In my first blog, we saw 5 reasons why people have started losing trust in SEO in countries such as India. Below are five more:
6) Practicalities in Implementation
Some recommendations (like meta-tags for instance) are easy to implement. Some others, especially technical ones such as site-structure optimization, may be difficult depending on the technical expertise and team-size of the implementer. If partially or improperly implemented, it may not bear fruit. Although it is the duty of the SEO agency in general to ensure that results arrive, monitoring the work of each and every technical person at the client’s end is practically impossible. At the same time, if the SEO agency is good at recommendations but not at being vigilant, it may lose out in the last minute due to mistakes that are never detected even in the post-implementation stage.
7) Business Relevance
What is it that clients need? At the core, what every client needs is business growth. What can SEO can provide? Good SEO can improve Visibility, Traffic, Seamless digital experience, and goal completions/conversions. The relative priority of each of these varies from business to business, website to website, and even page to page. Add to it the scope of optimization that again differs from page to page, and you land in a complex scenario where complete understanding of the business domain, current standing and expectations of the client need to be matched with the potential growth from SEO optimization, as well as how much each page of the website would translate to business growth once optimized.
8) The Number Game
In Point 4 we discussed impractical promises. However, there is also the scenario that has 100% practical promises and practical numbers, but 0% improvement despite reaching the target 100%. How could this happen? Wrong KPIs (see Point 9) is one possibility. Another, more important factor is the very definition of these KPIs.
A simple example of this is a metric called Reach, which agencies like to define as the sum total of search volumes of all the keywords for which the target website is ranking on the first page of the Search Engine. As Reach is a metric that depends on Search Volumes, it is easy to show a high reach just by bringing a single highly searched keyword into the top 10 results of Google. Another trick is to show a static reach for pages that, naturally or unnaturally, fluctuate between the last rank on the first page and the first few ranks of the second page – the static reach obviously assumes the best rank seen, and gives wrong ideas to the client who may not be smart enough to check the impressions or CTR.
9) Wrong KPIs
A company, by getting its pages on the first page of Google, need not necessarily get an improvement in business. No, this isn’t just about business relevance discussed in point 7, but also about the failure of movement from one part of the funnel to another. Everybody needs ranks, traffic as well as conversions. However, if one sets only ranks as KPI, even though they may be highly important, the SEO recommendations may fail to contain tips to generate traffic, interactions and/or conversions. This is clearly a case of excessive concentration on the wrong KPI, which needs to be avoided at all costs.
10) Lack of SEO knowledge at the client’s end
This is often cited by SEO agencies as the reason for failure of their recommendations. If the client does not have an SEO expert on its side, or for some reason is unable to understand or appreciate the technicalities, it may not be able to address issues properly.
However, it is to be noted that this lack of expertise is not necessarily a cause of worry – if the SEO agency is truthful and the client is willing to cooperate keeping in mind that the end goal is more important than the short term goals, this problem may be avoided.
As we can see from the above 10 points, most of the times SEO fails only because of wrong or poor recommendation/implementation, or the lack of sync between the agency and its client. Knowledge and coordination are the only 2 solutions to solve these problems and let SEO regain the respect that it truly deserves.