How to Create a Failed SEO Campaign

by Deborah Ager on May 17, 2011

One of the challenges organizations have when creating or redesigning a website is content selection. Over the past five-to-ten years, “content strategy” and “content marketing” have evolved as a way to handle the growing content needs of companies and organizations.

The Silo Won’t Work Any Longer

Large organizations tend to develop into silos with someone working on search engine optimization (SEO) in one end of the building and someone else working in social media or paid search in the other end of the building. (If your company works as an integrated team, please let me know. I want to write about you!)

SEO works hand in hand with content strategy, social media, and paid search. A lack of updated and relevant content can kill an SEO plan. In addition, content that discusses items not related to your core mission can create a challenge to ranking well for your target key phrases.

Social media sites often attain good rankings for you. If you choose the right name for your Facebook page, you can find comments and the page itself ranking well in Google. Twitter, of course, gets good rankings too. SEO helps paid search efforts by encouraging the development of relevant pages that Google will view positively.

I thought I’d share some of the challenges I’ve faced in implementing SEO programs. Although I specifically discuss SEO, these challenges can apply to any channel or strategy you use in your online programs.

1.  Seek Organizational Support

One organization employed one or two people who understood the importance of the web, knew that search engines would garner more traffic, believed that more targeted traffic would convert more people to customers and that more customers equaled more revenue.

At the same time, support did not trickle down from the top. Most managers were not interested in writing for the web. The SEO program failed.

At another organization, I had enormous support from the top. They pulled others into the program, declared its importance, and the program generated revenue that made the company very happy.

2. Develop Content

An organization must devote resources—or hire the right copywriter—to develop ongoing and consistently new copy for the blog, website and, now, Facebook. Ideally, a content plan and an editorial calendar will help the multiple channels reinforce messages among prospects and customers.

3.  Create Searchable Content

Ideally, write optimized content that humans will like as much as robots. One group of print writers I worked with were not placing the most important keyword-rich content at the top. For example, an article about stocks would spend the first two paragraphs discussing attending a baseball game with a grandparent.

This is fine for print, sometimes, but does not translate well to the web. The most relevant content should be placed at the top.

4. Inability to Change Website

Someone contacted me about providing SEO consulting for a new website. Working on a new website is an SEO dream, because the SEO consultant has the chance to set a strong foundation for success.

When this prospect contacted me six months later after the initial call, she’d already had the design created. They built the home page in Flash and had not incorporated key phrases into the proper places, which breaks two important rules of SEO.

What challenges have you faced in SEO?

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Image: matt.searles via Flickr, Creative Commons

Deborah Ager  helps organizations effectively reach and engage with their online audience to achieve their goals.


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