All of us have those friends that love keeping up with the latest trends, the ones that need to have that new piece of technology or new pair of shoes the moment they are released or as soon as humanly possible.
Very few of us have a friend who is ahead of the fashion curve, a friend whose sense of style is a few years ahead of mainstream fashion. A friend whose clothing pre-empts the high street, what they wear today is what most people will be wearing next season.
There are a variety of factors that separate the leaders from the followers, many of us are too scared to try new a new style because of the stigma attached to failure and being laughed at if you get it wrong, so it’s easier to only try something new once friends and colleagues have taken the first leap and you know it’s safe ground.
The trend setters we speak of are in plain sight all around you, they are the ones that walk past and you think “Wow that was a brave decision” or “what were you thinking when you got dressed this morning”. The simple reason that you have these thoughts, well none of your friends dress like this, it’s outside of the norm.
I promise this article is still about SEO
Some of you may be able to see how the above fits into digital marketing parameters, others probably read the first few paragraphs and thought what the hell has this got to do with SEO. It’s simple, how many of you out there continually experiment with new ideas and techniques for your websites, whether it’s SEO, content, design or functionality.
Many reading this may think, where am I meant to find the time to do this. The answer to this question depends on what you aim to achieve from your website, your career and from SEO as well as the reason you’re involved in the industry. If you accidentally stumbled into SEO and it’s just how you pay the bills, you probably don’t have the core desire to push yourself further (or do you?). If however you are one of the increasing numbers of people that claim to love SEO then there is no excuse for you not to experiment, trying new things, and get your hands dirty.
We understand that your time is pulled thin between your day job and trying to have a life. You don’t need to devote every spare minute of your life to SEO, but it’s more than worthwhile getting some hosting, a few domains and starting your own sites to toy around with new ideas (ideally not just blogs, the sites should be goal orientated, think Adsense, newsletter registrations or even sales).
In the ideal world to make truly informed decisions that you can roll out to your main sites you would have a data set well beyond the reach of most digital agencies and intangible for most SME businesses that manage their own SEO. To add some perspective SEOMOZ’s 2011 SEO ranking factors document compared the opinions of 132 SEO’s and data from over 10,000 Google search results. That’s slightly more data than you can expect to draw from experimenting with a few sites in your spare time. With so many metrics determining your search engine rankings how can you be sure that any ranking improvements are due to your experimentations. I can shine a light on part of the problem for you, Searchmetrics 2012 Google ranking factors indicates that social shares may highly correlate with good Google rankings (something we all have known for a while). Meaning that as far as content goes if your experimentations involve dramatic increases in shares then you have a very obvious signal that whatever you did was a success.
It may be harder to measure design and functionality orientated changes and experiments (by harder I mean slightly less obvious), A/B testing and analytics will be able to provide you with the answers you need. Be wary as we all know correlation doesn’t necessarily equal causation, the more data you have the better.
I hope this article has given you the motivation to get up and start experimenting with your clothes and your websites!