Of course it’s disappointing when you launch a highly anticipated SEO campaign only for the results to fall short of your expectations. You simply miss the measures of success and it now feels demoralizing.
However, we all fail, and you can’t be afraid of failing otherwise you’ll never push yourself. They key, and it is cliché time here, is to learn from your failures. So, here’s some practical and simple ways to ensure you can improve your SEO results and that your campaign reaches its potential.
1. Excuses, excuses
No more excuses. Most campaigns fail due to poor execution, rather than poor strategy, and that goes for both SEO and social media campaigns.
It’s the delivery of the ideas which lead to failure. When a SEO campaign fails what’s the cause? Maybe you recognise some of these excuses:
- The developer hasn’t implemented the changes. So you make a series of recommendations, and the developer hasn’t implemented them;
- “My boss delayed signing off the budget or it just got held up with the boss”;
- “The client was too busy to answer my questions.”
They’re not reasons. They’re excuses for why a campaign didn’t work. If you are overseeing an SEO campaign your job isn’t to recommend changes to improve SEO, it is to deliver SEO results. You are paid to make the recommendations that lead to outcomes.
So no more excuses. You have got to be persuasive with your arguments.
2. Commitment and consistency
Demonstrate commitment and consistency. If people commit orally or in writing to an idea or a goal, they’re more likely to honour that commitment. There are studies that back this up.
People value commitment and consistency. So if you can get people to commit, you’re in a much stronger position. That means get people to physically sign off actions. If you have a meeting, get them to say, “Do you agree to these actions?”
Also, the language you use is important. Whether it’s written in an email or whether it’s delivered in a meeting itself. A good approach is to frame things in specific ways.
For example: “So you’re going to do that? Is that correct?” You’re specifically stating that they’re going to do it. Getting them to agree, yes or no, if they are or they aren’t going to take the action.
If they say yes, they’ve made a commitment, and out of consistency they will try and deliver that as well.
3. Social Proof
People will do things when they see other people doing them. It’s the sheep mentality, and us Brits are very good at it. This also has some really practical implications for people who are conducting SEO audits.
For instance, “I think you should implement hreflang,” is a hell of a lot less impactful than “We recommend implementing hreflang because Competitor X has implemented hreflang.”
“This has worked for Competitor X because…,” when making a justification as to why you should go down this route. In an ideal world, you would justify every decision and recommendation with commercial value.
People tend to obey authority figures, even if they’re asked to perform objectionable acts. Hopefully your SEO recommendations aren’t going to be objectionable acts. But the more authority that you can give yourself in the process, the greater the likelihood it is that your changes will be implemented.
Sometimes people are a bit shy when talking about their credentials. However, you want credentials in your proposal, credentials on your email, credentials everywhere. If you’ve got success stories and case studies, use them. These things can add authority to the recommendation. You’re giving yourself authority.
There’s this idea of the HPPO – the highest paid person’s opinion. And there’s a lot of people in the world of analytics, particularly, who say, “Fight the HPPOs”. They’re wrong. The HPPO fighters say, “Just because they’re the highest paid person in the room doesn’t give them the right to make decisions about marketing.”
They want to rely on data. Now, that is true, and I can see the persuasive argument for that. But I want to work in the real world. This is the world in which you have to make recommendations.
So the authority of those people can help you get your recommendations made. Understand that, use that to your benefit. Use the HPPOs, make friends with them. They will help push you through your recommendations.