Five reasons for SEO failure. Analysis of unsuccessful promotion experience with examples

In this article, I decided to try to structure the experience that has accumulated over almost 15 years of active work with client projects. Something from our company had to endure and reflect on their mistakes, somewhere else it was enough for others to understand.

Today, when clients who have a negative SEO experience from other companies turn to us for promotion, it is quite difficult to surprise us. Unless what bizarre and ridiculous external forms can arise in the relationship between two companies, between which there is no understanding.

Moreover, a client with negative experience is not uncommon and not a special case. Almost every third customer who contacts us can already tell us a lot about search engine optimization, but practically nothing good. And with each of them we begin communication with what the previous performer did not do: we ask about everything, and then we tell what was wrong and how we will work.

I identified five fundamental errors, each of which is interconnected with the others. Together, they create a cascade of problems and create a situation that is no longer possible to fix.

Reason 1. The customer does not understand what SEO is.

The customer does not understand what SEO is almost always. The only exception is if he himself promoted the websites for any lengthy period of time.

Information on the network, and even more so the client manager’s stories, is a biased stream of theses. It’s about “explosive sales growth”, “a queue of investors and partners”, “a quick take-off to Top10” and other achievements “already in 2-3 months”.

Virtually no one talks about the fact that SEO is a strict regime in which the site either lives or does not. This is a continuous analysis of competitors and the fight against them, working with the site, ups and downs, these are experiments that give different results. It is also silent that SEO will not cancel the seasonal decline, will not force to buy more expensive than from competitors, it will not change the capacity of the market.

Example 1. "Put my website in a prominent place"
The customer is confident that Yandex takes money for being in the issue. He paid the previous agency, which stole the money, and nothing came to Yandex. Why did he make such a conclusion? Because in the Top10 site never appeared. The account manager seems to have been so stunned by the amount that he did not bother to talk about how the search works.

Example 2. “We were bounced on half cases”
The customer complains (among other things) that the site has not overtaken the top competitor in Top3 all the time. The fact that some achievements require years of struggle, he was explained so late that he still does not believe.

Yes, it is difficult: to tell a client who asks to take his money, that he misunderstands the process. But this is exactly what a rational performer does, if he does not want in three months to get a tangle of negative, which can not be untangled any more - just cut it.

Reason 2. Wrong goal setting and tool selection.

When we analyze together with the customer his negative experience, analyze what exactly was undertaken to achieve the main goal of promotion, it almost always turns out that the goal was either not formulated at all or did not correspond to the means.

SEO is often sold, "to be." At conferences and thematic seminars we are told that search engine optimization is the norm and must have for any business. Therefore, the client is confident that without SEO there will be no sales. And sometimes the customer simply can not articulate why he wants in the Top10. SEO is perceived as an incomprehensible key that should universally open all doors.

In reality, for a quick start of sales, the online electronics store does not need search engine optimization, but Yandex Market. A large factory that lives on government orders is more relevant to participate in tenders than to advance at the request of "buy rocket engines." The bar for the promotion of the New Year's party should work in social networks, and not try for two months to reach the Top10 for the request of the “New Year Party Moscow”.

Example 1. "The top is, sales were, but ended"
The company is engaged in the installation of refrigeration equipment, equips ice arenas and other complex objects. In the first year of advancement, we received a good order from the search, we were convinced of the effectiveness, and another one and a half years paid for promotion on vital inquiries, in the hope that success would be repeated. Not repeated, disappointed, looking for a new artist. And you just need to look at Wordstat and understand that their customers are not in the search, including by vital queries.

Example 2. “The top doesn’t give way, no sales”.
Delivery of rolls can’t get into Top10 for over a year, pays a lot of money for SEO, collects orders from the second page of results poorly. The main applications come from the targeted "carousel" in VK. Context SEO agency is not offered, do not engage.

No matter how difficult it is to admit, there are customers who do not need SEO. And these clients need to be explained why they need to think about other tools, and what these tools are. The client himself would not hurt to ask about it, demand an argument and at least sometimes think about the goals that are facing the business now.

Yes, it also happens that the goal is the first place in the search. Without additional conditions, just an image chip. But it is important that this really be your goal, you realize it and understand what it gives you.

Reason 3. Wrong KPI

This problem goes hand in hand with the previous one. When the goal is defined, it enters into a standard conflict with the definition of KPI (key performance indicators of an SEO company).

Customers come with the same claim to the previous contractor: “No sales”. We find out the details, and find out that this is not quite so. There are orders, just not in the volume that interests the business and not at all where he expects to see them. We do not discuss cases when the company has 0 orders for the reporting period, this is a 100% failure.

Standard situation: some KPIs are written in the contract, and in words they promise completely different ones. Most often, talking about the positions that will bring traffic, which is converted into leads. The customer from the dialogue makes the thought “There will be leads!” And happily signs the payment for the positions.

It happens and vice versa: the site is not intended for direct trade, advances with the payment of applications. And usually also confirmed. Such contracts are signed under pressure from the customer with a large budget. Sign up at random, but usually end in failure.

Example 1. "Base effect"
The site sells furniture. Order promotion with the payment of applications in the middle of spring. Measurements of the base level of orders are made in the season, after which there is a natural summer recession. Three months of progress with a negative increase in applications, and work is stopped, despite the growth of positions. And the site simply did not have data on seasonal fluctuations in indicators, since the metrics were set right before the start of the promotion.

Example 2. “There is no evidence, but there were definitely no orders.”
Barbershop ordered SMM and SEO from various artists. Orders are coming from social networks, with no search. Pay for work fixed payments monthly without reference to the leads. We find out with what tools the growth in the number of applications is measured, from which initial level, whether seasonality, multichannel sequences and similar nuances are taken into account. It turns out that the customer hears about this for the first time.

