What Can SEOs Learn from Going To The Gym?
You may think this is a random association, but for me it is not. I like to keep fit and healthy by going to the gym or doing extreme races like Tough Mudder. But for many business people, going to the gym is practical and fits into the work-life balance, particularly for those career focused people that have to juggle work and family commitments with staying in shape.
So I was thinking, as I juggle my SEO work for my clients with my gym sessions, that there are many similarities which I would like to share. So I have structured this blog to focus on the core elements of good fitness regimes that are also transferrable lessons for SEO practice. Hopefully there are lessons that can be taken away for any SEO practitioner, or any fitness enthusiast!
It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon
I see a lot of people in the gym that work a lot but don’t seem to have any impact on their fitness. They are in the gym four or five times a week killing themselves on the treadmill or trying to life weights that only Schwarznegger is allowed to use. In truth they are doing their bodies no good and all they are making is short terms and exhausting their bodies.
What they need is a clear strategy Set objectives and always work to those targets within a deadline. Make them realistic. They need to set a routine of what they want to do in the gym each week and repeat it each week (known as the micro-cycle).
The same can be said in SEO. What are your targets, what do you want to achieve and by when. Is that realistic? What is therefore the strategy needed to achieve that? In turn, what is the operational strategy and what is the workflow that needs to be done each week/month (the micro-cycle again). At the end of every three months (each meso-cycle) take a step back; what has been achieved against targets and are there any amendments to the operational strategy in the next micro-cycle.
It is therefore a marathon, spread over months, quarters and years with regular interviews for review and refinement. Clients want results quickly, they want positive growth all the time, but that doesn’t happen – the same way Arnie didn’t get his body from just doing a month or even a year’s work in the gym. It’s got to be focused hard work each week and month.
Cardiovascular is good on-page SEO, resistance work is good off-page
Ever seen guys join the gym just to get big? But they do it in such a way that they do the heavy weights, drink protein shakes, and completely neglect the cardio? They end up with a lot of bulk and water retention with very little definition to their body.
That’s because cardiovascular fitness is key to complement any resistance work. A lot of top athletes endulge in metabolic resistance training which maximises heart rate whilst still doing resistance work – effectively doing both at the same time. It’s top drawer, check it out!
So the same is applied to SEO with on-page and off-page optimisation. You have to have a successful on-page optimisation to complement your off-page and vice versa. You can’t neglect one or the other. Many smaller companies use SEO agencies to focus on link building and that is the majority of the SEO work that is done for them each month – and they end up like our bloated gym junkie.
Other companies complete neglect on-page, most big brands are culpable of this because of their naivety.
There is even cross over between on-page and off-page particularly in the importance of social media on SEO – for example doing blogs (on-page optimisation) which are then used for article syndication and social media sharing (off-page).
Maximise SEO Knowledge
In fitness, understanding your physiology and muscle groups can have a huge impact on performance. Understanding how the body works and what it does can hugely improve performance.
In SEO, knowing exactly what you are doing massively channels efforts into the right work at the right time to increase exposure. In the same way someone would work with a personal trainer, companies can hire consultants to assist and educate them on their best practice SEO strategy.
Fuel yourself with Quality
Getting the right nutrients in your body is the same as looking for quality work for SEO. Who wants to go to the gym four times a week just to compensate a diet of chocolate and fast food? For some people that is necessary but for many it is to stay on top of your health not to keep a level playing field?
The same with SEO. You wouldn’t fuel your SEO with lots of poor quality links just to keep up with mass linking profile. Not any more you wouldn’t. Look for the quality, to build on quality.
Keep your Body Core in Shape
Balance the exercise between upper body and lower body, resistance and cardio, to ensure that the core is kept in shape. By the end of each week the body should feel it has been exercised all over. Always finish each workout with some situps and some planks.
With SEO your strategy should be balanced each week and month. It should involve something of everything that is important for SEO – technical SEO, on-page content and keyword targeting, blogging and social media and off-page linking (but not buying!). If the SEO strategy is balanced you will have strong SEO performance.
Don’t forget to exercise the legs like many of the gym fanatics. In SEO, don’t forget the foundation, i.e your website’s functionality, aesthetics or content.
In summary, SEO is a marathon and there is no easy way out, it takes hard work over a long period of time and can be lonely if you are doing it by yourself. Don’t take the easy route of buying links to cut out 2 miles of your race, you will get penalised for it and add more time to achieve your goals.