SEO: A game of snakes and ladders – Positionly Blog


The internet, SEO and digital marketing have given businesses all the tools they need to get big fast – if those tools are used correctly. As much as modern businesses can climb ladders quicker than before thanks to the internet, they can also just as quickly slide down the snakes it throws up. Yes, SEO is a game of snakes and ladders, but it takes more than just a roll of the dice to be able to use it successfully, it takes careful planning, research, hard work and plenty of patience.

Here are some simple tips for how you can best approach the ongoing game of SEO.

Patience is vital

License: Royalty Free or iStock source:

Business leaders want results instantly – yesterday, in many cases. Successful SEO experts, on the other hand, strive endlessly to explain to clients why they have to wait to reap the rewards. As with a lot of things in life, sustainable benefit comes at the price of patience. Short term results are often merely that, and once they are hit by ranking penalties, it is back to square one again.

Google is even clever enough to sometimes drop a website down the rankings for no reason other than to ensure that its digital marketing campaign is genuine. Explaining this to those paying the wages is not always an easy job.

Stay on top of developments

License: Royalty Free or iStock source:

One of the most crucial aspects to ensuring that you hit only ladders on the SEO playing board is to stay on top of developments. Algorithms used by Google to rank web pages are constantly being updated, as shown by the notorious Penguin and Panda updates. Failure to keep pace with this evolution can result in hitting one of those slippery snakes, and hitting it hard. What worked in SEO 10 years ago may well see your site penalized heavily today.

There are a number of knowledgeable websites out there that discuss the updates as soon as they happen, while Google offers plenty of clues through its own public communications, so there is no excuse for not being in the know.

Maintain quality and keep it genuine

One of the simplest ways of avoiding Google ranking penalties is to maintain quality and a genuine intent in everything that you do. The simple ambition of any digital marketing campaign should be to become an active, useful and likable member of your online community.

A marketing campaign desperate to push its website up the rankings quickly will simply show up as a wolf in fancy dress these days, Google wants sites to offer content that is genuinely useful and valuable to internet users and no amount of sheep’s clothing can get around that. Even leaving aside the SEO element, users don’t want to be hounded into making purchases all the time, offer them value and the customers will gather naturally.

The online marketplace in many ways mirrors the ‘real world’. Being visible and active is key, being useful is crucial and offering quality, in terms of products, service and communication, is absolutely vital. You should conduct your online communications in the same way that you would in the real world, with a genuine desire to help.

Don’t underestimate the importance of SEO

Fundamentally, an SEO campaign is not as complex as it seems, so long as you commit to it and appreciate the vast benefits that it can bring to your business. You must embrace the digital age, rather than see it as an inconvenient new chore on you ‘to-do’ list. If you resent the responsibility of being as active online as you are offline, you will not come across well.

If you have no interest or time for online marketing yourself, it is crucial that you develop a team that is truly passionate about it.

The user experience escalator

User experience is the escalator in our SEO game. It can either propel you upwards or send you tumbling down. Search engines want to provide the best experience for their users, so they prioritize websites that load quickly, are mobile-friendly, and offer a seamless navigation experience. To stay on the escalator, ensure your website is optimized for speed. Compress images, enable browser caching, and minimize server response times. Invest in responsive web design to cater to mobile users, who make up a significant portion of internet traffic. Improve your site’s navigation with clear menus and intuitive layout. All these efforts help you steadily ascend the escalator of user experience.


In the world of SEO, the game of snakes and ladders is an apt analogy. It’s a constant climb towards the top, navigating through the pitfalls and leveraging the opportunities. Remember that SEO is not a one-time endeavor; it’s an ongoing strategy that requires dedication, adaptability, and a keen eye for detail. By focusing on building authority, staying relevant, and enhancing the user experience, you can ascend the ranks of search engine rankings and outperform your competitors.