Have you ever experienced the true wealth of SEO traffic and sales? If so, I'm sure you're also very familiar with some backbreaking SEO challenges to get there. Share those experiences and how you've overcome them to inspire other businesses who come across this thread. If you haven't been able to overcome them, please drop me a line and I'm sure we can get to the bottom of it.
I think with most, the challenge is in the expectation. We need to stop treating / valuing SEO in the same way we did 10 years ago. The sad truth is the dynamics of SEO and the role it plays in your marketing has changed a lot over the years but unfortunately most businesses are not realizing this and it is creating a tonne of waste for them.
To keep it simple - in today's marketing climate there are far better investments for your time and money. When it comes to SEO (or the end result of organic) you should be focusing on building your social presence and leveraging a relevant blog.
With these, it doesn't always take much to get results. I work with a company where blogging was an afterthought. However, even though we invested zero into SEO, by just having a few well written, relevant blog posts, they started generating hundreds of unique visitor a month... and yes they are converting into clients. So lets just say now we are now allocating more money into community and content :).
There is no shortage of proof that you do not need to spend a bunch of money on crappy SEO services, hacks, back-linking etc. to get results.
I always tried to grow my SEO as organically as possible, and I decided to take the long approach. We had one of our communications folks focus on only building high-quality, relevant content, and do so consistently and on a schedule. It took a little longer, but after a year, the amount of inbound traffic as a result of this effort increased by 1000%! Not everyone has time to wait, but my advice for new companies is to look at SEO as an investment in content today for additional incremental customers in the future.
Most of these challenges can be resolved when handled with poise, but it’s always good to know what’s on the horizon as you embark on your SEO career.
How will you handle these 11 common challenges?
1. Project Management, a.k.a Balancing Client Load & Task Load
You need to be ultra-organized if you are going to be a successful SEO professional.
There are going to be times when you feel you have taken on too much or it simply isn’t possible to achieve everything you have promised on schedule, with appropriate quality control.
To confront this challenge, it’s essential to have proper project and task management structure. This will allow you to spread the workload across your resources and reduce burnout.
In SEO, a successful campaign is not a means but an end; it comes from small, manageable tasks performed over a stretch of time.
In neglecting these little moments – weekly rankings audits, routine speed optimizations, regular content publication – your whole campaign will never achieve what it needs.
You can’t pull an all nighter before a client review meeting and expect there to be results. Digestible tasks spread between your team over a wide window of time is the recipe for success.
As you grow from one to multiple team members, it will be critical that you document your processes, continually improve them, integrate them into your project management structure.
Listen to your staff and value their insights about how to improve day-to-day workflow and audit the process regularly.
Don’t rely on yesterday’s tactics for too long, or you will fall behind.
2. Managing Client Expectations
This is not a lesson you want to learn the hard way, after over-promising and under-delivering to a client. This is especially common if you are chasing a “big fish” client who you feel you have to impress.
Make no mistake: failing to live up to impossible expectations will never impress the client in the end, so keep your promises realistic. Stay in your wheelhouse. Wow them with results, not words.
Whether it’s an exploratory call with a potential client, a quote or proposal, or upselling an existing client, I always try to set the correct expectations. You may not get the sale every time, but that’s the right outcome because you were transparent.
Clients and would-be clients will appreciate that honesty in the long run. You’d be amazed at the number of times a prospect calls up six months later to reopen the conversation with adjusted expectations.
In addition to setting the right expectations when it comes to deliverables and campaign goals, learn to set the right expectations for project scope and communication.
A needy client who takes advantage with hours of free work out-of-scope, or who oversteps boundaries by emailing, calling, or texting at all hours can rarely be reeled in.
Set these expectations early, value your work, value your time, and you can manage this challenge successfully.
3. Unexpected Rankings Drops
You can be managing a successful campaign, generating great results, witnessing great traffic increases, and enjoying a smooth relationship with an ecstatic client. All of a sudden, all that success comes crashing down.
