This may seem strange coming from an SEO guy, but there are many situations where organic search may not be the best option for a given marketing challenge.
This is the first and most common issue we see. The business wants to rank for a given term within a fixed time period for a set budget. Ultimately, you have to survey the landscape; and whether you are a local business or a national business, you must be realistic about what your spend needs to be to effectively move you to where you want to be.
Estimating the cost of SEO projects is often difficult in itself. There are a lot of variables, but, in most cases, by using tools like Majestic and Ahrefs you can get a handle on what the competition looks like and what a ballpark approach to moving forward will look like.
The timeframe issue usually crops up along with budget, and there is commonly a desire to be top three within a given time period. Again, you can’t simply dictate how long this will take.
For one, SEO can be and usually is a moving target. Furthermore, if you are on page three and want to rank in the top three listings on page one, then we have to do some work and get a handle on how quickly you can move forward. Typically, as we get closer and closer to the top of the first page, then the improvements can slow down and results can jump around a little.
3. Ad competition
Whilst there is much fuss and bluster regarding Penguin and Panda and other components of the algorithm that aggressively target low-quality content or attempts to manipulate the results, the real war on spam is fought by the page layout team.
Competition in the ad space is fierce as well. Advertisers have a close eye on what keywords are driving results and can sculpt perfect landing pages and ad creative to ensure the organic listings around commercial terms are seeing fewer and fewer clicks.
4. The wrong keywords
We see this often, and it is usually the case that some keywords are unlikely to deliver the goods while others don’t work because there’s no strategy in place to turn those clicks into customers. The best example here would be where informational keyword searches are targeted but the user is dropped onto a specific commercial page.
Often it is not clear how a given set of terms will perform, and as such, we like to conduct some basic testing using PPC to better determine the value of those keywords. Buying 1000 clicks and demonstrating results with some simple sums to determine metrics can help you dodge an SEO bullet.
5. New businesses
Organic search can take time and effort, so if you are setting up in an existing and highly competitive industry and absolutely require fast results, then SEO may not be right for you. Even in the local business space, we can see campaigns take six months or longer to really deliver the goods.
If speed is important to you, you may want to focus on a marketing tactic that can deliver the goods quickly. Then, look at slowly building up your organic traffic in the background whilst carefully measuring the results from your organic campaign.