When SEO Meets MADHD

Lee Rosen recently coined a new term: Marketing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He writes there’s a surefire way to make sure any marketing effort will fail:

“It’s called Marketing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (“MADHD”). It’s marked by starting a marketing project, doing some work on it, and then moving on to another marketing project. The project is left in an unfinished state.

Interestingly, attorneys suffering from MADHD repeat the cycle over and over. They fail to finish the website development. They move on to e-mail marketing and, before they finish that project, they move on to the next. Nothing ever works, and they can’t figure out why.

These MADHD sufferers assume that the marketing tactic they’ve been using is flawed. That’s how they rationalize moving on to the next tactic. They see minimal results from project one and feel compelled to start project two.

Of course, it makes sense that project one isn’t working yet. It isn’t finished, and even if it is finished, it hasn’t been given a chance to work.”

(emphasis mine)

Over the years, we’ve worked with a couple clients who suffered from extreme impatience when it comes to SEO, and MADHD is the great way to describe the affliction. We’ll get their website’s on-page factors nicely optimized, run a comprehensive linking campaign, develop a good content strategy, and then sit back for a bit, prepared to see their rankings improve. Given time, they almost certainly will. But some folks want overnight results. By the time we’re a couple weeks in, they’ve become antsy. They expected they’d be #1 in the search results by now, and are ready to start over with different tactics.

Most times we’re able to calm those anxieties, and get firms to hold tight, but there’s also been a time or two when clients have moved on because of it.  Developing a strong search presence, at least when it comes to “organic search” takes time, and – here’s the catch – continued effort.

The key with this continued effort is not to succumb to MADHD and start tweaking title tags, URLs, and link architecture before Google has even had a chance to register the original work. This is not only short-sighted, but in our experience, Google doesn’t treat websites favorably who are constantly switching up these basic descriptive elements — this kind of constant tinkering looks (and probably is) manipulative.

No, you need to take actions to complement your initial SEO improvements. Firms are far better off creating a steady stream of relevant content, and publishing through their news, blogs and social media channels. Those types of actions are what actually empower SEO. On-page changes are only your starting point — ‘best practices’, and not much more. Your website won’t compete without them, and proper consideration is indeed critical, but those changes alone aren’t responsible for making your website “number one”.

SEO may inform the search engines of the terms and phrases you want to rank for. But Google isn’t going to trust your site to rank for anything, until you can demonstrate traction. Engagement isn’t just a coined marketing phrase, it’s where the rubber meets the road: measurable proof to the search engines that your website should be trusted (and rank well).

So, to reiterate: when it comes to SEO, patience is critical. As Lee Rosen suggests, finish what you start. But then give your efforts some time to mature. Especially when it comes to installing new on-page optimization elements. Leave them be for at least a couple of months, and see what happens.

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