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Why is SEO So Hard? – Here’s Why with Mark & Eric

In this episode of Here’s Why, Mark & Eric tackle the biggest obstacles of successfully implementing a sound SEO plan for your company’s overall marketing strategy. Your CTO will probably have different goals from your CFO, while you and your CMO might have different opinions on the best way to move forward. Knowing how to address all of the varying concerns from the C-Level is what we’re here to help you with.

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Full Transcript:

Eric: Hey Mark, I’ve been doing SEO since 2002 and it’s still hard.
Mark: You know Eric, today in this episode of Here’s Why with Mark and Eric, I’m going to ask you to share with our audience some of the hardest parts of doing SEO.
Eric: Cool.
Mark: Okay Eric, what’s one thing that you would mention as something that is really challenging to people trying to do SEO, but something that most people wouldn’t think as being so challenging.
Eric: Well there are some things that are obvious to those of us who are in the business, but if you’re not, finding the right sources of information is really hard. I like to start people with some of the more obvious things to get them going.
Such as Google Webmaster’s Tool, The Moz Blog, Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Friday is awesome, Search Engine Land, Bill Slawski’s SEO by the Sea, The Digital Marketing Excellence Blog that you and I both do is a good source of information.
Of course after a while you’re going to want to expand beyond that. When you’re ready to do that then you need to ask people you really trust for what other sources of information you can look at.
Mark: Great. So just learn a few skills and then you’re good to go?
Eric: I wish it was that simple. Unfortunately, it really isn’t. In fact, it’s actually quite easy to learn individual pieces and facts of SEO, the problem is there are 100s or 1000s of things you need to learn to have a comprehensive SEO background. And each individual piece is pretty easy, but learning how to integrate that into a bigger, broader SEO plan is a big deal.
So, not only do you have to learn all this information, then you have to review someone’s website and decide how to prioritize what needs to happen first, what will have the biggest impact, what’s worth doing because some things won’t be worth doing. Then when you’re done with all of that, over time the landscape keeps changing so you have to keep learning new things and integrating that into your overall knowledge base. So, the big deal here is learning how to integrate it all.
Mark: Okay, we’ve got the information, we’ve integrated it. Now what?
Eric: Unfortunately, there’s a long way to go from that point. You run into my 3 favorite corporate things: Resistance, Politics, and Ignorance. Okay, those aren’t really my 3 favorite things. But, unfortunately when you’re trying to get organizations to move forward with an SEO program, that happens. It happens in different ways, for different people, in different departments.
For example, your chief marketing officer will get stuck on a different point than you CTO and your CEO might have another issue and your VP of Marketing might be stuck on something else. The big thing you have to learn to do here is to figure out where they’re stuck and in their language understand how to address their concerns. So the CFO is going to be concerned about financial issues or something like that.
I think the most important thing is to reduce it to 5 slides in 5 minutes, as I like to say. I’m being fairly arbitrary because that’s an article I wrote for Search Engine Watch a while back, but it’s a good concept. If it takes you longer than 5 minutes to explain to someone why your SEO project is important, you’ll end up failing. That’s the big thing, learn how to get it in their lingo and learn how to explain it fast.
Mark: Check out Eric’s article in the links below to find out more about that. Can’t I just copy what I see is working for others, like my competitors?
Eric: I wish you could. Unfortunately, you can’t assume that what works for others will work for you. You could literally copy someone else’s campaign and for reasons that are hard to understand, Google will still not like it.
I’m not talking about duplicating the content, just copying the structural SEO concepts, still might not work for you. The Google algorithm is so complex, there are layers of things that you don’t understand that are going on that caused that other person to rank. It may be because they did it first and then you copy the same concept and it doesn’t work for you.
You have to go beyond that and focus on SEO best practices. If you just copy someone else’s strategy, not only could it not work for you, but it could actually get you in trouble with Google’s algorithm.
Mark:: Google might catch up with you or catch up with them first, but you don’t want to take that chance.
Eric: Not a bet you want to make.
Mark: You’ve given us a lot to think about today Eric. The resources that we’ve mentioned, blog posts and other things, are in the description below so make sure to check those out. And join us next time for another episode of Here’s Why.

Thoughts on “Why is SEO So Hard? – Here’s Why with Mark & Eric”

  1. Eric and Mark: Enjoyed the article though as we all know this could have been directed a lot deeper for those of us who have been around a day or two or decades…
    SEO yester-year has evolved and continues to evolve so fast these days that what we learned – JUPerficient DigitalYESTERDAY is already out of date.
    Ofcourse we know there is some fundamental basics, and general webmaster guidelines for the current marketing search engines. The days of writing numerous lines of meta micro-data and keyword stuffing are well behinde us.

