Small businesses are often seen fumbling around in the dark when it comes to figuring out which SEO strategies really work and which don't. There is an onslaught of information freely available online, much of it contradictory or confusing. Small business owners who attempt to perform SEO for themselves don't often know which strategies are more important than others, which are worthwhile and which are worthless, or how do you tell the difference.

Slogging through SEO forums, blogs and article sites can provide a great deal of good information, but it can also leave the small business owner confused on what--or what not--to do.

Those that choose to hire an SEO provider can push some of their SEO decision-making burdens off onto someone else, but some then open the door to a whole new set of worries that can circumvent their online success, even with a successful SEO working for them.

Spending nights worrying about your SEO campaign can eat up a lot of energy that is better applied to other, more important matters. While every business owner needs to be fully aware of the progress being made by their SEO's efforts, they also need to trust that the SEO knows what is needed for them to succeed. For that to happen, here are a few things the business owner need to stop worry about. Failure to do so can kill an SEO campaign in its tracks.

1) Worrying about making page edits

Without changes there is no SEO. You can focus on link building, social media, ad campaigns, etc, which can bring you limited success on their own. However, if you want your site really perform for your targeted keyword phrases, you have to be willing to make keyword focused and other architectural edits.

All too often site owners don't want to make necessary changes to their site's because they are afraid of losing customer focus. This is a legitimate concern but also one that is often misplaced. Site improvements designed for search engines often align with site improvements for your visitors. If searchers are using specific phrases in their search, it makes sense that your visitors will be served seeing those very same specific phrases on your site.

Don't be afraid of making changes to your site. The goal of any good SEO is not to just improve your search engine rankings, but help you increase your business.

2) Worrying about shifting rankings

It's a simple fact of life that search engine rankings change. New sites are always going online, old sites are disappearing, new information is added to the web, and new competition with fresh marketing dollars emerges. Add to that the fact that search engines are always tweaking and adjusting their algorithms and you've got a search engine ranking roller coaster.

That doesn't mean that you ignore keyword rankings completely, but if you're compelled to monitor your rankings, don't do it on a day to day basis. Most search engine ranking changes are insignificant and just part of the normal fluctuations that occur.

What you do need to be concerned about is overall trends. If you do start seeing a month to month trend of a loss in rankings dropping that's when you need to start looking at things more closely. Don't sweat the small stuff, but instead look at the bigger picture.

Another problem worrying about small shifts in rankings is people often get concerned about the wrong keywords and the wrong engines. Google drives the most traffic, but isn't always the best at converting. Improvements in other engines that may convert better may be worth a sacrifice of lower rankings in Google. Again, it's about the big picture.

3) Worrying about trying new things

Good optimization and marketing isn't a linear process. Every site is different as are the site's needs. Many changes recommended will be standard fare while some will seemingly come way out of left field. Give all proper consideration, and don't be afraid about doing something different.

One thing to keep in mind is that success comes through trial and trial produces error and failures. We've all heard the story that when Thomas Jefferson failed thousands of times for every success he ever made. Hopefully you won't have to fail that often in your website marketing, but be prepared for some things not to work.

Fear of failure is not a reason not to try. We tell the same to our kids and we need to take that to heart in our businesses. Step out, and be willing to try something new.

4) Worrying about making large-scale changes

Before a site can be optimized for your targeted keywords, it needs to be optimized for search engines. I call this having a "search engine friendly" website. A lot of sites are build by developers that don't know much about SEO beyond meta tags. The sites they build may look good but won't perform well in the search engines because the site architecture isn't search engine friendly.

The last thing you want to do is to pay a lot of money on an expensive optimization campaign if your site isn't in a position to be optimized. That's just putting SEO frosting on a website dung pile. Big changes need to be made before you can really start focusing on the actual on-page keyword targeting. In many cases you have to be willing to burn the site to the ground. Other times it's less severe but many structural changes will need to be made before any SEO can be effective.

