The Top Ten Reasons Your SEO Sucks

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So the title may be a bit aggressive, but come on, let’s be honest with ourselves, there are two types of people in the world of SEO.  First, those people that are really good at implementing what they learn.  And second, those people that only read about it and they never take action.  Which section do you fall under?

Having the opportunity to consult and teach many people on the basics of SEO, I have found the top ten reasons why most people fail in their efforts to get the rankings they deserve.

  1. The number one reason that I believe people suck at SEO is because they fall under the second type of person that I mentioned above. This type of person thinks that they need to know everything and never implement anything that they learn. If you want to succeed you must take action now and start learning from your failures. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t learn, what it means is that you need to implement what you learn and see what works best for you and your market.
  2. Now you might be a person that doesn’t have a problem taking action, but this may be the very reason you are failing. Some of us go out and buy every course possible and start implementing everything we learn all at once. If you find yourself in this category you would probably agree that you feel like a “chicken with its head cut off”. If you start executing everything you learn all at once you will find it very hard to be successful in anything that you begin. So stay focused and don’t bite off more than you can chew.
  3. The next reason may be due to us misinterpreting what we read or learn from the so called experts or gurus. Just because you read something doesn’t mean it is correct or that it will work. I am sure I have said or written some things that have been incorrect or misleading. Just because something works in one market or niche, does not mean it will work in your area! So take what you learn from others with a grain of salt and make sure you are not making the next mistake.
  4. Once you learn something and you start implementing it into your campaign it is crucial that you test the results. Test everything that is happening; make notes of the changes you make so that you can see what is working and what is failing. This is another huge reason that we fail. So ask yourself every single day, “What am I testing today.”
  5. We often fail to spend the necessary amount of time researching the target market/niche that we are trying to reach. It is vital that you spend time finding the correct keywords and phrases that your target market is searching for. I have seen over and over again SEO campaigns focusing on keywords/phrases that not a single soul searches. My favorite free keyword research tool that I use on a daily basis is the one and only Google Keyword Tool.
  6. Now that we have found some keywords that people are actually searching for in our market, the next setback that comes along is that we are focusing on keywords/phrases that are too broad or too competitive. What I mean by this is that almost always there are long-tail keywords that get great traffic and have a lower competitive reach that will make it easier and faster for us to rank. So this being the case, you need to spend more time in your research to find the keywords/phrases that you know that you can rank for, and once you get ranked for these, then you can focus on the more broad and competitive keywords.
  7. Ok, so now you have the correct keywords/phrases that you should be focusing on for your SEO campaign. The problem now is that people either over do it or under do it. Here is what I mean. Some people over do it and spam their Web pages with their keywords/phrases and some people do not use their keywords/phrases enough. Make sure you are careful with the keyword density you are using in your Meta tags, content, and links. Keyword density is a combination of the number of times a keyword/phrase is used in proportion with all the other words and content that appears on a Web page. I always suggest 2-3% keyword density (e.g. if you have 300 words on a Web page and you choose 2% then your keyword/phrase should be used at least and no more than 6 times.)
  8. Many times we are doing a wonderful job with the first seven mistakes I just talked about, but we forget that the search engines are looking for new and fresh content. Make sure that you constantly are updating the content you create to make the search engine spiders happy.
  9. I recently wrote an article called SEO & Social Media: Are You Willing to be Consistent? And in the article I said, “Consistency means you are willing to continue and endure on a regular basis.  It doesn’t mean you will be perfect in your efforts.” One thing that many of us run into is getting really excited and implementing and then everything for some reason slows way down. If we are not consistent in our efforts, then we can plan on totally sucking. Maybe that was too harsh? If it was then good. BE CONSISTENT!
  10. This last item is going to be very short. Stop Making It Harder Than It Really Is! Nuff Said.

Okay, so these are my top ten reasons why your SEO sucks. This doesn’t mean I am talking to you directly; your SEO is probably already amazing!  I am just talking to the masses out there that struggle everyday to get the rankings they desire and deserve.  I hope that you can understand that search engine optimization doesn’t have to be hard; we just make it that way.  Okay, sometimes the search engines make it that way, but we have to be willing to adapt.  I hope you have learned something that you can improve on in your daily SEO efforts.

Further reading:

Note from the editor: I’d like to thank Garrett Pierson for another great contribution and also let our readers know that he has just released his book called “What Success Takes.” You are welcome to go ahead and get your free copy chapter!

