The 3 Causes of SEO Project Failure and How to Reverse It

seo consultant,

I recently presented a webinar on why SEO efforts frequently fail and how to get them back on track. Many of those thoughts are shared here, and I welcome you to watch the on-demand webinar to hear the entire conversation.

A company’s relationship with its SEO consultant is a delicate balance of give and take.

To achieve the best outcomes from an SEO strategy, the SEO advice must be precise and relevant. However, the team in charge of the website must then take that advice and put it into action.

This is a collaborative process in which the SEO expert solves difficulties and advises the client/staff, who then learn and apply the advice.

It appears to be very basic, however this is not always the case.

You have undoubtedly encountered this in your business. A project might have a lot of vitality at the start. However, as time passes, growth can be slowed and momentum can be lost for a variety of reasons.

The good news is that we’ve discovered that the most frequent hurdles influencing SEO efforts can undoubtedly be overcome – provided you know how to identify and overcome them. Many possible failure spots can be addressed prior to the commencement of the project.

In this post, I’ll describe the three most prevalent obstacles that jeopardize the effectiveness of an SEO effort, as well as how to overcome them:

1. Irrational Expectations

Unrealistic expectations are a major cause of SEO project failure. Let’s discuss some incorrect expectations that produce problems and how to deal with them.

Clients anticipate that SEO will be “once and done.”

We all know that SEO is a never-ending process. However, your customer, organization, or employer may not realize this. Even if they are aware that it is a long-term endeavor, they may believe that each specific change should be done once and for all.

In reality, everything that affects SEO is always changing, including search engine rules and algorithms, rival websites, searcher behavior, your own website, and even technology. As a result, optimization cannot be done once and for all.

C-Suite Yesterday, massive crowds were expected.

Executives in charge of budgets and implementation resources frequently anticipate huge figures followed by continuous rises.

To ensure the success of an SEO effort, the customer or firm must understand that they will not see significant figures in a month or two since SEO takes time to deliver results. However, growth will most likely not look like doubling traffic every year for the next five years.

Team Members Question the Importance of Individual Changes

Clients frequently try to cut and dice our SEO advice. For example, “How much traffic would we get if we only executed these five activities out of this list of 40?”

That is not how SEO works. Minor adjustments accumulate and have a synergistic impact. It is frequently impossible to distinguish suggested adjustments and predict the outcomes of executing some vs all of them.

That’s like attempting to make a race car but only having a powerful engine but no wheels.

Clients, for example, frequently underestimate the importance of changing meta tags – a page-by-page activity that might appear time-consuming and insignificant. It is time intensive, but not insignificant.

Those that recognise the worth have often found great outcomes from improving titles and meta descriptions in the past. We have never seen it cause harm and have virtually always seen significant benefit. It is especially beneficial if the implementation team understands how advanced SEO works.

The Effects of Unrealistic Expectations

Misaligned expectations lead to scope creep and customer dissatisfaction when an SEO consultant works with a client. Disrespect for the SEO team, as well as disdain for the client’s request for further services, might arise.

Some clients, particularly those who are already informed about SEO, may choose to maintain complete control over their SEO project. This is acceptable given that the organization already has an SEO staff and plan in place. However, problems develop when the in-house staff believes they are better than they are and the consultant is ignored.

In general, our preferred consulting situation entails collaborating closely with the client’s in-house SEO team.

However, opposing efforts or perspectives between the consultant and the client’s SEO staff might result in blunders. A significant amount of time may be lost owing to protracted debate or inactivity. The project may not succeed in the end. Worse, when there are two chefs in the kitchen, neither can get things done.

Finally, both the SEO and the client/company want results.

The problem for the SEO is to develop a list of recommendations that will have the maximum impact while still meeting the expectations of their customer or supervisor.

The customer may have difficulties since they have little authority over the IT installation team or their influence is limited. Client teams will be more open to future proposals if they witness and evangelize achievements inside their business.

The SEO consultant can occasionally assist their customer contact in making development within their firm.

Unrealistic Expectations: Solutions

First and foremost, make SEO a company-wide issue and focus. This will very certainly need staff training to grasp both what SEO is and why it is vital. When more individuals in your business believe in the aims of SEO, they will contribute to its success.

Second, use progress as a key performance indicator (KPI). Implementing an SEO change should be regarded as a KPI to assist make SEO a priority for the website team.

Finally, the best method to minimize misplaced expectations is to discuss each party’s involvement in and suggestions for the SEO effort openly. Do this first, then frequently. Maintain your emphasis on the project’s key performance indicators (KPIs).

Clients should explain their primary pain points and goals while dealing with an SEO professional. They should also celebrate victories.

Meanwhile, consulting companies must devise methods to solve these issues. Keep in mind that an SEO consultant becomes an integral element of the client’s digital marketing team.