Failure to make these big changes will ultimately result in poor performance of any optimization campaign you implement. Don't be afraid to make the big changes necessary for your small SEO changes to succeed.

5) Worrying about investing in long-term SEO

SEO is a long-term investment, not a one-time expense. The changes you need to make to optimize your site will cost you both time and money.

All too often businesses looking for an immediate boost turn to SEO as if it's some sort of magic bus ride to the top of the search engine rankings. They don't want to spend much money but they have very high expectations. Unfortunately, SEO isn't like building a fence. There is much more to it than having a bit of knowledge and a few tools to work with.

Those who are afraid to spend what it takes for their SEO campaign to succeed rarely ever do succeed. They limp along with sites that under perform and ultimately cost more to market than if the money was spent sooner to make the changes requires.

Worry tend to cause bad decisions. When we worry, we tend to make decisions based on how we feel at the moment rather than basing our decisions on facts and evidence. When you turn your SEO campaign over to another person, or even do it yourself, there is enough to worry about without adding to it.

As business owners you have enough on your plate. Make wise SEO decisions but leave the worries over superficial matters behind. By focusing on the wrong things you can sink your SEO campaign before it even has a chance to get off the ground.

November 17, 2009

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


Great article as always Stoney.

There's that fine line between how much involvement the business owner has within SEO decision making and how much is placed in the hands of the appointed SEO consultant.

I always find it comes down to an element of trust. It's similar to hiring a decorator..... for those first few strokes you're always keeping a careful eye on how the painting is going... then your confidence builds as progress is made and you leave the decorator to get on doing what they do best. You laydown the groundwork - choose the colours, decor etc etc, the decorator advises, then off they paint! The last thing you want to be doing is looking over their shoulder quoting which brushes are best having just read an article in latest copy of "Decorating Monthly". You get the gist :)

The elements of "worry" disappear as you see progress being made... correct progress.. and once that element of trust is in place you work as a partnership... in leave the sleepless nights to accounting worries rather than SEO worries!

Loved the line about the long term commitment! Marketing and sales expenses are indeed long term, so it should follow that expenses associated with maintaining the website at optimum SEO performance level should be ongoing as well.

I do agree with you and really it is very difficult to convince the client that SEO is long term investment not short one.

I thought this post was worth a ReTweet! I'll be following your work Stoney - I like it.

I work with musicians, artists and bands, and quite frankly they don't worry about SEO at all! Pity.


thanks Stoney, Lovely and inspiring article! regards,Candi

Make dependable your images are optimized, your server is replete spec and there’s no unessential java scripts or downloads within your placement architecture that unresponsive down the buyer data.

Great article! Thanks for the nice and realistic thoughts. Marketing your SEO service to SEO customers is really crucial. And the best way to make this marketing is giving a education informative seminar or something like that. This doesn't work by email, via your website or even by phone.

"SEO is a long-term investment, not a one-time expense. The changes you need to make to optimize your site will cost you both time and money."

I couldn't agree with you any more Stoney. Great article and I believe that within both the SEO and web design/development sectors of SEM it is very easy to meet with unrealistic expectations. So many businesses are certainly looking for quick fix solutions, but they are missing the bigger picture. Managing expectations always is an important part of the job description albeit falling on deaf ears in some cases.

I have all of those concerns

Its practical scenario in search industry, as being SEOs We all know that seo is long term process and needs to much patient for gaining ranking or increasing brand awareness.

What i believe that by consolidating tests & strategy for gaining ranking & of course by adding fresh and unique content we may achieve high rankings.

Worrying about the shifting in page ranking makes me smile. I've several friends who fall in that category. Factors you've enumerated make sense. This only means the major search engineers are doing their job. Otherwise, every two-bit SEO wannabe can game the system - and that makes for bad user experience for everybody.

SEO is a pretty long term investment and will yield results.To make a site compatible with the factors mentioned in the article ,I think the site owners should be proactive in the decisions before starting ventures in web.

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Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > 5 Worries That Can Kill Your SEO Campaign