Website Optimization is Like Losing Weight

Optimizing your website for organic search results is, in fact, a lot like losing weight.

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know there are no quick or instant fixes. You can’t head down to the gym Tuesday night, run on the treadmill all night long and wake up Wednesday 20 pounds lighter. It’s a cosmic injustice, certainly, but alas it doesn’t work that way for losing weight, and except in the most extreme cases, it doesn’t work that way for website optimization either.

Losing weight or optimizing your website is a process where you keep working at it and keep working at it month after month and slowly but surely the pounds fade away — or your search engine rankings go up. This is why no SEO expert can tell you exactly how long it will take to get ranked in the top 10 in Google. That’s like asking your personal trainer, “Okay, if I do 20 minutes on the treadmill three times a week, how long will it be until I lose 30 pounds?”

Your trainer can’t say for certain — after all there are a lot more factors involved (how does that compare to what you’re already doing? What’s your diet like? Your current weight? Your body type?). Even knowing all those factors, every person is different, just as every website and industry is different. But what your trainer can tell you, and what your SEO expert can tell you, is that by working out regularly you will lose weight — your website will gain in authority and rankings, bit by steady bit.

Also like losing weight, that first 5 pounds are a lot easier than the last 5 pounds. The more overweight you are (the worse your website is optimized) the faster we can see some quick results. But those last few pounds are always the hardest to get rid of, often requiring the most work.

Work on optimization, like working on you weight, never ends

If after months of working out you finally hit your ideal weight, you can’t just stop working out and return to the couch fit and svelte forevermore. If you stop doing what got you in shape, you’ll start drifting back out of shape. You can, however, reduce the amount of work you do each month to a maintinence level.

Your website optimization works the same way.

Google rewards you not just for the results of your workouts (a better website with more keyword relevance) but it also rewards you just for the effort or working out. Google likes sites with regular updates. And unlike losing weight, the things that make a site rank well today may not be the same things that make it rank well next year.

Added to that, you are not alone on the internet. There are dozens, and likely hundreds of websites competing for exactly the same keyword phrases that you want to rank well in. In your workout program, in your climb to the top of the rankings, you probably unseated some of them. And they are likely to start revising their optimization to try to get their place back.

The snake oil solution

The world is filled with people and programs promising overnight weight loss of any amount you want, while you sit on the couch eating what you please. Likewise the SEO world is filled with people and programs promising top Google ranking in just a week or a month.

In reality, there are no instant fixed. Only steady work and steady improvement.