There are many reasons an SEO project may fail. From not having access to everything that’s part of the project to communication issues with the developer team, it’s important to find out certain things about your project from the client before moving forward with signing them.
It could be a losing proposition from the start, in which case you should probably decline the project unless there is a compelling reason to take that project.
In episode 3 of Ask An SEO, Brian Harnish dives into the more common reasons an SEO project may fail, and how you can mitigate their impact.
Watch the Video
Be sure to watch the video and subscribe to our YouTube channel today!
You can also read the Ask an SEO Episode 3 transcript below:
Ask an SEO Episode 3 Transcript
Today’s question comes from John.
Why does an SEO project fail?
Well, there are several reasons why an SEO project may fail.
Number one, you didn’t set client expectations early.
Number two, you don’t have access to everything necessary for the entire project.
Number three, one of the core components of SEO are missing.
And number four, the client’s developer team is making changes you’re not aware of, or they have not made the required changes correctly.
Let’s take a look at these.
Number one, you didn’t set client expectations early.
This is one of the bigger ones.
So say you get a brand new client and they want to know if you can get them ranking to number one in three days or overnight and they’re all excited about the project.
Well, this is one of those things that will come up in the discovery call when you start asking client questions, things like what is the timeline of the expectation for results, that kind of thing.
If you uncover this kind of thing early on in the project, you’ll be able to deal with them quicker and help smooth things over from a rough start at the beginning.
So the last thing you want to know is six months in, and the client hasn’t told you that they were expecting to rank number one in three days or in 24 hours, which is impossible as far as SEO is concerned.
So make sure that you address all of these up front when you first sign a client and you have the discovery call.
So the next one: you don’t have access to everything required for the success of the project and the site or control over the entire project.
So here’s what can happen.
Say that an agency comes in and they’re hired to do some SEO for a project, but the client doesn’t want to give them anything as far as all access is concerned.
They can give you some access, like maybe some FTP or some WordPress access or whatever.
But at the end of the day, they’ve only probably given 50 percent of what the actual agency will need in order to be successful.
And this happens time and time again in the business world.
You can’t expect to be in control of everything 100 percent of the time.
And you do have to make sure that you follow up with the client and make sure you get those particular items that you need in order to be successful.
Then the next reason, number three, one of the core components of SEO are missing.
Say that you have a client and they expressly forbid you to do links or they expressly forbid you to do content.
Say, for example, you sign a client that wants a one page site and they don’t want to do any kind of content, or links, or anything.
The one page site is, well, it can eventually achieve some kind of ranking; it’s not going to achieve anything meaningful beyond the brand keyword phrase.
So you’re kind of in a rough spot here.
On the one hand, you have a client that has a one page site and they’re happy, but they’re not going to be happy when you can’t deliver on rankings.
This is – this is where you can tell the client in the Discovery call that this is not going to be a winning proposition.
And you may want to consider not taking on the client at all.
If you have an opportunity to take on the client anyway, it’s best to detail these expectations upfront, and make sure that they know exactly what they can expect from SEO on this particular project.
And this is why it’s so important to have the discovery call, because you will find out exactly what the client expects and exactly what they think SEO is.
If they are off base on any one of these, you’ll be able to correct those on the call and hopefully be able to make a recommendation that they will listen to and move forward with you on the rest of the project contract.
Then you have the last reason which is: The developer team is making changes you’re not aware of or they do not implement changes correctly from the audit.
So picture this scenario.
You have a developer team that is actually doing things like adding noindex or disallow to robots.txt and they accidentally add a typo in the form of a forward slash, indicating they’re noindexing and disallowed the entire site.
Or, they’re making changes that have a negative impact on crawl issues, indexing issues and so on.
But you’re not aware of these because for whatever reason, they are not under your purview,
you’re not supervising them or whatever.
So this can be…this can get a little dicey simply because of the fact that, hey, you’re not aware of the changes. Number two, that you’re you may not exactly be in with the developer team.
So in this case, it’s a good idea to have a project management system, such as Asana or Basecamp or whatever, so that you can keep actual track of all of these issues so that you can bring them up with management in the most tactful way possible, if need be.
That’s it for today’s “Ask An SEO” episode three.
This is Brian Harnish signing off. Have a great day!!