Taking unilateral action may cause you to get estranged. Instead, cultivate a close relationship with the rest of the team so that you can all work together to achieve the company’s objectives.

2. Time and financial constraints

Clients want to get the most bang for their dollars. As a result, they frequently do not want to devote staff resources to following recommendations that look tiny or inconsequential. It seems logical to me to prioritize what generates the greatest traffic first.

It is difficult to provide advice to a customer who has a time limitation because, as with the budget constraint, everything must be justified in terms of the resources they are spending on the assignment.

Similarly, no one wants to spend money on something they perceive is pointless. And, let’s face it, any endeavor that takes months to produce significant results necessitates a leap of faith. You simply have to believe that SEO will ultimately pay off.

A microscopic concentration on the ROI of each individual proposed job, on the other hand, might derail an SEO operation. Some company clients overlook the larger picture by examining the cost and return on investment of each specific job that the expert proposes.

For the needle to move in SEO, numerous actions must be completed, and each individual activity is frequently little more than a piece in the jigsaw.

Budget-conscious company owners, for example, may mistakenly believe:

  • For SEO strategy, rewording primary navigation links, altering meta tags, and other detail operations are too time-consuming and unneeded.
  • Their content is fine as is, which is really rare.
  • Their biggest issue is a lack of backlinks to their website.

Because SEO success or failure is the consequence of a series of activities over time, quantifying it may be difficult (although some have tried to measure KPIs for SEO).

Client teams may not comprehend SEO as a long-term game, whereas SEO consultants do. They are frequently concerned with their monthly investment and how it translates into instant outcomes.

Time-Constrained Solutions

Instead of prioritizing recommendations, the IT or web team will sometimes push back. Here are some strategies for dealing with time constraints:

  • Each modification should be assigned a priority level and implemented. The IT department must recognise the significance of making a change. For instance, you may say, “If we don’t make this modification, our rival will continue to take 30% of our website traffic.”
  • Instead of “enhancement requests,” marketing should generate “bug reports.” When you portray an SEO update as addressing something broken, IT and management tend to prioritize it higher.
  • Implementations must be validated. An effort must be made to ensure that what marketing has asked is done appropriately.

Clients can seek discussions, instructions, and deliverables that demonstrate how SEO demonstrates its worth in terms of time commitment.

On the SEO consultancy side, ensure that you’ve stated that SEO takes time — five months or maybe much more — and that patience is essential.

Keep in mind that all changes interact with one another, much like a codependency. Expected outcomes cannot be calculated for a single modification.

Here are a few examples of how to justify value:

  • Make the advice and its explanation as detailed as possible. This offers the client assurance that the work adheres to the finest SEO techniques.
  • Perhaps suggest a proof-of-concept test to demonstrate the validity of the proposals.
  • Use Google, Bing, or other professional resources to back up your recommendations.
  • Have faith in what you’re saying, and the customer will, too.
  • Provide training to demonstrate your competence and to teach a tried-and-true approach.

Budget-Constrained Solutions

Clients on a tight budget nearly always expect recommendations to be justified in terms of ROI. However, keep in mind that SEO is about delivering traffic, which comes before actual money or leads. Data analytics aren’t currently capable of tracking client journeys across the numerous digital marketing contact points available.

By delivering a clear, succinct project plan, SEOs may make clients feel more at ease. Even if the costs and results cannot be exactly linked, the consultant should be able to illustrate the worth of each phase of the SEO plan.

3. Inadequate SEO Knowledge

Most clients are unfamiliar with the art and science of SEO; after all, it is not their only responsibility.

They are aware of an issue with their website and wish to increase their internet presence. They’ve also recruited a professional to address these issues.

A customer, on the other hand, should never be “in the dark” regarding what the consultant is doing on their behalf.

The professional consultant should be willing and able to convey complex issues in simple terms. As a customer, you should feel confident that you can ask questions and receive clear answers that will help you learn more about SEO. To give their advice greater weight, the consultant should be able to quote trustworthy sources such as Google and Bing. Even better if the SEO professional avoids using new industry lingo to describe operations.

Other typical impediments, such as the time and financial limits I mentioned before, may sometimes be traced back to a lack of SEO understanding.

Solutions to the SEO Training Shortage

First, clients should look for a consultant who can deliver the type of Q&A outlined above. Clients should also learn the fundamentals of search engine optimization. This will assist them in asking the proper questions, recognising the worth of the ideas, and preventing the SEO effort from failing.

We provide formal SEO training to our own SEO consultancy clients. At the outset of each assignment, each new customer receives the Bruce Clay SEO Training course. We’ve discovered that delivering training is one of the most effective and efficient methods to educate a customer on how SEO works and why we advocate the things we do.

Because the search sector is so dynamic, I believe SEO practitioners require continuing training. This is why we launched, a website where SEOs can access 15+ hours of up-to-date online training as well as a fully interactive membership platform.

For more information about seo consultant, please visit

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