Out of all the business owners and marketing reps. I’ve worked with, more than half have a serious condition which I call “SEO paralysis.” These people regard SEO as the one and only thing they need to make their business grow. They put so much time and energy here that it actually hurts them. Is SEO important? Yes, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle.
Symptoms of SEO Paralysis include:
1) Spending hours focusing on useless SEO methods.
- Some will spend entire days messing around in their Adwords account, without any goals or plans in place. They’ll even spend ridiculous amounts of time reading up on SEO news, to stay current when in reality they end up like a dog chasing their tail. They allocate all this time into efforts that are simply not effective.
2) Trying to cram as much SEO information in brains as possible (but not really understanding anything)
- Sufferers of SEO Paralysis will try to learn everything they can about SEO. They will throw around terminology such as SERP, CPC, Keyword Density, and so on, but not really grasp what these things represent. After some basic research they consider themselves experts and try tactics they’ve read about, or even teach another (like assistants or secretaries) to manage things like Adwords. Some will go as far as to question an actual SEO/SEM expert about why a certain technique is NOT being applied because their nephew was reviewing the website and said so.
3) Extreme impatience before even seeing results caused by expecting so much from SEO attempts.
- Once victims of SEO Paralysis start implementing techniques on their own, they grow impatient after 5 minutes because sales have not yet increased. They see competitors on the first page of search engines and are locked into the thought that being high up on search will save them. These people believe that getting on page 1 of Google is so important, they forget it’s just one piece of the marketing pie. In desperation, they go against a true professionals request and apply changes in hopes to “improve results” because they obviously know more about it than the hired expert.
NOTE: If you are a marketing or SEO/SEM professional and run into someone with SEO Paralysis, seriously consider walking away because 9 time out of 10, these clients will not change their ways and only cause you serious aggravation.
Focus on What Matters: Keyword Research
Don’t worry, there is help for willing SEO Paralysis victims. In order to head in the right direction, they will need fundamental knowledge before any actual SEO work takes place, and that requires Keyword Research.
Client: I want to optimize my site.
Me: For what?
Client: *stares like a deer in headlights*
No one likes to do their homework, and that’s a huge problem. Companies just go and “optimize” their websites, creating SEO campaigns without taking the necessary time needed to fully investigate what keywords people actually type! (That’s in bold to emphasize the word “people”, meaning NOT YOU!!) It amazes me when people create campaigns based on their assumption of what people type in searches. Wouldn’t actual results be better? Of course, and there are tools that will easily give you those answers.
Start by asking the question “How would I go about searching for a business within my own industry?” and record the answers. Remember you have to verify that what you think is actually what’s being searched. To do this, take your list and go to tools like Google Adwords Keyword Analysis. Plug in as many terms/phrases you can think of and make sure to check off the “exact” search term box only so you don’t get any broad results. This will give you real numbers on average search results for the keywords and terms you test, along with any alternates that Google thinks are similar. This is the BEST information you can obtain and must be the foundation behind ANY Adwords or SEO/SEM campaigns you deploy.
The top 50 or 100 keywords that come up in the exact results will be what you should target for optimization with most searched being your first priority.
I practice what I preach and always start any SEO/Adwords campaigns with exact keywords and phrases and so should you. Methodically go down the Top 100 list and target each keyword in order to deliver quality Adwords results (meaning traffic that actually wants to find your business or service). As always, the goal should be to maximize the budget and make the Cost Per Click (CPC) the least amount possible by only showing up for traffic that counts.
Keyword research is the first step needed for any successful SEO campaign, but just like an engine it has many parts and systems in order to work. Fixing only one thing will not make your engine ready to race, you’ll have to invest in the entire car. This information will help give you the strong foundation you will need for all future digital marketing.