Garrett Pierson

Garrett Pierson

Garrett Pierson is Founder and President of New Generation Consulting, a consulting firm specializing in search engine optimization, social media, website conversion, and success. He is the creator of Building Social Equity 2.0 a “SEO Meets Social Media” training course.
Garrett Pierson

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  • 11. You think that if you simply install WordPress and a bunch of “SEO” plugins, the traffic will swarm in. Is this not true?

  • It’s always refreshing to see posts on real-world SEO. Your 10 points are all valid. Internally, I would always tell my team to avoid ‘paralysis by analysis’. Basically, some people test so diligently that they spend way too much time waiting for results. There comes a time when you just need to know that you’re doing the right thing and charge forward. Some things need diligent testing, but when you take a ridiculous amount of time testing known best-practices you can really make your SEO suck.

  • Garrett, at first I laughed because it’s so sadly accurate an article and there are so many people who fit.

    Then I cried, remembering how badly my SEO sucked when I first got into this in a “serious” way. OMG I had to really learn through the painful fails…

  • Alan,

    I am glad I was able to make you cry and laugh! I think this article will really make people think, hopefully.

  • Great post Garret! They are definitely thoughts that I have had to consider as I learned the ins-and-outs of great SEO. It’s something that I am still working on today in the job I am at now.

  • Christian’s #11 was good, so…

    #12. Too much reliance on search engines.

    Google likes sites that don’t rely on it as the sole provider of traffic. If you’re not promoting your site in the real world, and bringing in visitors from non-Internet sources, you’re going to be out-performed by websites that do.

  • Good article! One question though… In your example in #7, isn’t 20% of 300 words equal to 60 not 6? Just a little confusing…

  • David,

    You are exactly right that should say 2% thanks for catching that!

  • Thanks Garrett it is very nice information, well i also fall under the category of reading everything but not implementing…I don’t know what to implement and how..very confusion..somebody is correct and other are wrong…this post encourage me to implement something so that my seo doesn’t suck.

  • Nice article … and all good points. I think #4 and #8 are often the most overlooked and neglected pieces of the SEO puzzle.

  • Nice one.

    I have tried implementing things wherever it is necessary. I was successful in most cases but, before going into them i will get a clear idea from the experts through forums.

  • What about a third class of people? Those who know nothing about it and don’t care to learn!

    I will definitely check out your resources. Always want to add to the arsenal.

  • What about link-building? Surprised you didn’t even touch on that subject

  • Maria:

    Great question. There isn’t a real good reason why I didn’t talk about link building other than I think the top ten reasons above are what I have found to be the biggest problems that occur in bad SEO.

    We all know link building is very important and so if I could add #11 it would be that people only focus on link building and then in return their content suffers.

    Meaning, that all of their efforts are building links and then the content that they are trying to sell or share sucks cause they don’t spend enough time on it, they are so worried about building links.

    Hope this addition to my list helps!

  • Doug Heil

    Overall; an okay article. Specifically; You know there are more than 2 types. Actually, many more types of SEO’s.

    4. naw. That kind of sounds like all you do is help a site for the search engines. That’s not what some of us do at all.

    7. naw. I haven’t looked at nor cared about keyword density in years. Many do not as it’s not relevant.

    8. naw. I like changing content for the user only who will come back to the site more often if content is refreshed.

    9. I equate social media to the old grassroots stuff we did in high school. You tell your group of friends about a great party, and that group tells many more people you don’t know about your party. That’s not SEO at all. It’s networking or public relations.

    All others are great stuff!

  • Doug:

    Great points and thanks for your opinion!

  • It does! Thanks for the addition. Now, if you have any tips on how to get a high number of strong inbound links… I wouldn’t be opposed to reading that post as well 🙂

  • You guessed some of our common mistakes, being among persons wanting all to know and never or rarely go to action is close to the saying “Jack of all trades master of none”

  • Great list! Thanks!

  • Your website was tweeted by Teekie and find it very helpful so I decided to open an RSS button with your name I hope it is ok…. if there is an incovenient please let know and I will get the button off.
    Thank you

  • Your website was tweeted by Teekie and I find it very helpful so I decided to open an RSS button with your name I hope it is ok…. if there is an incovenient please let know and I will get the button off.
    Thank you

  • RD Prem

    Than You Garrett. Very Nice article.

    You got me right at the top your list.

  • Thank you for giving me the “kick in the butt” that I needed…