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7 Reasons Your SEO Efforts Fail

Reasons Search Engine Optimization  Fails

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) firms sell snake oil. Unfortunately, that is how it looks to lots of us, customers of the SEO firm. These are all real issues that I've seen over many years.

Here are the 7 reasons your SEO spend is ineffective:

1.) Search Engines Rank Pages, Not Websites

Remember that Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines rank individual pages, not your website as a whole.

If your SEO company builds links to your home page, but never to the pages for your products or services, these pages will never rank highly in comparison to your competitor's product and services pages.

SEO Companies need to offer optimization that drives traffic to your product and service pages. Although I'm not going to discuss online lead generation in this blog post, be aware that each of your pages needs a Call-To-Action (CTA) that will capture leads from visitors.

2.) Your Website Can't Be Found By The Search Engines

Ever see a really beautiful website? Gorgeous website, appealing graphics, lovely video, etc?

If the site is built entirely in Adobe Flash or Flex, it is possible that the website has absolutely no text. Believe it or not, this still happens. My friend Scott was working with a company just last year. The guy had real web traffic and good revenues from his old ugly site but had it rebuilt. The new site was pretty but had no text. No text means that search engines, such as Google, can't see the site, at all, nada, for real.

Rather than beat this into the ground, understand that text on your website is the primary factor that drives traffic via search.

3.) You Annoy Web Visitors, Maybe With Too Much Video, A Culturally Inappropriate Look, or The Wrong Industry Terms

These are really 3 issues. There are other examples of angering web visitors, like making navigation or search difficult.

Video and motion: Does your video play automatically? Are there 3 or 4 videos or animations that play simultaneously? Did a non-industry person or the wrong person write the text? My favorite example is that in the utility industry for wires attached to poles, telephone companies use the term aerial plant, while electric utilities use the term overhead plant.

Your website should be pleasant to use and useful for the visitor.

4.) The Wrong Keywords, Such As High Traffic Keywords Rather Than Your Buyer's Or Customer's Keyword

Buyer Keywords are the words that your buying prospect will use to find your website and your products or services. It can be very difficult to compete with the high traffic keywords, yet these may not bring buyers. What is your buyer searching? For us, it includes the terms: agency, firm, and company.

Competing for the wrong keywords wastes your time and money on search engine optimization, but worse than that it can cause you to spend on advertising for these same, incorrect, sub-optimal keywords.

5.) Low-Quality Links From Link-Building

One great way to raise the search engine rank of any page is to build links. My best links come from alliance partners, suppliers, industry directories, and the websites that I built that are ten (10) years old.

There are lots of link-builders with terrible, low ranking directories that generate visitors that will never buy. These can confuse you into believing that you are building more traffic when this traffic has no value.

6.) Bad Content, Bad Writing

This is similar to the issue of using the wrong industry terms in written text. Good content is clear, helps your reader, honestly reveals truths, and is worth sharing among co-workers and friends.

Writing has a tone, a voice. It becomes the voice of your company. Is it conversational or formal? Which suits your reader? Readability, in part, is the grade-level-equivalence of your writing. For example, many newspapers write for 8th-grade readers. However, if you are writing about optimization or economics or finance, chances are you will have difficulty keeping it down to 12th or college-level, which is fine. The business reader, technology geek, or automobile enthusiast will know and understand the terminology of the industry. We have this issue all the time with tech software firms and supply chain optimization clients.

7) Failing To Leverage Social Networks & Social Media

Sharing your content over social media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can carry your story far beyond your website. While at a conference in Denmark, I sat a lunch table with a group of web guys. One knew of me and followed me on Twitter, amazing.

There are many tools that will share your content, such as blog posts, directly from your website, even as they go live. In addition, sharing buttons, such as Google plus one "+1," Facebook "Like," Twitter and email sharing let visitors send your content to colleagues and friends.

Link shorteners, such as, transparently pass SEO credit to your website. Pro offers the ability to view your traffic. 

Just do it. Share your content and make it easy for others to share from your website.