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Will a One-Size-Fits-All SEO Template Work for Every Business?

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Published: February 3, 2015

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a far different proposition than it was just a few short years ago. Between one Google update after another and increased competition in virtually every business niche, getting your website ranked well for organic search these days is a lot of hard work.

The ability to deliver solid and sustainable SEO results that won’t put your site at risk of a Google penalty demands a diverse set of abilities that includes

  • A disciplined analytic mind.
  • An understanding of HTML coding.
  • A working knowledge of website design and construction.
  • Relationship building skills.
  • Above-average oral and written communication skills.
  • Metrics tracking and analysis skills.
  • Social media skills.
  • Content creation and marketing skills.
  • A commitment to ongoing education.

Unfortunately, a competent SEO team with the necessary skills and experience to consistently rank websites in the search results does not come cheap. The challenge for webmasters with a limited budget is to find the sweet spot between the high-priced suite of professional SEO services and a more affordable alternative that still yields effective white-hat results.

The Problem with the One-Size-Fits-All Approach
A number of providers offer a bundled suite of SEO services, largely based around the use of cookie-cutter templates, in an attempt to bridge the affordability gap. While the quality of results will naturally differ from one service provider to the next, there is one common problem with this option that must be overcome if decent results are to be obtained.

What works well for one type of business may deliver little or no results for another. One major SEO practitioner reported that in a comparison of hundreds of campaigns across thousands of keywords, the same set of commonly used SEO tactics had widely differing impact on results from one niche to another.

Some factors had a very similar effect across a number of niches. For example, the weight loss niche and the insurance industry both showed improvement in the search rankings with inbound backlinks from .gov sites. On the other hand, while including targeted keywords in the H2 tags of insurance websites had a positive effect on rankings, the same tactic applied to weight loss sites resulted in a negative impact.

Selecting an SEO Provider Based on Service Level
Many SEO providers can be distinguished by the level of service provided to their clients. Some may even straddle more than one service niche by offering clients a range of entry-level, mid-level, and high-end service packages. While some tactics may deliver uneven results across different niches and industries as demonstrated above, the major elements of effective SEO strategy are largely the same for the majority of small to medium-sized businesses.

As long as the prospective SEO provider provides white-hat services based on proven current standards of practice, there is no reason why a template-based, one-size-fits-all approach won’t serve the needs of many local marketers. The key to success with this option is the ability to customize strategy and tactics to suit the individual characteristics of the business and the niche it operates within.

In order to remain profitable, the SEO provider offering affordably-priced entry and mid-level services either provides fewer services or automates as many of the services it offers as possible. There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach provided the SEO campaigns it runs can be customized to suit individual clients as needed.