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I’ve worked in various digital marketing roles across multiple projects, creating content and general SEO work for well over 10 years. This article highlights a few of the SEO facepalm moments I’ve had over the last decade!
I’ve had some pretty strange requests over the years. Generally, someone will have heard a tidbit of advice without any context and ask their marketing person or team to implement it based on what they’ve heard.
For example, “blogging is good for SEO” could be interpreted as “put any old rubbish on our blog because Google likes that”, or “use hashtags on Twitter to engage with your customers” being misinterpreted to mean “Stick whatever is trending to the end of all your tweets so more people see it.”
It’s as if their intentions are in the right place, but the dictation of approach is completely wrong, and still expecting positive outcomes despite the dubious process.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like that and implementing these requests could actually damage your online presence, or, at the very least, not have the intended result.
6 Digital Marketing & SEO Facepalm moments
This article was written to be tongue-in-cheek, so please don’t take this to heart if you’ve asked your marketing team or SEO consultant to do any of these things. There’s a reason why digital marketing and SEO professionals exist, we’re here to help you develop effective digital strategies and not fall into these traps.
If your marketing team are challenging your suggestions, you should listen to them and take their feedback seriously.
Freelancers and small business owners in particular will have access to a lot of data, analytics and practical experience in doing SEO and digital marketing across many different industries.
Yet, sometimes there’s still that one request, based on a tiny nugget of information, that we have to deal with as marketers.
Here are a few of my favourites…
1. “We’ve written a new blog, it’s a 250 word update from the Chief Executive about the latest Annual Report”
I’m sorry, but no one cares about the Chief Executive’s blog about the Annual Report. What readers do care about is expert commentary on things that affect them, useful and valuable information that can help improve their life in some way, and relatable memes.
Yes, people care about memes more than they care about a boring blog post.
Then you glance down at the 250-word shambles of a “blog post” and it’s a single block of text that’s actually only about 5 or 6 sentences full of jargon.
It’s a Word Document. The author had the foresight to include a thumbnail square picture, aligned to the right with the text neatly wrapped around it. The picture has an ‘iStock Photo’ watermark running through it and it’s been badly cropped.
It appears that the author’s target audience is… the author.
Please don’t approach your personal or business blog like this! Blog posts should:
- Be written to serve the customer/reader with something that adds value to their lives.
- Probably be longer than 250 words. Long blog posts are fine, this article that you’re reading now is over 1000 words.
- Have text broken up into short paragraphs, 2 or 3 sentences in each paragraph. Most people are reading on their mobile phone, there needs to be gaps and plenty of space between paragraphs and images so it’s easy for people to read.
- Have plenty of sub-headings.
- Use lots of full-width images and put them on their own row without text wrapped around them (it’s much better on mobiles like this – make sure your images are cropped/resized to avoid slow page load times).
- Link to other relevant pages throughout the website.
- Have some sort of call to action for the reader.
2. “We want thousands of people to see this, could you tweet it?”
A tweet… you mean, a whole tweet?!
A single tweet on an important topic that you want thousands of people to see is not going to cut it.
All content needs a strategy, you need to think it through! Simply putting something on Twitter does guarantee it will be seen by thousands of people. It has the potential to be seen by millions of people, but that’s certainly not guaranteed.
Even if your tweet is clever, funny, interesting and useful, it still might not have the impact you hope for. It could be that it was at the wrong time of day and your most loyal followers weren’t online or scrolling at that time and didn’t see it. Or, the Twittersphere has blown up over something else and it’s simply gotten lost amongst everything else.
That’s why you need a long-term strategy to get maximum reach and engagement for all your content, tweeting blindly into the ether is unlikely to get you anywhere.
3. “Make this go viral”
The content you’re hoping will “go viral” on a whim is probably self-serving or low-medium quality. I used to hear this a lot in the ~2014-15 era from company executives who thought their latest press release was worthy of virality because they’d put emojis in it.
Making something “go viral” is not an exact science, a lot of viral trends over the last 5-10 years have been genuinely organic. Companies who are obviously trying to create viral content often have less of an impact.
The best thing to do is to not measure your success by virality, aim to be relatable for your audience. Being relatable is what makes content shareable.
Sharing is what makes content go viral.
4. “Can I just pick your brains?”
No, first of all, my brain is inside my skull. Second of all, it looks like you’re looking for some free advice? Well, if you’re my client, I’ll happily provide it and go above and beyond to help solve your problem. If you’re a good friend or co-working colleague, I could give you a tip or two if you have a specific question. Otherwise, I’m a digital consultant and advice/coaching is what I do for a living.
In my case, I have this website and blog which is full of free information. I don’t charge my friends to answer a couple of questions, obviously. However, if you want to make use of many years’ worth of practical digital experience, then that comes with a very reasonable price tag.
5. “Here’s a blog post about vegan cake recipes. Make it rank for Wedding Florist in Wales”
Ok, so you’ve heard that it’s important to put keywords in your blog posts. But you shouldn’t be stuffing random keywords into an unrelated blog post with a totally different purpose.
This is the equivalent of using whatever is in the top 10 list of trending hashtags on Twitter on a tweet about something entirely different.
The keyword for a blog post is usually the topic of the blog post, or the question it aims to help your audience with. You don’t need to insert your business category into every single blog post (that’s what your site-wide footer/sidebar is for, not to mention your home page, service pages, quote forms, landing pages, etc…)
6. “Someone did SEO on my website last year so I don’t need it again”
That’s cool, but SEO is not a one-time exercise that you set up and forget about. It needs constant monitoring, tracking, tweaking and improvements.
Sure, there are often improvements that can be done “on the spot” such as site speed improvements, fixing broken links and adding or improving on-page content. However, that in itself is not “doing SEO”.
What’s more, no matter what improvements get made to your site, if the content isn’t very good, then everything else is superficial and akin to plastering over cracks in crumbling walls.
So, those are just a few of my favourite digital marketing and SEO Facepalm moments!
Remember, if you’re not a marketing professional, listen to the suggestions and explanations from your marketing advisors. Please don’t be disheartened if you’re guilty of anything I’ve mentioned here. Everything is a learning curve and we’re all learning new things every single day.
The biggest takeaways from this are:
- Don’t just implement any nugget of advice on a whim.
- Always do your research.
- Consult with trustworthy, credible professionals.
- Have a proper strategy in place.
All gifs are from Tenor.com