Who is to blame? The executing company, of course: the responsibility for calculating the goods sold - in this case, the leads from the search - lies with the seller - in this case, the SEO company.

What to do? There is no universal solution, but it is advisable to use end-to-end analytics systems. Especially if you install KPIs that are difficult to count.

Reason 4. Ignorance of one’s own area of ​​responsibility and inability to demand results.

Customers are divided into two groups. Some torment the performer with a hyperactive interest in the process, constantly call and ask, “How are we doing?” The second ones distance themselves as far as possible from everything related to the ordered service.

It may seem that the second approach has a more correct approach: they do not interfere and do not interfere with work, and quality is assessed by results. In fact, the first are in a better position.

Website promotion in search engines never proceeds according to the ideal scenario (see previous reasons). Therefore, the position “I don’t know anything, I pay you money, decide for yourself and do not distract me” threatens you to find yourself in a situation when the results are deplorable and you are to blame for this.

Agreements usually prescribe mutual responsibility of the parties. Therefore, if you delay the provision of materials, ignore requests, do not consider it necessary to hasten your system administrator with the restoration of the fallen server, then you are wrong not only humanly, but also formally.

Accordingly, it is very important for the contractor to convey this logic to the customer whenever possible. And in this place there is often a huge failure: there is a contract, but not in my head. The customer is completely sure that he does not owe anything to anyone, and the performer is waiting for something to be given to him and is engaged in other projects.

By the way, when the customer fulfills his half of the contract, he has every right to demand the results that were promised to him. And this should be done immediately upon reaching the control period. So you can quickly understand that there are some problems and get the artist to solve them. In no case do not wait for the final deadline, require a report on the intermediate.

Example 1. “War of formulations”
The law firm works in a very specific area, but with tangible competition in search. For six months, the progress did not see significant results. In a detailed analysis, it turned out that the thematic content was being delayed, which they began to write on their own. The content that the artist sent to somehow move on the promotion plan, rejected (a lot of factual errors). As a result, instead of regular publications for half a year, we managed to lay out two short articles for 2000 characters each, and, moreover, they were practically not optimized for the promotion semantics (edits were also banned by the customer).

Example 2. "Technical reasons"
The personal website of the lawyer was made by a web-studio, which keeps all the websites on its own server, and also moderates them through a common CMS of its own design. This studio is not engaged in SEO, so they ordered promotion to another company. Under the contract were to provide quick and easy editing of site content. Any change was made by the developer on request and with long delays. Some of the edits were refused to do at all, citing the safety standards of their CMS. To top it all, the server one day fell and did not rise for several days. It is clear that there were no positions, the monthly fixed payment can be safely recorded at a loss.

Reason 5. Wrong choice of contractor.

Another problem is most relevant for larger projects, but smaller projects are also affected. It consists in the poor understanding of the customer of the real level of complexity of the project.

Indeed, large sites, whose owners set ambitious goals, are very difficult to promote. Simple mathematics works: high-quality website promotion requires a certain amount of work, and in the case of large projects this volume increases exponentially.

Similarly with projects that stand out not by size, but by task. If you need to conquer the issuance of very complex and competitive inquiries, then it will not be limited to financial investments, you will need experts who will constantly conduct your case. We will have to work a lot, and in limited time. Small studios may simply not have free employees at the right level and in the right amount.

The same logic works in the opposite direction: if you decide to order the promotion of a simple website in a large agency, then be prepared that a sufficiently large part of the budget will go to pay for expensive professionals. And this automatically means that the budget allocated for SEO is enough for a shorter period. And it's far from a fact that during this time you will reach sane positions and the costs will start to pay off.

And even if you are really a large company, and your budgets will be enough for the year ahead in the most famous agency, with light or small projects there is no special meaning to go there. Sooner or later, you will realize that you could have ordered the same from a less well-known company, but much cheaper.

Example 1. "Rested in the market"
The company is engaged in tailoring to order on unique author's patterns. The budget for business promotion was initially laid impressive, the product is not for the general consumer, high price segment. Ordered in a large Moscow company at the same time the creation and promotion of the site. Six months later, we had to take a pause - the free funds ran out. A year later, having already studied the market more closely, they realized that the goal was set to be regional, and the performer worked at Moscow rates. Market capacity and local target audience solvency will not allow such a scheme to pay off in principle: even with full coverage of demand, the price level is too low.

Example 2. “We do not have time to cover everything”
A large online electronics store is moving on its own: hired a staff member. Positions appear fragmentary, there is no common and unified growth dynamics. SEO audit revealed a banal lack of “hands”: a regular SEO specialist alone, in principle, is not able to handle such a large amount of constantly changing data. And to recruit an entire department is already inappropriate for economic indicators. Only one way out - to look for an agency that can successfully perform a large amount of work at a reasonable price.

How to be?

When you look at these reasons like this, having understood their essence and turned them into words, they seem simple and obvious. It's a shame that in reality it is very easy to miss the first signs that you are doing something wrong.

I am sure that the people from the examples described did not want the mutually beneficial and benevolent relations between the customer and the performer to grow into mutual claims and penalties. So it all happened because of inattention?

You can easily miss something in the event that you do not expect problems initially. The prescribed and tested interaction scenarios solve the problem, but only partially. It is important to achieve a high level of trust and understanding of the specifics of the process by all private traders. And this can be done only by building the most transparent and understandable scheme of work.

In such a scheme, the contractor is not afraid to report what the customer might have missed, and the customer is concerned about the details, and he is not shy about asking questions (after all, this is because he is going to spend money). For something like this and should strive.

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