Every online business owner has “SEO” on their to-do list, whether it’s as a jotted note on a whiteboard or a nagging presence on the backs of their minds. Either way, we all know that SEO is an important element of our success online and we’ve each tried to address it in one way or another.
So right now, you’re doing one or both of two things:
- You’ve hired a consultant, contractor, or in-house SEO expert.
- You’re doing it all yourself. (Bring on the tutorials and webinars!)
There are pros and cons to each of these two options, but we won’t go into those right now. What we’re focusing on now is the fact that your SEO campaign can fail whether or not you’ve got an “expert” in your corner or you’ve decided to go it alone.
In order to rejuvenate your ailing campaign, you need to ask yourself these 5 targeted questions to assess whether or not you’re even pointed in the right direction.
1. Are you being realistic?
Success is achieved in stages, especially SEO success. If you’ve set the lofty goal of ranking in the top spot for each of your products or services, you’ve just primed yourself for disappointment, shattered morale, and a bleak end-of-quarter report.
Establish tiered goals and work your way from the bottom up.
Timeframe and budget
It’s hard not to expect or demand immediate results, especially when you’re feeling the pressure of a deadline, but you simply can’t crack the whip on your SEO campaign. An effective campaign is about nurturing rather than squeezing out rankings from your hypothetical keyword grapes. A realistic timeframe is going to depend entirely on your industry, the age and status of your website, the competition that exists for your keywords, and where you’re currently ranked.
To get that information, it may be best to consult an SEO expert. If your industry is saturated, be prepared to devote a significant amount of time and investment toward reaching your objectives.
2. How targeted are your keywords and traffic?
Finding the right keywords is going to require research that you must be prepared to do. Your resources will be Google Analytics and Google Adwords Keyword Planner. These tools will help you discover what your prospective audience is searching for, versus what you think they’re searching for. Do not determine keywords based on your best guess. Back up your decisions with data.
If you’re getting traffic flow from organic searches, but your bounce rate is off the charts, it means the people are finding something that they did not expect when they got to your website. Your keywords are (even slightly) misleading. It’s important to note, however, where your traffic is coming from. You could be pointing to your site from landing pages, referral links, etc., and this will make a difference in your data. Organic searches specifically have to do with your keywords, so don’t make a decision to change or fine-tune your keywords if your traffic from a landing page is bouncing.
3. Is your website professional?
If you’ve got a high bounce rate across the board, whether that bouncing traffic is coming from organic searches, direct links, or landing pages, you have bigger fish to fry than just your flailing SEO campaign.
You’ve got a bigger problem with your website. It’s not converting, and that could be for any number of reasons, including:
- Your website’s outdated, and your visitors are turned off.
- The design is clearly unprofessional or cheap.
- Navigation is clunky and unintuitive, especially on mobile devices.
- Current feedback on it is largely negative.
Google’s algorithm updates are ostensibly geared toward favoring high quality websites and web pages. Better quality pages now take precedence over sites with poor content, error pages, low conversions, slow load times, etc.
4. How targeted is your content?
How well do you know your prospective customers? How thoroughly have you researched their needs, interests, and backgrounds?
Unless you know exactly who you’re speaking to in your content, how do you even know if you’re saying what they need to hear in order to purchase your product and service? You need to have your finger on the pulse of your demographic, which will involve creating customer profiles, conducting surveys, engaging with your social media audience, staying informed on industry trends, etc.
5. What are you doing with your findings?
You’ve analyzed 4 different aspects of your SEO campaign so far. Tracking and documenting your findings is crucial to the next step, which is revising your plan. Your entire SEO campaign should be comprised of informed decisions, not just best guesses.
What is the most frustrating aspect of your SEO campaign right now?
Taylor, Jay. “7 Reasons Your SEO Campaign Will Fail and What You Can Do About It.” http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2370601/7-Reasons-Your-SEO-Campaign-Will-Fail-and-What-You-Can-Do-About-It?utm_term=&utm_content=7%20Reasons%20Your%20SEO%20Campaign%20Will%20Fail%20and%20What%20You%20Can%20Do%20About%20It&utm_campaign=09%2F17%2F14%20-%20SEW%20Daily&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=Daily. (September 23, 2014).