How to Fail at SEO

Author: Jennifer | Date: June 9, 2021 | Categories: ,

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is used to make websites appear in search. Google, Bing, and other search engines program complex algorithms to determine what is shown when a user types a query into their search engines. The onus is on website owners to make sure that their sites are searchable. It’s not easy, especially when you’re trying to focus on running your business.

Here are 6 ways to fail at SEO (and how to succeed).

Sky-High Expectations

SEO is not a one-size-fits all solution. Several factors play into how successful your campaign will be, and not all of them are in your control. SEO needs to be planned, worked, tweaked, and recorded to ensure that you’re making smart moves. It takes time. And it doesn’t always work out the way you (or marketers) plan.

It is especially difficult if you are in a very competitive market. Think “t-shirt company”, “sneakers”, “cupcakes”, and other markets with keywords that are highly competitive.

How to succeed: Mitigate expectations

It is important to do your research before you begin. Analyze what successful competition is doing. Research your audience and the keywords for which they are searching. Research your audience to see just how much of the market is available to you.

In It For the Short Game

SEO is not a short-term thing. Organic SEO is something that develops over time. It takes time to research your market and your competition. It takes time to tweak your keywords, your content, your backlinks, and more. It takes time for your efforts to overtake your competition in existing search results pages.

There is no set time limit for an SEO campaign to return your investment by way of sales.

How to succeed: Be in it for the long haul

Organic SEO takes time. It takes time to do the initial research. It takes time to do the work. It takes time for that work to yield results, especially when your competition is also doing the work. And, when search engines make changes to their algorithms, it takes time to tweak your efforts to match.

Operating Without A Roadmap

One should not expect to dive into SEO without a plan and have a successful campaign. Simply checking the SEO boxes does not ensure a successful campaign. There is much more to a successful SEO campaign.

How to Succeed: Make a plan, and stick to it

Strategy is the key to a successful SEO campaign. Make a plan, set goals, but leave room to pivot if needed.

Limited Budget

Organic SEO traffic is not free. There are tools, employees, resources and more involved in creating organic SEO traffic to your site. So, while you’re not paying per click, there is a cost to organic SEO. If a business owner wants to keep costs down, they can contribute to the overall SEO plan. Writing blog posts and helping with the overall marketing plan can stretch your SEO budget.

How to succeed: Be willing to spend money

SEO should be seen as an investment. During the critical planning phase of your SEO campaign, make a decision about how much you are able to spend. Stick to that budget for at least 6 months. Remember, SEO is not a fast process. You need to give all of the planning and hard work a chance to pay off before you pull the plug on what could have been a very successful SEO campaign.

Low Demand

SEO doesn’t work for 100% of businesses. There are the few where clients just aren’t searching online. Even if you can get ranked for important industry keywords, if no one is searching for your product or services you will not get the leads and sales you expect from SEO.

How to succeed: Change your focus

It might be as simple as changing your keywords to attract a new audience. However, you might need to rethink your marketing tactics altogether.

Do Not Keep Up With Techniques

The rate at which technology changes is probably the most compelling reason to hire an SEO professional. Even professionals need to learn constantly to keep up with the changes in web design, marketing, and search engine algorithms. It’s very difficult to keep up if you’re also trying to keep up with your own ever-changing industry.

How to succeed: Never stop learning

If you do want to tackle SEO on your own, you need to stay up-to-date on what search engines deem important. However, if you don’t have time, there is no shame in hiring an SEO professional who makes their living keeping up with the trend.

Ignore Website Design

Even the most successful SEO campaigns cannot convert leads into sales. Your website, however, can. If your website is poorly designed and/or lacks clear calls to actions, your leads will simply bounce, or leave the site before you have a chance to make the sale.

How to succeed: Build a site that encourages conversion

Make sure that you have an easy-to-use website with clear calls to action throughout. Ask for that sale! Make sure your website visitors know, without a doubt, what you want them to do on your site.


Does your website need a refresh? CourseVector has a great deal on website designs.


If you’d like a guide to starting or growing your business online, check out this free ebook.

Or if you’d like a free website evaluation, we’d be happy to tell you where to start on SEO.

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