9 Obstacles to SEO Success

9 Obstacles to SEO Success

SEO can be a costly investment, so, understandably, you would want to do everything to get the most out of your investment. But, to do that, you need to be aware of common roadblocks that can hinder SEO success.

In my experience, nine things have historically kept my clients from getting results. Knowing these roadblocks can help you get ahead of them and prevent them from crawling into your campaign and expelling your progress.

1. Not defining campaign goals

1. Not defining campaign goals

If you do not know what goals you are trying to achieve through SEO, measuring success is impossible.

Similarly, if you have set goals but not identified any key performance indicators (KPIs), it is difficult to know how successfully you have achieved your campaign objectives.

There is nothing worse than having a number in someone’s head (e.g., add 100 new leads a month through SEO) and not finding up to months into efforts and finding that you are not performing to that expectation.

Defining goals and KPIs and communicating these with your team will help you have a successful campaign and meet your bottom line.

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2. Lack of resources

2. Lack of resources

Working with a lack of resources is very frustrating, and can hamper your SEO success.

Below are some examples of resources you need to run a successful campaign and what can happen when you don’t have them.

3. Poor patience

3. Poor patience

SEO is a long-term investment. It’s not something you can rush into, no matter how many resources you use.

Businesses get frustrated when they don’t see significant gains in the first few months. They may question their investment, decide to cut back on their efforts or pull the plug altogether.

Do not assume that your SEO efforts are not working because your site is not at the top of the search engine result pages in the first month. That takes constant time and effort.

In fact, even when an SEO expert is working, it can take months or even years to see impressive results. So hard as it can be, you have to be patient and trust the process.

4. Broad targeting

4. Broad targeting

When working on an SEO campaign, it is important to define the niche you want to target. This includes your geographical market and client base.

Defining a niche at the start of your marketing campaign helps you attract your ideal customers in your unique corner of the market. Moreover, the more specific you get with your niche, the easier it will be to grade well.

Your niche subject groups and keywords may receive less traffic than more general ones, but they also translate better and are valuable to target and track.

Now, I am not suggesting that you choose a niche with no search volume or one that is not closely related to your products or services. Look for one that is reasonable to target based on competition and trends in your industry.

I realize that choosing a particular niche can be daunting, especially if you want everyone to have the opportunity to find your site. But, you have to remember, defining a niche does not mean you will be held to it forever. Niche should develop over time. You can extend your reach later in your campaign when appropriate. You can build on subject expertise across a range of topics and niches.

5. Not thinking full-funnel 

5. Not thinking full-funnel 

It’s important to remember that not all Google users are ready to convert once your page is found. You have to think about consumers at every stage of their journey, including startup, research, comparison, transactions and experience.

You cannot assume that every keyword or topic you are targeting will translate. It’s simply not realistic.

Instead, you must select targets related to the language used by a potential user at each stage of the funnel and provide the appropriate content and level of engagement they seek during their consideration and the customer journey.

For example, if someone has just become aware of their need for a new type of insurance for their business, they are likely to begin their journey by researching their options and the types of companies that are provided. They are not necessarily ready to fill out a form or make a call and start a sales process until they have done some research and started moving down the funnel.

6. Ignoring SERPs 

Many people who are just starting their SEO journey do not understand how a search engine results page (SERP) works. So they may not even realize that there are multiple sections on the SERPs and that the organic results are usually buried under ads, news, map packs, featured snippets and more.

It is essential to educate yourself on the anatomy of SERP so that you understand the many ways in which your SEO efforts can affect the results shown to consumers.

Good SEO or areas surrounding traditional search (ie, local SEO), have the power to have one of the stylish spots in Google’s search features (the maps package, featured snippets, reviews, etc.). But you may need to make a few changes to your SEO strategy to optimize your pages in a way that gets Google’s attention.

For example, markup schema can help communicate to Google that you would like your reviews to be displayed under your Google listing. Similarly, having a Google Business Profile list increases the likelihood of you appearing in the results of map packages.

7. Bad partnerships 

Nothing slows progress like a poor partnership. The wrong partner can prevent you from meeting your bottom line, whether with vendors, agencies, freelancers, tools, writers, developers or people who are weighing strategy and execution.

However, ending a bad partnership is not always easy, especially if there are contracts involved. Before pulling the plug, discuss your expectations and how this partnership is failing to meet them. Then develop an action plan to put things right.

But in the end, if your partnership cannot be saved, you must end it. SEO is an investment, and it doesn’t pay to work with someone who doesn’t help you meet your bottom line.

Do all the due diligence possible on the front end. Hopefully you will not eventually be in this position.

8. Disconnection from other marketing channels 

As a marketer, there is nothing that bothers me more than working with professionals who blindly think that their marketing channel is ultimately everything to achieve their client’s goals. In fact, marketing channels should synergy to maximize results. This comes from someone (me) who started their career deep in SEO silo.

There is a time and place for each marketing channel. For example, if you need quick results and want to get your listing up to the top of Google, then paid search is a great option. But running long-term ads can be costly. That’s where SEO comes in.

SEO takes time. It rarely gives first-place results in SERPs. Therefore, working on your SEO while running ads at the same time can attract a similar population until your site climbs higher in organic rankings and ultimately does not require the need for a paid ad for the service or ‘ that product no longer. Also, paid and organic can work well together in some cases based on how SERPs are structured for specific topics and queries.

Beyond that, we need to know that other channels such as social advertising, email and other forms of digital advertising can go a long way in collaborating and influencing the customer journey. Don’t put all the pressure on one channel if you can avoid it.

I encourage my clients to think about how they can leverage all marketing channels and disciplines, including SEO, paid search, content, UX / UI, video, and more, to get the best possible results.

9. Not enough attribution 

Data tracking is important. After all, that’s what shows how much return on investment your SEO efforts bring. However, it is a mistake to only track SEO data and not track the business statistics and conversions associated with your SEO efforts.

For example, if you have a service-based business like plumbing, you should expect to see an increase in keywords related to plumbing. However, that doesn’t mean much if you also don’t see an increase in conversions (ie calls or contact forms being filled).

With digital marketing, we have the power to know if it works and track it all the way through. It is unacceptable in most cases to make assumptions when we can connect the dots of impression through transformation (and hopefully beyond).

Remove your SEO roadblocks

It’s normal and natural to want instant SEO results, but that’s not how it usually works. Achieving the SEO results you want takes consistent time and effort. Avoiding the pitfalls outlined in this article will help you get the most out of your SEO investment.

The views expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff writers are listed here.

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About The Author

Corey Morris is a skilled marketing professional with 15+ years of experience developing award-winning digital strategies that generate ROI for local and national brands. He was recently honored as the recipient of the 2019 KCDMA Marketer of the Year award.