Answer to the question Do SEO-projects fail is quite simple: yes, sometimes. But why, that is another question.
I read recently an article by Michael Martinez in SEO Theory and Analyses Blog where he was analyzing the question Why SEO Projects Fail. There is no real correct answer, but some reasons can be identified, and I will talk about those reasons in this article.
The SEO plan needs to be followed properly, other why it will fail. After a first sign of trouble you need to back up and investigate what went wrong. If you are e.g. handling a complex SEO plan, you should probably review your procedures and include metrics for success for each step. Otherwise you will be going towards failure.
Don’t focus on your rankings, focus rather on your analytics. If you are told to build more links, you should have a criteria to measure the links and have some kind of metric that tracks the quality of the links. If you are told to change all meta descriptions and titles, you should know what is the payoff you are looking for.
An SEO cannot promise any specific rankings or traffic, but you should be looking for to improve search referrals for specific keywords.
If the client demands the moon it doesn’t mean that you should be able to deliver it. So if an SEO plan you have created fails because the goal is unrealistic, it is your failure, not clients.
The fact is that many clients have unreasonable expectations, but you need to present the client what goals are achievable and what what are the right tools measuring success.
Set realistic goals for the kinds of resources that will be put into the website. Walk away from a client that ignores the risks, and be sure that the contract includes all the risks, obligations, and liabilities.
What does “risk” mean for an SEO specialist? Let’s look at this by link building point-of-view.
The risk is not only a question about how likely it is to get penalized but also question about what is the likelihood of a resource to get penalized, ignored by search engines, or to vanish.
The risk of search engine optimization can be defined as the potential negative value associated with any given practice. The bigger the potential for negative value, the bigger the risk, because negative value is essentially that which hurts your site either by wasting your time or money, getting you penalized, providing only short-term results, or requiring lots of maintenance and support.
The more time and effort you are putting into your link building, the more money and resources you need to devote to your link building. This means that your search engine optimization becomes less efficient and riskier. If you can use more self-sustaining resources, the less risk and the more efficient your efforts become. But these “self-sustaining resources” don’t mean autopilot blogs fed by RSS feeds!
Another example of unreliable resources include writers and tools producing content for you. Spam works, but not long enough period of time to be worthwhile.
Question everything you read. There are loads of crap advice that popular SEO blogs can give you, but it actually just generates immediate value for the crap advice giver. Not always though.
Those really good SEO people usually write about basic and fundamental stuff quite a lot.
Some of these really smart people can give you good advice, but it’s not just working for you. That can be due to a fact that you are using the wrong advice for your specific need. You cannot use the same idea for every project, and the smart people are sharing ideas that should be used sensibly.
SEO projects can also fail because…
The times are changing. The search engine is changing and new algorithms are coming. People are changing.
Even the good SEO projects have time limits, or may just be running up against unforeseen circumstances. It doesn’t mean that every SEO project violates a search engine’s guidelines, attempts to achieve too much, relies on low quality resources, or glibly tries to replicate someone’s success without considering all the variables.
Unfortunately, you cannot guarantee success. But you can guarantee the quality of your work, and you can learn from the mistakes and success of other people as you go along.