5 Important Ways to Not Fail at SEO

by Matt Brown September 23rd, 2011 

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Whether you’re new to the SEO game or a seasoned pro, there are certain things to know about this industry that are probably written on a stone tablet somewhere (Google HQ).

Whatever your tried and true SEO strategies are, following these fundamentals will assure you a successful start or extended career.

  1. Check in with Your Campaigns – This is both for your sake and your client. The more you take on, the easier it is to miss a step along the way. Even the most organized SEO’s can miss a handful of broken links, a misspelled anchor text, an overdue local verification; the list goes on and these missteps can add up. I have seen SEO’s get reamed by and almost lose clients upset over slight misspelling in meta description tags.  Don’t make your schedule so busy that you cut out time to give your campaign a thorough once over. This will keep you from mistakes that will hurt your client’s forward progression, and will keep you sharp when you check in about that progress with your client.
  2. Avoid black-hat temptations – How I wish this one was more obvious, but more often than not if you are reading about an SEO in the news, it isn’t a commendation. Usually you’ll read about a black hat seo dragging their client’s names through the mud because of their shady link schemes or negative press manipulation. There are countless well written and informative blogs and articles out there from the white knights of SEO. There is also the Google Webmaster Guidelines. Take the high road whenever you can. Like anything in life, it takes longer but is more rewarding. And if that isn’t persuasive enough, it’s really bad when you get caught.
  3. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket – When I was brand new to the SEO game, I helped clients rank from oblivion to the top 3-4 pages all from great link building strategies. I sought out great links, put the time in, and was very pleased with the results. However, when their number plateaued at the top of the third page, I became frustrated. My frustration turned to determination, and I researched other methods. While links used to be the biggest game in town, there are so many other tactics to implement into a successful strategy. Offer to run a blog for your client to generate great new content. Get them guest blogging opportunities. Make sure your client is up to speed with all local aspects. The point is, in order for your client to get to the toppermost of the poppermost, you’ll need to have a diverse strategy, and be prepared to put in more time for less instant gratification as your client starts ranking better and better.
  4. Be Patient –Maybe this should have been the first point. It can take months to show for all of the hours you put in for your clients. If you are following the guidelines, staying on top of the trends, and implementing what you learn into your ongoing strategy, you will start to see results. There is always something more that can be done to benefit your strategy. So if your current tactics aren’t yielding the results you want, do more. But going back to my first point, keep track of what you do and when you do it, so you understand which of your strategies work best. It is an extra step in the short run to be organized, but it removes some of the research and guessing for your future clients.
  5. Don’t Burn Your Bridges – This goes for your clients and others in the industry. People talk, and people are more passionate to talk about people that ticked them off or wronged them. This is especially poignant now that social media is so huge, and people can wreck your reputation in 140 characters. The customer may not always be right, so help them understand. You are the expert, after all. And there will be a time (or several times) that your customer calls screaming for something that has nothing to do with your campaign. Let them get it out, and then explain the situation. You will go a lot further being a person your clients like dealing with, who also happens to be an SEO whiz.
Matt Brown

Matt Brown is the founder of Evolving Interactive, a Chicago SEO firm. Keep up with Matt at his SEO Blog for more search marketing advice.

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2 Responses to “5 Important Ways to Not Fail at SEO”

  1. Sujan Patel says:

    Patience is the hardest SEO concept to get across to your clients and I kind of laughed when you said misspelling anchor text – I see it all the time. Maybe in the next post you can elaborate more on "burning bridges."

    • Matt Brown says:

      Sujan
      Good point. Burning bridges is a little vague. The foundation of this means to develop your relationships in a positive way as best you can. When working with a client, take the time to help them understand what you're doing, even if they don't have the patience to slow down and understand. There will always be hot-headed clients, and that makes sense, because they are in many instances spending a fair amount with you. While it may not always seem worth the money, it's important to be a professional and help your clients the best you can. Considering how public our industry is; forums, social media, blog posts, bad press can spread like wildfire. People tend to talk much more when they are dis-satisfied with a product or service. So the goal for your company should be to be seen as a professional expert, even when a campaign doesn't go as planned. This way, you're covered, and in a best case scenario, referred.