Is Human Nature The Main Impediment To Good SEO?

In recent days another category of website has been hit by a Google update. This time, the update was Panda 4.0 and the category of website seems to be very large e-commerce sites.

The history of major Google updates has been one of upsets for different groups of website owners. The pattern is almost always the same, only the names change.

Each time a type of site gets hit, there are webmasters and companies that had SEO “figured out” and life was good. Then they lost a huge chunk of traffic and revenues and everything changes. I have been through it myself, learning a lot of business lessons.

The thing is, when SEO is working well, it really can be a money machine. If your site is going great guns and leads are being generated and sales made, human nature kicks in. It always does.

“Why are we paying for all this advertising and marketing when organic search is delivering the goods, almost for free? Let’s switch some of those lesser channels off…” Then it becomes, “Let’s switch all these extra channels off, it’ll make the P&L look much better.”

Gradually the business gets used to this zero cost marketing and sales to the extent that when the algorithm changes and traffic drops, it puts the entire business in jeopardy.

This is not the fault of Google, they are trying to create a better algorithm. It is the fault of management that come to rely on only one source of lead or sales generation. If and when that one source is interrupted, all hell breaks loose. And it happens without warning.

A few months ago I had a prospect call me from the USA. Her business had ranked at number one for her main keywords for years and she didn’t know how or why. But she accepted those leads and built and grew a twenty person company around them.

However, the company website had not been touched since 2005. It was awful. Meanwhile, the competition had been building nicer websites and trying to figure SEO and pay per click out. When her site dropped from number one, it didn’t go to number two or three. No, it dropped to number SEVENTY.

Without realising or understanding, her company was on a knife edge. When we spoke, she needed her rankings and leads back NOW! The company couldn’t survive long without new leads. She had neither the time nor budget to build a new website or to experiment with new lead sources. She asked me, “In these circumstances, what should I do?” I suggested that she might start thinking about making some staff redundant – better to do it now than in three months time. That did not go down well, but I believe it was the reality of the situation.

The real problem, I believe, is human nature. Over time, we come to believe that our website deserves to be number one, that it really is the best and then we become lazy and just presume that things will stay that way.

The web is evolving. Your competition is evolving. The marketplace is not static. Everything is changing all the time. The lazy approach is just asking for trouble and the longer we benefit from the good times, the more we relax and take it all for granted.

Dan Kennedy often says that in business, “one” is the worst number – “You are just asking to get whacked!” – meaning that if you are overly reliant on something and if and when it ends, you will be in trouble. This is certainly true for marketing channels and especially for SEO.

I’ll leave you with an SEOer joke…

What do you call a business owner that generates all their sales by SEO and doesn’t know how search works and has not hired someone that does?

An idiot.

Don’t be that business owner. Presume things will change and keep constantly working to improve your online presence.

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