SEO: On the trail of why some fail |

SEO: On the trail of why some fail

By Stuart Tofts / March 28, 2008

Marketers across the world are gradually recognising the importance of online tactics such as search engine optimisation (SEO) to their promotional toolbox. The industry has transformed from being a niche neat trick a few lucky firms had access to, into a must-have marketing tool.

However, while many people recognise its worth and take the time to study how to optimise their sites properly – or call in an expert – there are always some who fall down at the same hurdles. There are many reasons an SEO campaign could go pear-shaped. I have listed below three prominent marketing types whose optimisation strategy rapidly sours – usually as the result of too much initial enthusiasm coupled with too little planning.

The faddist

This is a trap often prevalent among small businesses in particular. The boss hears about SEO and demands an overworked IT manager adds it to their list of chores. After an initial period of excitement, the lack of an immediate and rapid upsurge in sales or traffic causes the owner to loose interest and the busy member of staff is only too happy to return their efforts to their everyday tasks.

The idealist

This can be frustrating to watch as it is usually a pitfall reserved for those marketers who really take the time to explore and plan their SEO strategy. They learn about the need for spider-friendly websites, they attend conferences and earnestly debate organic versus pay-per-click, they perhaps even consult a firm of specialists. But then they pick a generic and popular keyword or phrase and decide to optimise their site for that. They determine they will stop at nothing to reach the top rankings for something hugely competitive, throw vast quantities of resources at their goal and ignore the fact their resulting traffic is general and not necessarily interested in their more specialised product.

The cynical strategist

This type of marketer simply wants results at any cost and as quickly as possible. Often they will end up in the hands of a black-hat SEO firm because the organic and sustainable methods simply take too long for them. Unfortunately, the wily algorithms inevitably catch up with the website in the end, leaving it banished far from the top rankings. This can leave the business out of pocket and virtually invisible to new clients.

Final thoughts

It is not inevitable that someone new to SEO will mess it up – far from it. However, it is more common than necessary for businesses to waste money because they are caught out by the above pitfalls – money that could be piped towards long-term SEO strategies which will develop real and lasting benefits.

Stuart Tofts


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