How to recognise when an SEO campaign is failing to deliver.


In business whatever your project is, there comes a time when a review is needed to see whether performance and needs are being met. This applies to companies who have an SEO strategy aswell. The difficulty with assessing SEO effectiveness is the fact that SEO is a long term project which doesn’t deliver ‘overnight’ fixes. Further, results are often statistic and mathematical based which can often be difficult to interpret or subject to fluctuations and anomalies.

Generally once your SEO campaign has been running for a 2-3 months, you should start to see that things are improving and heading in the right direction. Note that dependent on sector and competitiveness of the market you are trying to penetrate that this could take 12 months+ to achieve solid results.

Anyway, this guide will help you spot a non-performing SEO campaign.

Keyword data.

Your keyword rankings are one of the simplest ways to assess the strength of the SEO campaign. Some argue that less weight should be placed on this these days since google ranks based on the ‘intent’ of the searcher. However ranking positions still have a prominent place in any SEO campaign because month to month trends and general improvements across the whole keyphrase list are are easy to follow and monitor. If keywords are constantly falling, then this indicates a problem. A good idea is to have a list of ‘priority’ terms (ones which you determine to be crucial for your business.)  If these terms slide aswell, then questions need to be asked! However if your site is in a penalty then this could be accounted for.

Look at organic traffic. 

Organic traffic is the driver of an SEO campaign. It is what being found through a search engine is all about; extra visits by potential customers.  By having a web traffic account, such as Google’s analytics and setting this up to track conversions (sales, enquiries etc), it allows you to follow where your traffic has come from and which mediums have delivered results.

When you conduct a weekly or monthly check to see what your organic traffic numbers are, if they are falling sharply or continuously then this highlights an issue. Bear in mind though that falls can be normal at times, i.e. seasonal.

No overall growth.

If your business seems to be flat and not moving anywhere and your main marketing campaign is SEO, some answers are needed. Google analytics also allows tracking of goals / conversions and e-commerce data if this is set up. By setting specific goals or conversions you will be able to keep track of certain things (e.g. how many add to baskets, basket drop out rate, how many complete transactions etc.) This will allow you to see whether your business is actually moving forward or if you have website issues as well. Equally with e-commerce data, you can track if your business is progressing in real monetary terms.These are all good parameters and measureables to keep in mind.

Of course these are not the only reasons why an SEO campaign may be faltering. For example if the site is not engaging and friendly and built with the user in mind then all the traffic in the world won’t help if the site is poor and doesn’t speak to your customers in a way they want to be spoken to.

Ultimately remember not to make any knee jerk reactions if you are starting to question your current SEO operation. Changes can take several months to be seen and take effect and many times patience is key and generally the best approach.




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