“I’ll just sit and grin, the money will roll right in”
I used to write detailed Online Marketing Proposals and SEO plans. Quite often, after initial excitement or even wondering – “it has really brought something to our attention” – it figured out that some clients are not ready to implement things they initially requested and even paid money for: “we believe that we are a premature in putting together an SEO plan because we have not fully defined our goals.” Fair enough.
SEO is a process, it’s a rapidly moving target and it all comes down to ongoing efforts, implementation, testing. Rinse and repeat. New keywords, new features from Google, new competitors – you simply cannot write a plan, do keyword research and then work on it during the next year. Getting more sales with (a little) help of SEO and other online marketing channels is getting harder. You might rank well, one day, but SEO gold rush is over. Actually long ago. Your niche is not exception.
So an important question to ask: how flexible are you, your team and your process to incorporate SEO real-time? Do you have trust in your SEO contractor or department to allow them to make changes quickly based on their findings vs. putting them on hold during days or weeks waiting for your approval? How agile you are?
Choose the right goals for your SEM. Some SEO clients chase wrong keywords or want unrealistic amount of conversions from their PPC campaigns – they think they know it all just after looking at analytics or keyword research tools but sometimes the figures are taken from the air. Some SEO/PPC folks won’t argue. Instead, they do what they told (things you have to do for money) and fail the project. It comes as no surprise to me.
ASAP is poison.
The problem here, again, is that some SEO clients still want to find or hear something one-time, quickly, possibly related to a magic bullet or Holy Graal in traffic: “we want to be #1 for X key phase”. They never ask: “Is it possible for us based on X data to be…” or “What we need to…”
SEO is changing. Search results cannot be gamed – you need to earn trust. SERPs are not the same for all anymore, even the way we type in our searches is different. Add social signals, video, local, mobile, Panda, and the fact that Google hides search referral data with new SSL feature, and you’ll get quite a different view on your SEO efforts.
What does it all mean? It means that SEO with a process wins. It means that long tail wins for an initial SEO strategy. It means that content strategy with user in mind wins. It means that the sites with rich structure that incorporates SEO best practices win. And that link from Facebook or a new +1 also helps SEO.
But, most importantly, it is that SEO is not about only SEO anymore (never was for me). You need an online marketing strategist, a big picture guy who can do small tweaks on a daily basis. At the same time, who understands that search marketing is just a part of a broader inbound marketing channel and who knows what people who convert are doing on your site so he/she can put that knowledge to keyword research, content and link development.