The term “best practices” has become a buzzword in everyone’s mouth these days. However, many people think that “best practices” means you should always follow a certain set of rules or procedures, and this is not true. Best practices are designed to guide behavior in most situations, but there are times when you must break with the rules and do something different. It is important to know when you can safely ignore expert advice and take a different approach in your SEO practice.
Best Practices—Most of the Time, They Work
Best practices dictate the normal course of action or the standards you should usually uphold when working on SEO. For example, meta descriptions should be held to a certain length. Title tags should be kept to a certain number of pixels. We all know that these rules give us superior results, although they are not the only method for doing something. Best practice rules are developed from comparison of various techniques and their results. They are meant to improve over time as search engines change, not stay stagnant forever.
However, there are times when it is best to ignore conventional wisdom. For example, if you want to deliver very high ROI for a client, you want to do what will give the quickest and best return, not necessarily what you will do in the long term. An example of this is how you may focus on crawlability an on-page analysis when you start on a new campaign. This is best practices and recommended by everyone: fix what is wrong first.
However, the ROI begins to decline as these new changes take hold. When you try to fix every little thing on a site because “best practices” say to do so, you are actually lowering your client’s ROI. Once major problems are fixed, it may be of more value to move on to social media, link building and community engagement strategies.
How Do I Know When To Ignore Best Practices?
Every situation is unique, so there is no hard and fast rule on when to change your best practices approach. Generally, you want to follow best practices until your return begins to drop off. After that, it may be time to try something new or unconventional. Ultimately, you will move back into best practices, but for a brief time, doing something “wild and crazy” may bump your client’s ROI significantly!