Why Your SEO Content Fails

Patrick Coyne
Patrick Coyne Director of Organic & Local Search

Have you ever noticed how many SEO Gurus are out there? Sure, sometimes they’re SEO Wizards, Mavens, or Ninjas, but it all means one thing – These people are, or at least claim to be, experts in Search Engine Optimization. So with all these self-proclaimed experts, why is there so much bad SEO content in the world?

As it turns out, it can be very easy for an SEO campaign to fail. Sometimes it’s inexperience on the part of the marketer, or a client not providing the resources necessary for success, or any number of different reasons. But regardless of the cause, so many SEO campaigns simply go off course, falling short of achieving their intended purpose.

The fact is, there are many different moving parts to an SEO campaign, and many, many ways those moving parts can go awry. So what can you do to make sure that your SEO content strategy is staying on track? For this blog post, we’re going to focus strictly on the optimized SEO content of your website. Because without these fundamental building blocks, your off-site optimization is destined to fail. Here’s 5 reasons why SEO Content Fails:

  • Tactics without Strategy: This is one of the most common mistakes we see when creating optimized content. Everyone knows that they need content, but the why they need content is harder to come by. Before you start creating that page/video/quiz etc, you’ll need to justify the existence. And this why needs to be specific. It can’t be a blanket “get conversions” strategy, either. Consider how this content is going to fit into your larger strategy, as well, and who the users are that you’re creating this for, and where they are at in the conversion funnel. If you have the why, suddenly you have the user’s intent, you can easily figure out the target keywords, and the content should be easy to actually execute.
  • Chasing after What’s New & Flashy: A similar issue to the previous entry, but one that occurs so frequently that it deserves its own entry. We saw this happen a few years ago with infographics. All the big bloggers started championing infographics as a way to earn quality links. Suddenly, publishers are churning out infographics without thinking about their purpose, or following the guidelines of what makes a good infographic. But it was the hot new tactic, and everyone needed to create them. The same thinking could be applied to writing about trendy topics. You see this frequently whenever there’s a big national or international event happening. For instance, with the Super Bowl coming up, you might see a post like “How Doing SEO is like Being in the Super Bowl!” Yeah, that’s lame, and no, I’m not exaggerating. People really churn out bad posts like that all the time. There’s plenty of examples like this where a company tries to create a tenuous connection to a big event, in hopes of earning some of that runoff search traffic. The problem here is, that type of article is usually done strictly for SEO, and doesn’t even consider the real human readers. I’m not saying writing about big events is always bad. These type of articles can work (for instance, an SEO-themed article analyzing what search terms are trending for the big game actually seems interesting and justifies its SEO to the Super Bowl connection), but you should never force a connection between your company blog and the event in question.
  • Your Tactics Are Outdated: Another thing about all those SEO gurus? Many of them have got blogs that go back several years. As SEO is an ever-evolving industry, their blogs likely feature older posts (say, 2 years or more) which tout the benefits of a tactic that is no longer effective, or not nearly effective as it was when that blog post was written. This becomes your problem when, as your developing your tactical plan, you cite a blog post from 2010 as your reason for pursuing a tactic. Or worse yet, there’s lots of so called gurus spreading digital marketing misinformation simply because they don’t know any better. And if you’re new to the SEO field, you might not realize what does and does not work. As you start to research your tactical content plan, find bloggers who you know you can trust (a good place to start is Moz’s blog). And don’t cite any blog post that’s older than two years (that includes the one you’re reading right now!)
  • You Believe “Content is King”: Oof, that turn of phrase makes my skin crawl. There was a time when you couldn’t go to any SEO new site without reading that several times. And yes, of course content is very important and blah, blah, blah, blah. But the problem is that many people take “content is king” to mean “all I have to do is pump out a few good blog posts and then the money comes rolling in”. Actually, there’s a ton of work that comes after you’ve created great content. This work could be anything from outreach, to sharing your posts regularly on social media, to later tactics like using Google Search Console to reassess your content’s target keywords. SEO, and in particular SEO content, is not and will never be set it and forget. Publishing your fantastic video is just the beginning of the work.You
  • Don’t Know What Success Looks Like: First – don’t even think about how to measure success unless the first four points have been covered. Now, knowing what success looks like means knowing what KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you should be measuring. This can mean a number of different things depending on the purpose of your content. For instance, your KPIs could be traffic, conversions, engagement metrics, backlinks, or any number of things. But if you go in without a strategy, you’re not going to know how to measure you’re content’s success. Then you’re tempted to start grasping at straws and you’re looking at any positive metric in an attempt to justify that content’s existence. Or worse yet, someone else who doesn’t understand the strategy may come in, take a look at some stats that in no way indicate whether the page is successful, and decide to kill it based on that.

SEO can and should be employed as part of virtually any overall digital marketing strategy. However, if the building blocks of content aren’t in order, the whole house could come tumbling down. Every move you make should be deliberate and with a purpose, with the intention of achieving your goal.

What comes after implementing your SEO content? Learn more about link building and offsite search engine optimization.