Photo Illustration by Mike Banks Valentine © 2020
SEO consulting clients all have a singular goal – more organic traffic from search engines. All are seeking SEO solutions to fix their SEO Fails and reach that goal.
How do we Fix SEO Fails?
First action is always an investigative SEO Audit, which looks deeply into technical issues to find potential shortcomings which limit the effectiveness of a web site search engine visibility. Without getting into specifics, dozens of elements contribute to strong SEO – some are core requirements which must be implemented properly to perform well in search. Many elements are incremental, but critical in concert with smaller SEO bits and pieces to build strong overall SEO.
Failure to Implement After SEO Audits
Clients are presented with a prioritized list of recommendations. Failure to implement any of those recommendations for search engine optimization means less potential traffic referred from organic search. It is not unusual for some of those small incremental bits and pieces to go undone because of their perceived low value. However it is common that major issues remain that don’t get tackled for any number of reasons.
Why Pay for Advice but Fail to Take it?
Sometimes it is platform limitations that prevent optimization, sometimes it is lack of engineering or other internal resources, sometimes disagreement originates from internal debate over efficacy or cost/value calculations. Clients questioning recommendations is particularly difficult for an SEO professional to deal with, but regardless of the reason for failure to act, that failure can frustrate projections for improved search engine referral traffic.
Failed Gains Due to Lack of Action?
Patience can lead to opportunity at a later date when, for example, a major redesign could be planned which allows deeper alterations to the platform. Perhaps a change in staffing leads to new agreement with prior recommendations. Raising earlier recommendations quarterly during regular meetings can allow SEO to jump in when building a site feature or rebuilding an existing one.
Failure Due to Lack of Internal Resources
Some smaller businesses confer full access to backend admin of the CMS with authority to add content, optimize meta data and tweak page titles. However, larger businesses inevitably tend to limit that access to trusted internal teams. When assigned contacts are unavailable for SEO tasks, or they see those work requests as lower priority than internally assigned work – SEO requests can sometimes grow stale. Without authority to manage internal employees – an SEO can feel as though their hands are tied and progress stalls.
Can Failures Present Alternate Solutions?
There are some ways to do optimizations differently, depending on platform or engineering resources and staff preferences. Sometimes A/B testing can be run on a limited segment of a site on a specific recommended change or a test can be run with a smaller portion of a site. One client took an action on a smaller subsidiary site that I’d been recommending for their larger core business. They saw 40% gains in search engine traffic on that smaller site which pushed them immediately to take action the long recommended step to implement the same optimization on their main site.
Failure to Learn
Despite all efforts to present the best possible recommendations, there can be rare and unique situations which offer an education. I recently pushed hard on a technical issue with a client site where they pushed back, asking for further research and requiring citations from other experts. It was a rare use case which had almost no documentation online, but since I had listed the issue as the #1 priority, I dug deeply and researched extensively. In the end, the client proved correct in their assessment and sent me to school. (Ask me about 307 temporary redirects on sites switching from http to https SSL.) That example proves there are always new things to learn.
Perfect Clients Never Fail
I was recently asked what the ideal client might look like. My perfect client would be someone who values SEO and readily embraces recommendations, trusts guidance on best practices and acts quickly without internal debate. Why? Simply because that type of client is one that gets the best SEO results and I love seeing increased search engine referral traffic in the monthly reporting.