The Frustrations of SEO, And How To Deal With Them

Home / Analytics / The Frustrations of SEO, And How To Deal With Them

SEO can be frustrating, for more than one reason, but that doesn’t mean you need to live with it. These are the 5 aspects of SEO that are not all sunshine and rainbows, but can be when approached the right way.

1. It takes time, sometimes a long time to get results. It also takes money. Waiting for SEO results can be painful and frustrating, like waiting for a bus you don’t even know will arrive. Even worse, no one (honest) can guarantee the results you’re eagerly waiting for.

What you can do about it?

Patience. In the long run, SEO will pay off. In a recent survey, marketers ranked SEO as providing the highest ROI compared to 7 other forms of online marketing.

No patience? Target the low hanging fruit. Check your analytics for which search terms are currently driving the most organic traffic to your site, then target those terms so that they drive even more traffic (improve content, draw links). You’ll be amazed by how fast you can increase traffic with just a few content tweaks.

2. Overload of information. The beauty and the curse of the Internet is that everyone has an opinion and is going to share it. This is all too true for SEO, where everyone and their dog is an expert and is convinced they know the secret to ranking #1 for that competitive keyword. Who can you trust? Who should you follow?

What you can do about it?

If you are relying on forum and blog advice as your only source of SEO guidance you are doing something wrong. Remember that people won’t share their REAL secrets publicly because they will then no longer be secrets. Do your own research. Experiment. This will prove much more valuable that following 657 blogs and forums.

That said, stay up to date by keeping your tabs on the leading SEO blogs (Search Engine Land, SEOmoz, SEObook are the biggies). Then find those blogs particularly useful to what you’re doing (I like SEO by the Sea, SEO Theory, Ross Hudgens, State of Search and Mike Blumenthal). Depending on how much time you have, 5-20 blogs should be a good number to follow.

3. Tools to track X are crap. Rank checkers? Backlink counters? While great in theory these tools are far from perfect. Open Site Explorer will tell you how many links they know about, not how many links Google knows about, and no tool can accurately tell you how the backlinks are valued by search engines. Rankings are painful to track as well, and with search personalisation there are no absolute rankings anyway.

What you can do about it?

Track what matters, and what you can track accurately. See my previous post about the best SEO metrics to track. (Hint: links and rankings not included).

4. Building links is hard. Very hard. Probably the most difficult and time consuming activity in SEO. Getting someone else to link to you your site is like getting a stranger to hang a picture you drew in their bedroom. Why would they?

What you can do about it?

Would Picasso or Da Vinci find it hard getting their drawings up anywhere? Create world-class content that people will love and want to link to. If you do this you won’t need to “build links” at all.

5. Competitors are spamming but not getting penalised. You’re a hardworking, honest web marketer and you want to do the “right” thing (white hat SEO). But your competitors are using spam tactics (black hat SEO) giving them the advantage. Like running a race in which your competitors on steroids, it’s frustrating, and you may not win.

What you can do about it?

Eventually, whether it’s tomorrow or 2 years from now, spam will be caught by the search engines, and they will knock that site out of their results. Just recently Google took action against sites getting dodgy links. Black hat is a short lived SEO strategy. It works well while it works, but it will fail eventually. Ultimately the best content wins, not the best spam. Remember this, and sleep well knowing your site will still be performing well when you wake up, a luxury spammers do not have.

SEO has its challenges and frustrations, but deal with them properly and you’ll forget these challenges exist. Let SEO frustrate your competitors, not you.


  • scot ennis

    Seriously good blog post Dan. Well done