Why People Hate SEO (or Why They Think They Do)

I have always been one that reads many blogs and articles, and stays up to date in the digital marketing industry. I have recently read a few blog posts that are titled “Why People Hate SEO”. I think this correlates to the misunderstanding of what SEO is and how exactly it works. Now, I am not going to sit here and give you the definition of it - at this point if you don’t know what SEO is, type it in the your search bar. I’ve heard those search bar things can be reliable and return excellent results. I tend to disagree with the searches sometimes, but that’s what makes this job and industry fun and rewarding.

SEO is like often like the opposite sex - confused, misunderstood, angry, happy, depressed and unforgiving at times. If you, however, give it time, let it cool down and figure out what the problem is SEO can be very rewarding in your marketing objectives.  Start with the basics, work from the ground up, establish goals and give yourself or company a deadline to hit those goals. While setting your goals become creative, look at what has worked, what hasn’t and how can you make your SEO efforts better. This planning will benefit your SEO success long term, because what works today doesn’t mean it will work tomorrow. Remember, just like the opposite sex, SEO is never going to tell you “I’m fine” and move onto the next problem or keyword.   It will dwell on it until you figure out the problem, patch what went wrong and prove that thing things are going to be alright.

Listen and React

When starting a new campaign, the first thing you must do is start listening. Listening can help take into consideration what your clients are talking about in the marketing goals, your analytics platform, webmaster tools, 3rd party tools and the search engines themselves.  Yes, the search engines talk if you listen.  Similar to my comparison to the opposite sex earlier, they want to know what you are thinking before you do. This listening can often help you with keyword research and see exactly what your audience is searching for.

After you listen, start reacting to what you are hearing and adapt to what is going on. If your SEO goals aren’t aligning with your business goals, fix it. I understand that this sounds simple, but it really is. Often marketers try too hard, when all you need to be is simple.  Look through analytics to locate existing problems. You might just starting seeing a keyword that is bringing in traffic that you might not be targeting. If it is, what you are waiting for? Go after it! Let your analytics do the work for you.  The whole idea of “work smarter, not harder” comes full effect on this one. Another thing to consider looking at in your analytics is your user funnels, as they are speaking to you as well. These will give you answers to why people are leaving the website, what problems they are stumbling upon and how you need to address them.   The funnels will highlight your successful pages, and what isn’t working. If you are seeing a high drop off on a certain page you need to begin to ask yourself, why are people leaving and how can we fix the problems. Addressing this problem will allow for a better user experience, and hopefully repeated visits to your website.

Don’t Hate the Game, Hate the Playa

Yes, SEO is much like a game, a real life internet video game. It has different levels, different objectives, good guys, bad guys and a lot of competition.  Without naming names, there are plenty good guys in this industry and these are the people that are trying to change the reputation of SEO and take down those black hatters.  The bad guys are still out there too. Black hat SEO is still used widely - it’s a given fact. I look at hundreds of websites a week, many being websites I know more about then the owner sometimes. Yes, Internet website owner, I can see your spammy backlinks, your sketchy social media signals and your articles on sites that don’t make sense. You can’t find this from me and you surely can’t find it from a search engine robot.  With that being said, don’t let the bad guy’s tactics influence how you feel about SEO.  SEO people are good people. We don’t stare at Google and Bing all day and laugh in an evil tone when we hit the number 1 in an engine. Well, sometimes (just when needed).  

What Does This All Mean?

Do you still hate SEO? If you said yes, did I at least make you smile with this blog post? SEO should be fun, rewarding and overall it should be a key component of any digital marketing plan.  Everything I said in the post is obviously my opinion, but this post does contain some great insight and some tips you can use in your marketing plan.  No matter what do you, always listen and react, and always remember my comparison to the opposite sex. Without listening you still run into the problem of SEO - being confused, misunderstood, angry, happy, depressed and unforgiving at times.  You don’t have to play by the rules to have successful SEO campaigns; however, never be afraid to try something different. A good idea or new tactic has to start somewhere.