  2. Mark,
    I find Search Engine Optimisation is useless if the reader landing on the page doesn’t get what he or she needs. My list of where SEO leaves-off, and content must take over:
    * Put contact info up-front, and at the top AND bottom of the page
    * Within the title and first 2 sentences – what is the product / service?, who needs it?, and why does that person need it?
    * People! Include bios, and testimonials. A website should be “a window on Main Street” that prospective customers can see who is selling, and who is buying
    * Prices – be clear about how much the item or service costs. Where a cost must be estimated, or a project proposal developed – give examples of the ideal who uses it, how long the median engagement takes
    * Where are you? Even if the website is online only, or international, buyers’ validate the authenticity (trustability) of a business by the location of your headquarters **
    * What’s the catch? Put terms and conditions, or typical “boundaries of business” on the page — nothing worse than a client who expects you to provide 30 days credit (terms) on invoiced work, when you expect a deposit and net 14
    ** I am a freelancer. I use my Post Office boxes as an identifier of where I am based out of. And, I mention my the cities I am working out of in my bio, and in my T&C.
    Can search engines utilise type of detail? I think people drive search engines. Let me know what you think.

  3. Hi Shauna,
    Very refreshing to here your simple points, and I agree with them. I have most of your suggestions already on my landing page.
    Problem it seems to me is that in my sector (printing) there is enormous competition and most of my pages are not ranking on google or other major search engines.
    So i find myself invoived in the minefield of SEO. Most blogs, forums and seo services advertisers all seem to say the same thing, url in the title, good description of the services/products, meta tags, alt tags, relevant content backlinks, social media, etc….all these things i’ve done without much success with rankings.
    And of course, if you go for the paid service, theres plenty of “fakes” out there and even if there ok you dont see results for quite some time.
    I know seo basics quite well,

  4. Hi Shauna,
    We wouldn’t disagree at all with your tips here. It’s just that they are outside of SEO proper, and have more to do with content quality and conversion optimization. Our video certainly wasn’t meant to suggest at all that SEO is all anyone needs to do to succeed!
    As for your last question, location information can be useful to search engines, certainly. To make it most useful, implement schema markup on those elements.

  5. Thanks Dr. Robert. We were completely aware that this video is at the “101” level, and that was intentional. Our whole Here’s Why series is aimed at the audience who wonders about questions that seem elementary to you or me. They need help too.
    If you browse our blog you’ll see that we have content here that is at a more expert level as well. We are trying to help people at all levels!

  6. Hi Martin,
    I’m sure many share your frustrations. While the tips in our video and others you’ve found can make SEO easier to implement, they don’t guarantee automatic rankings, especially in competitive environments. If ranking were that easy, everyone would rank! And of course, that’s not possible.
    The best advice I can offer in brief is to find ways to differentiate yourself from the competition in your content and how you share it. It’s hard to get ranked for the shorter head terms in your market, so try to find niches that people are interested in but where the keyword competition isn’t as fierce. Sure, there is less search volume in those, but your chances of ranking and getting some well-targeted traffic increase dramatically.
    Also, make sure your content is thorough and semantically rich. Google is getting better and better at matching “odd” queries with content where Google is able to get a richer and more detailed idea of what it’s about.

  7. Mark I have known you and Eric for quite some time… I can and do appreciate what you guys are doing. We also get asked about SEO alot, as well as, Internet Marketing.
    Thank you for your reply and look forward to exploring the blog(s) further. Keep up the great work fellas and hope to be an onging follower and contributor.

  8. Nice interview Mark. Eric said it all! SEO is the most complex aspect of the online world today, and that’s exactly why SEO services should be left to the experts, whether it is a SEO agency that lives and breathes SEO, or an in-house team.

  9. Hi Mark and Eric, thank you for sharing this video about the challenges to deal with SEO. I enjoyed your input and can see your points. In my experience, SEO is hard for entrepreneurs because it’s like speaking another “language”. Much more than social media or online marketing where people understand that they need to build connections and get engaged. Especially if somebody is very creative, they feel following an SEO strategy limits them in their creativity. I think using the “human SEO” where you make sure the search engines and the human browsers “understand” what your content is all about and gain value from it would be the perfect way to go. And take away the feeling that SEO is “hard”.

  10. I think SEO is all about common sense these days. If you are making website with proper structure and high quality website content then you deserve to get better positions in SERP.

  11. Hi Eric,
    The links you mention within your article greatly help me and others to get updated about the latest news in relation to digital marketing SEO, Social Media marketing and others. Thank you for sharing such a great article

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Eric Enge

Eric Enge is part of the Digital Marketing practice at Perficient. He designs studies and produces industry-related research to help prove, debunk, or evolve assumptions about digital marketing practices and their value. Eric is a writer, blogger, researcher, teacher, and keynote speaker and panelist at major industry conferences. Partnering with several other experts, Eric served as the lead author of The Art of SEO.

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