By John Seal
#1 The Client
Let’s begin with the client. When you’re talking about flavor-of-the-month SEO, you’re talking about the latest link-building strategy, the latest video optimization strategy, or maybe some social tactics that are going to get you some traction. In doing that, and focusing on the flavor-of-the-month tactic, is it about the client? Chances are, probably not. When you’re looking at it, you’re probably not taking a look at the client’s needs, what they want to accomplish, their goals, or anything like that. Flavor-of-the-month SEO misses the entire point. Good SEO is about the client, the website’s needs, everything that leads to increasing revenue. Flavor-of-the-month SEO just doesn’t do that.
Flavor-of-the-month SEO is all about the latest thing. Uncover this approach and you’ll see a random, unconnected mass of unrelated efforts with no definable goal. An outsider or an external signal dictates what you’ll focus on and that just doesn’t work. It implies that there’s no strategy. There’s no agenda. There’s no game plan that’s associated with your particular website, client, or particular account. It’s too reactive.
#3 Where Does it Come From?
Who’s the mad scientist that picks the flavor-of-the-month? Is it dictated by the latest blog, or did Matt Cutt say something and you’re reading between the lines, and therefore, we need to do something different, something radical? Who picks that flavor-of-the-month? Chances are it’s not based on sound, solid SEO best practices. Maybe it’s gray hat, maybe it’s black hat; chances are it’s not picked by somebody that really knows what’s going on, or is paying attention to a long-term strategy.
#4 Short-term Success
Most of the time with a new flavor-of-the-month, it’s based off of somebody’s short-term success, something that’s taking advantage of a loophole, or the latest algorithm change. Most of the impact from a flavor-of-the-month SEO is going to be short-term; it’s going to be short lived, so it’s not being done with any long-term strategy or long-term focus.
#5 Trendy Optimization
A lot of times when we run into somebody that’s implementing a bunch of these flavor-of-the-month SEO practices, what they’re really doing is just over-optimizing certain segments all over the place. Maybe they found the latest Build My Rank, maybe they found that if you keyword stuff the description in a video tag, or something along those lines, that you can get some short-term benefit. That’s just a target for Penguin there. I’ve run into a lot of websites and a lot of clients that have had flavor-of-the-month SEO done for them, and it’s led to a tremendous amount of Penguin penalties. Looking down the line, it’s going to be very easy for Google to identify a lot of these SEO flavor-of-the-month optimizations, and how they’ve been over-optimized.
This goes back to the first point being about the client: Is that the very most important thing for you to be working on? Of all of the things that we can do in SEO, is that particular flavor-of-the-month the very most important thing? Chances are it’s not even close. Chances are it could actually be detrimental to what you should be doing, or what you could be focusing on. Again, it’s all about making sure that we’re optimizing our efforts, making sure that we’re getting the most of our time, our talents, our resources, and everything else, to make sure that we’re moving the revenue up, the rankings up, the traffic up, and those kinds of things.
#7 Can You Track It?
This is the most important and happens to be my biggest pet peeve about flavor-of-the-month SEO: If you’re really doing flavor-of-the-month SEO, chances are you can’t really track it. If there’s no long-term strategy, if there’s no game plan that’s being implemented on a strategic level month-over-month, and you’re flying by the seat of your pants, so every month you’re doing something different, whether it’s link building, videos, social content, who knows; is there really a good way to logistically or strategically track the results of some of those tactics? The answer is no; there’s no way. You may do something, you may implement a tactic that, Heaven forbid, is actually a decent tactic, white hat, or a best-practice tactic. Because of all of the other changes that have happened as a result of flavor-of-the-month SEO, you can’t track the things that are providing you with the biggest impact, the biggest lift.
The Wrap Up
To sum it all up, is it predictable to do flavor-of-the-month SEO? No, it’s not; you can’t predict your results. Is it about the client; is it about identifying the most important thing for you to work on or what’s going to get you the biggest impact? No, it’s being dictated by somebody in their grandmother’s basement that released a blog about some results that they got. The last thing is, is it trackable? Even at all? The answer is, probably not, because there’s so many other things that have been done, or so many other tactics that have been done, that it just muddies the water up too much. It makes it impossible to predict what your results have been or will be.
Photo One: “High Voltage Warning Sign” by creativedoxfoto from FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo Two: “Priority Stamp” by Stuart Miles from FreeDigitalPhotos.net