more time and resources into the development of your online visibility, you’ll take away from the individual interactions and relationships you form with your customers along the way. This is a harmful trade and could set you up for failure in the future.
Finding the Right Pace
It’s hard to describe the ideal pace for SEO development, especially since every business is wholly unique. For example, if you’re in a tightly competitive niche, you’ll need to invest more heavily from the beginning. Before settling on a budget, or even on the tactics you’ll use to improve your campaign, think carefully about your short-term and long-term goals, as well as your starting position.
For your first few months, invest with caution, focusing on one or two core strategies, and only start expanding when you’re comfortable. This is a long-term strategy – you’ll need long-term thinking to master it.