Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Why Does SEO Fail?

Jill Whalen, owner of High Rankings, a respected SEO firm in Boston recently sent out a Twitter question to her followers: What’s the biggest reason you’ve seen for SEO failure with clients?

There was an interesting pattern to the responses she received.

  • #1 reason – their failing to implement recommendations.
  • Lack of implementation of suggestions. They pay you for advice, then they don’t use it.
  • Unclear expectations.
  • They don’t implement your work.
  • It’s definitely lack of cooperation and involvement in the SEO process on client side.
  • Delays in content amends – or amends without notification – mainly structure, dupe content.
  • Refusal to accept that stellar content product is a requirement to rank.
  • Either clients not using the keyphrases in content or not wanting to work on getting incoming links.
  • Taking the wrong clients in the first place.

We’ve seen pretty much all of these, but the biggest problem is getting clients to understand that if they don’t do what their consultant recommends, they can’t blame their consultant if it doesn’t work.

That’s not to place the blame entirely on non-compliant clients; it’s the job of the SEO consultant to make clear what’s required and expected of them, and to hold their feet to the fire to get things done.

  1. One way to combat the problem of clients not implementing our recommendations is to raise our prices. The theory is that if they’re paying is twice as much, they’re twice as likely to do what we tell them.

    What do you think?

  2. This boggles my mind! Why would someone pay you for advice and then ignore it or question it? I did everything Bill told me to do. Sure, it was a lot of work, and yes, it cost money to have my webmaster implement the changes, but it was absolutely worth every penny — the results speak for themselves!

  3. Thanks, Ginger! That’s rewarding to hear.

  4. Link building is not a one-time project. It is a continuous process to keep your SEO campaign successful. Every day, there are new optimized websites that are competing search engine result positions with you. When you stop building links, you lose the competitive edge. So after you see some initial results, you should continue to build more links.

  5. Thanks, Prince. Your point is well taken. Continued link building may be necessary depending on the level of competition for your keywords, but we have a number of clients who have all the link popularity they need. Of course, it’s critical to monitor your rankings and your link counts so you can respond when competitors begin to do aggressive link building.

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