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Monday, April 22, 2024

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The Only Constant Is Change

Lately, I’ve heard a lot of folks chattering about the hot topics of the day. Google traffic is down after their update, mobile SEO is the future and now the flutter is about the apparent changes we’re seeing in the sitemap protocol.

I suspect in house folks have a split view on these topics. On one hand, there are invariably people inside your company following SEO, ready at a moment’s notice to spread the news and hit the panic buttons. The flip side to this, of course, is your struggle to get folks to even acknowledge the very basics of SEO work, meaning the vast majority of employees are blind to the topic.

So what should you be doing? Start by going for a coffee.

None of us are instantly equipped with every answer, so feel free to create some space for yourself in which to digest the latest news and information. Sure, the latest industry sites are reporting changes around what Google is OK with in a sitemap (see here for SEL coverage). The natural extension for these sources is to “wonder aloud” if this means an end to the currently agreed to “sitemap protocol.”

Don’t get caught up in the hype. Those are news sites looking for eyeballs. Your job is to manage SEO, and you cannot manage work against speculation. You manage work against facts. Bottom line, this change simply provides you with more opportunities. Regardless of whether the protocol remains intact, you have more options. Get back to work, let the fringe panic over details and stay focused.

I often receive random emails from folks in my company very specifically asking about this or that sound bite someone shared with them on an SEO topic. Almost all instances require deep explanations to help the person truly grasp the context of what they were told. Most responses start by me taking a big deep breath, then digging in.

Sometimes, however, it pays to panic a bit yourself. You are the in house SEO person, so if it involves SEO, it’s your domain. Topics such as mobile SEO should get your heart beating a bit faster. The days of being able to ignore niche areas such as this are coming to a rapid end. The question left to you now is how best to guide your company to remain successful in such a new and rapidly evolving space. Without a doubt, it’s going to require you ramping up your own knowledge in a hurry, as others inside your company may already be starting the conversations you need to be involved with.

Don’t make the mistake of simply thinking you can gloss over hot topics like this, either. Mobile SEO has a wealth of individual learning points to wrap your head around from site structure issues to app search functionality. One of the best sources of info on this growing area of expertise is sitting right here on the Search Engine Land servers.

The choice is entirely yours on whether you arm yourself with the knowledge, then dig in on the work, or if you hand this area off to a consultant to manage. The bottom line in either case remains that you will still need to know the ins and outs to manage the consultant properly.

There is no secret that change is constant. In our world, change literally happens every day. If an engine tweaks their algorithm, we can see the end result if it affects our rankings and traffic. The key is to remain calm. I remember the monthly panic across the then-fledgling industry when it was time for the monthly “Google Dance”. Man, the posting forum lit up every month. Thankfully we’ve moved past such a cadence for changes as the changes were not usually problematic… but the distraction caused around my office with needless, panicked questions about them was.

While we all still see the difference changes to SEO make, take a moment to think back on how many of the “reported by the news” changes have really rocked your world.  Unless your world was a darker shade of gray in some manner, chances are good you’ve weathered most changes pretty well. Be those changes new technologies, algorithm updates and even new players in the game. You do your work, the results show increases in traffic and you wait for the next change.

Don’t panic, go for a coffee.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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