Why Hasn’t My SEO/PPC Worked?

Today on the blog we’ll look at two giants of digital marketing – SEO and PPC – and some of the main reasons campaigns involving these channels fail, plus how to avoid them failing in future.

SEO in 2016

The SEO landscape is an ever-evolving one, and one of the leaders in this space Moz, conducts a bi-annual survey of what ranking factors they believe to have what prominence in Google search results. The latest version of this survey came out not too long ago and you can see the results here. In summary though links, onsite, user-related, social-related and content-related elements on a broad level make up the main factors used to determine what ranks where…not a lot then!

PPC in 2016

If you’re looking for PPC guides, I can strongly recommend PPC Hero, Wordstream and Inside Adwords as great resources to find the latest information and trends. PPC Hero published a guide on 2016 predictions for Google Adwords and broadly speaking these are as follows: they predict user-experience ads will have more success, ads to people that have shown prior engagement will have more success and they also predict more interactive ad features and more granular targeting in the coming year.

One of the main problems with both PPC and SEO is managing expectations. Oftentimes, what you read about and what you can realistically achieve are two very different things.

Common Errors for SEO

With regard to SEO, rankings of keyphrases still take prominence as the metric of choice that determines success. However “ranking page 1” has a number of flaws, which are listed:

  1. There used to be 10 spaces up for grabs on page 1, now that has reduced to 6 or 7, sometimes less. This is because Google Images ads, Google Adwords ads, YouTube videos, Google Maps, Suggested Searches and more, more, more also get their turn.

  2. It’s extremely competitive out there – and getting more so. This drives SEO prices up considerably if SEO targets are to be achieved.

  3. Google is no longer keyword focused, therefore ranking for a keyword is less likely to bring you the type of visitor you want (ideally one that converts) than it was.

  4. Bigger sites continue to dominate page 1 – and these Amazons, Tescos and eBays are nearly impossible for you or I to reach.

  5. Google changes something in its huge, complex ranking system 500 times a year.

  6. Google Analytics restricts the organic data you see as a result of Google traffic so it’s difficult to determine what searches on what keywords brought you success.

For all the above reasons, if your SEO strategy has failed – putting the emphasis on rankings is likely to be why. Use them as a secondary metric by all means, but using them as the be all and end all is setting you up for failure.

The SEO Solution

Instead, there are other metrics and points of focus you can use to ensure your SEO campaign stands every chance of success.

  1. Use organic traffic, organic entries, email addresses captured, leads generated and conversions as metrics before you even think about looking at rankings.

  2. Track everything you can – Google Analytics for traffic, Unbounce or Optimizely for landing pages and Rankwatch for ranking (as a secondary metric) are all great and reasonably priced tracking solutions that will put you in good stead.

  3. Take the focus away from keywords and onto hot industry topics.

You’ll have a much more rounded campaign with metrics indicative of true success, and not a website ranking number based on Google’s whims.

Common Errors for PPC

When it comes to PPC, at a basic level there are common errors people make. These can include:

  1. Not setting up tracking so there is little idea of conversion rate

  2. Not logging on regularly so again, there is little idea of where and when conversions came from

  3. Being restrictive in the ads, ad groups, keywords, locations and ad extensions used

  4. Not using a professional when needed

The PPC Solution

There’s no getting around it, PPC is hugely technical and trying to “Do It Yourself” often ends up in a lot of wasted budget. For this reason, the below should prime you for PPC success:

  1. Use your audience – don’t advertise cold, importing audiences and remarketing can be a great way to get the most out of this channel by advertising to those that have previously engaged with you in some way.

  2. Track everything you can and get conversion tracking set up so you can attribute conversions and conversion rates successfully.

  3. Check your campaign daily, you may catch something performing and converting for low cost you can take advantage of.

For a specific example of an old vs. a new PPC and SEO strategy designed to generate B2B leads, download our free handbook by clicking the banner below.


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