Sometimes this cause is technical, like a search engine algorithm change. Perhaps it is caused by a change in client direction – they might be experiencing budget issues or are in the midst of getting acquired.
You need to be able to rise to the occasion and pivot at a moment’s notice.
For a search issue, have a protocol in place to investigate and rescue a rankings drop. For a client-side issue, identify ways you can support them through the transition and prove your value.
4. Staying Up to Date
The expectation to stay current with the search industry, algorithm updates, and Google features can place enormous pressure on your shoulders. This can be especially challenging when you’re trying to grow your company, trying to network, and having to deal with staff issues and logistics. Suddenly that daily research on the industry becomes a lot harder to find.
When time becomes limited, investing in tools becomes absolutely critical.
Don’t be afraid to invest in that new keyword research tool, tracking tool, or heat map software.
Talk to your team and ask what resources will make their days easier, more productive, and more efficient. The minute you believe you know all there is to know is the minute you’re over the hill.
There’s always a new social media network, CMS, and search feature just around the corner. How can you make it work for you?
5. Relying on a Single Channel Approach
While there is great value in specialization, it is a mistake to rely on a single channel approach. You can’t have only one tactic and expect to be successful in SEO today and in the future, no matter how well you do it.
In reframing your approach from search engine optimization to online presence optimization, you will generate better, more stable results for clients.
Optimize not just client websites but also social profiles, citations, and directories, remembering that everything from Amazon to Instagram has a search engine.
Think smart: optimize Yelp for restaurants and businesses that want to be listed in iPhone search. With a Foursquare profile, your client can be tagged in a location on Instagram.
More than ever, it’s critical to optimize your online presence across these different outlets to have success.
6. Overstepping a Multi-Service Approach
SEO goes hand-in-hand with web design, content writing, paid ads, email marketing, and social media management. Offering all of these services in tandem makes logical sense and allows clients to have a consistent web presence with the convenience of having it all done in one place.
However, if you start providing related services outside of your area of expertise at a client’s request, no one wins.
If you aren’t careful, you could end up knee-deep in a failed email migration with an angry client, and they won’t care one bit about their SEO rankings.
Stick to what you know.
It’s OK to refer email support, brochure design, and event management elsewhere while you focus on excelling at what you do best.
7. Prioritizing Vanity Metrics Over Leads & Sales
Over the years, you’ll learn that most clients only care about two things: leads and sales.
You can tell them about the amazing SEO audit you completed, update them on all the technical change you made on their website, or share that you got their website load time down to one second.
In the end, the only thing that truly matters is results.
If their phone isn’t ringing, or sales are down year-over-year, a client won’t care that the bounce rate is down 6 percent.
Focus on what actions can increase leads and sales. Don’t get caught up in just rankings or vanity metrics.
For further queries you can consult me.
SEO can be super tough, or super easy depending on the vertical, industry, and goals.
On the surface, for small businesses, SEO comes down to creating content and getting backlinks.
In reality though, there are tons of nuances that take months or years to test and get right. For example, you can't just create content without a strategy or research and expect to rank. You can't just blindly start cold emailing people and ask them to link to you and expect it to be successful.
One of the more complex areas of SEO is technical SEO. Enterprise organizations focus on technical SEO as a huge percentage of their time, because of their website's already massive footprint. More gains can be had by leveraging existing content to gain more traffic, than by creating new content, at least for the first few iterations. Likewise, the corporation's own PR and media wings are likely generating awareness and links without needing manual outreach.
Technical SEO can still be a huge part of a small business's site, especially when it comes to website relaunches. This is when a domain, design, structure, content, platform, etc has a massive change. There are 100 things to do to get it right, and more often than not, it fails.
Feel free to reach out to me for a call on Clarity, or read more about my background here https://www.greenflagdigital.com/technical-seo-consultant/