Is SEO as volatile as NYSE?

Why Search Engine Optimisation could be the most unpredictable digital job

It was back in 2006 was I experienced the first SEO adrenaline rush. It all started with me launching a personal blog called "Constructive Brand Strategy Criticism". Although it had an English name, the blog was written 99% in Romanian because its role was to boost my personal branding on the local market.

My blog was a niche site focused on communication strategy, account planning, mostly by dissecting both great and controversial advertising campaigns. Luckily for me, the topics I covered were niche and the keywords had decently long tail, so Google delivered good organic traffic and average SERP positions.

However, back in 2006–2008 the social media landscape in Romania was dominated by blogs (Facebook started to raise only later in 2009), and because the blogosphere was strongly connected, most websites mimicked the others’ SEO techniques.

For me, checking SEO stats felt like watching a stock exchange screen:

I was monitoring SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) performance and optimising content non-stop, building backlinks with bloggers and websites interested in advertising, things which today are the basics of every search engine optimisation specialist.

How did the SEO competition change since 2006?

Let's look first of total data available online. In 2006, global data volume published online was 0.16 ZB (zettabytes — n.b. 1 zettabyte is one sextillion (one long scale trilliard) bytes). For 2020, a Research Gate study estimated that the volume will raise to 40 ZB, which is a 2500% increase in 14 years.

Even if the number of topics covered online multiplied as the society evolved and new stories developed, it's hard to believe they increased uniformly by 2500%.

For example, Statista.com estimated that the total number of blogs in the world in 2006 was 35.8 million, while in 2019 were live over 500 million, a variation of +1300%.

So common sense tell us that SEO competition today in the blogging world could be at least 10–20 times harder, but I think that the competition for top keywords in Google Search is much tougher than that.

Why does SEO is volatile like NY Stock Exchange?

Once we clarified that online data clutter is increasing at a high pace, let's take a look into some dynamic features of search engine optimisation.

So order to answer the question in the subtitle, I will make a quick comparison between the two, listing top 7 features that SEO has in common with NYSE. Here they are:

  1. SEO competitive activity is ferocious, as everyone wants to steal first SERP positions;
  2. There are over 200 factors important in Google ranking (and their importance changing every year);
  3. In almost each category there are at least 5 active direct competitors and probably twice indirect competitors (including big publishers);
  4. The rules of the game change in SEO almost every quarter, when Google updates its search core algorithm;
  5. SEO data is collected non-stop (24/7, every minute), while NY Stock Exchange is opened Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern time;
  6. SEO tools such as Semrush, Ahrefs, Moz and others allow us to refresh SERP data every second, overcoming the Google Search Console's disadvantage to access only daily internal SEO data, with 2 days delay;
  7. There are at least 15 KPIs we use in SEO (clicks, avg. positions, backlinks, traffic volume, page speed, SEO copywriting KPIs and so on, which are multiplied by segmentation criteria) with highly complex reporting possibilities.

The Conclusion

I think by know we could agree that SEO isn't a job for cozy folks that seek predictability in their tasks. That's also the beauty of this niche field, especially if you are one of those people doing only "white hat" SEO, using only fair techniques.

Taking into account these top 7 features of SEO, I would say that even if we can't see SEO running on our screens as on NYSE's displays, the amount of data we have at hand, plus the lack of predictability fuelled by Google search algorithm changes and competitors, makes search engine optimisation as volatile as NY Stock Exchange (if not more).

About Stroe Stefan

I worked 10 years in advertising, 9 years as communications entrepreneur, while in 2018 I started a career cycle in marketing, showcasing in European Healthcare Industry that a diagnostics services business can be revived by building a digital consumer-centric strategy with SEO at its core.

My bio is available here (in English, but there is a RO also a language switcher in menu):

A recent digital marketing international project that shows the importance of SEO in Healthcare industry:

The 2020 SEO Success Story of medical laboratory Synevo Bulgaria.

Passionate marketer, former ad man, marcom entrepreneur and university associate professor, writer and performer at stefanstroe.com.