(Last week I talked about how to screw up your WordPress SEO. This week I thought we’d examine SEO and websites in general.)
Every day, website owners sign up SEO consultants to help them with their search engine rankings. Sometimes those arrangements work out really well for both parties. Sometimes. the website owner picks a consultant that doesn’t really know what they’re doing. And sometimes, the website owner picks a good consultant but ends up sabotaging their own SEO campaign. Here are some ways you can screw yours up too:
Be a passive participant
Your SEO consultant or inhouse SEO specialist is trying to help you build your traffic and increase your revenues. The least you can do is help them help you. (Actually, the least you can do is nothing, and that’s what too many website owners do.)
This isn’t magic, folks, and it isn’t rocket science. It is hard work, though, so roll up your sleeves and pitch in. What do I mean by pitching in? Be available to answer questions, make decisions, and help make the SEO’s recommendations happen.
Expect half the work to deliver all the benefit
SEO involves fixing up your on-page coding AND doing the off-page link building work AND creating interesting, relevant content. Too many website owners readily greenlight the on-page work and then balk at doing the link building/content creation, yet expect to get all the SEO goods.
Folks, good on-page coding is a force-multiplier that makes your in-bound links more effective, but you still have to get in-bound links for that to happen. Sure the link building is hard work, but what do you think you’re paying for? Plus, without interesting, relevant content what is there on your site worth linking to? Really, any link worth having isn’t going to link to your “About” page.
You can’t beat two eggs and call it a cake. You need all the ingredients to end up with the results you want.
Treat SEO like a short-term project
A true SEO campaign is like an experiment in cause and effect. You make some changes, and they have an effect on the search engines. You add some links, and that has an effect on the search engines. (FYI That effect can be good, bad, or indeterminate.) While many changes have a high likelihood of good effects, there are no sure things in SEO because everything you do – code, content, and credibility – is all interlinked in the search engine algorithms.
These effects don’t happen instantaneously, though, and expecting them to do so is a sure-fire recipe for disappointment. Ask ten website owners who claim that SEO didn’t work for them, and you’ll find at least eight of them stuck with it for less than 3 months.
Treat your SEO consultant like a debate opponent
Your SEO consultant has worked his/her craft for a while and has developed skills and strong instincts for what needs doing to websites to make them perform better in search engine results. Far too often, though, I see situations where the website owner insists on debating each and every suggestion the consultant makes.
Now I’m not advocating a wholesale blind acceptance of everything you’re told, as that would be irresponsible of any business owner. However, these situations almost always involve debate for the sake of debate, a case of “I want to argue with you” instead of “why is this a good thing.” Too much arguing wastes time and resources, not a lot gets done, and the results are slow in coming – leaving the website owner to lament “SEO doesn’t work.” *sigh*
Do your own thing, too
I’ve had SEO projects where the website owner gave me free rein to do what I needed, but at the same time also did his/her own thing per ideas gleaned from dubious articles. So, while I’m busy trying to put together interesting/relevant articles for the website, the owner is creating mounds of crap content and spinning my content all over the place.
This mistake is especially aggravating. I’m working to make link-worthy content, but the owner’s efforts are endangering the perceived quality of the entire website. The former will make other websites want to link to us, while the latter will discourage that. In addition, the latter will also convince search engines that we are not a reputable website, thus killing any hope of achieving our SEO goals.
SEO is hard enough. Don’t make it harder by working at cross-purposes to your consultant. Don’t sabotage your SEO, dude.