There’s nothing easy about SEO, and doing it the right way makes things exponentially more difficult. Proper SEO is rife with potential problems, from reporting, to link building, to creating quality content, but, as John Lennon said in his song “Watching the Wheels”, “there’s no problems, only solutions.” That said, here are 5 common SEO problems and their solutions:
If you’re implementing SEO, you need to be able to report on how things are going, so your company or client knows that their investment is worthwhile. Google Analytics or other analytics tracking software can, and should, be an aspect of your reporting process, and ongoing updates regarding traffic should be provided, but software outside of Google Analytics is an absolute must for anyone conducting a professional campaign. Although these tools can be expensive, they offer valuable information that would otherwise be difficult to come by, tracking keyword rankings, site errors, links, and even social signals. For this, I recommend Moz Analytics, which will integrate Google Analytics data, thereby making additional Google Analytics reporting unnecessary, and include all the aforementioned features. Although it costs upwards of $200 a month, you can create custom weekly or monthly reports that your client or boss will greatly value.
2. Link Building
Link building may be an art, but there’s still science behind it. That science comes in the form of programs that will help track links and identify new ones. Possibly the best program for tracking links throughout the outreach process is Buzzstream. This program allows you to keep a record of a potential link partner’s overall value, when you contacted them, whom you contacted, and their contact information. If you have multiple link builders, they can all track links into a single account, avoiding overlap even if they’re not in the office at the same time. In addition to this, Buzzstream has a prospecting tool that automatically identifies new links for you, but this is not nearly as valuable as the tracking feature. Ahrefs.com is useful when it comes to evaluating competitor links, and knowing your advanced search operators can significantly improve your ability to identify new link opportunities.
3. Project Management
Any business with multiple employees will run into this issue. Once you have a lot of people working on a lot of different things, how do you keep track and properly manage everything? The answer: software such as Basecamp. This program can be a lifesaver and allows agency managers to delegate tasks to their team members, who will be notified of new tasks and have an ongoing list of To-do items. So long as your team stays on top of their To-dos, things will run smoothly. Basecamp costs as little as $30 a month, and the time and hassle it saves you will pay off twenty fold.
4. Creating Quality Content
It’s one thing to create content; it’s another to create quality content. Unfortunately, even great in-house content writers can’t know everything about everything, and it’s practically impossible to create a quality piece of content without some in-depth knowledge of the subject matter. Research is a possibility, but there are two better solutions: 1) Have the client create content for you, enlisting staff members to generate that content or 2) Hire a freelance writer with experience in the field. Sites such as Elance.com are useful for tracking down freelance writers with industry experience, but a word of caution: With freelancers, you more often than not get what you pay for. If you aren’t willing to pay $25 or more per hour for content, it’s unlikely you’ll get quality content out of the deal.
5. Setting Realistic Expectations
This should be problem 1, because it is the foundation of any campaign, but I’m going to save it for last because it is the most important issue you’ll ever encounter. Setting realistic expectations is a huge problem in the internet marketing industry, as many search engine optimization companies who are looking to land clients often make promises they can’t possibly deliver. Questionable firms know very well they won’t be able to deliver on their promises but are more than willing to make them because they a) know they can talk their way into an extension or b) don’t care about an extension because they’ve already gotten the client’s money. In order to properly enter into an internet marketing agreement, you should be transparent and clearly state that you cannot promise first position rankings, but you will provide itemized deliverables each month, and those deliverables are designed to help them increase their online presence. Deliverables should include content, either pages or posts, some link building (which I believe still has value), additional content such as infographics and white papers, and social media monitoring, to name a few. By having deliverables you show that you are in fact doing work, and that goes a long way with clients. While results are the ultimate goal of SEO, and problem 1, Reports, is designed to demonstrate them, entering into a campaign with reasonable client expectations is absolutely essential. Don’t make promises you can’t keep!