Why have so many given up on SEO?

Is SEO dead? I think this is a question many SMME’s and medium-sized businesses are struggling with. I must be honest, I can understand why…

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation, as a full phrase, works on the “natural or Organic” section of Google, positioned under the ‘Paid ads section’ that highlights ADS on the top left of the listing on both mobile and desktop.

Here are four of the big reasons why humans lost faith in SEO:

  1. SEO is often not sold correctly and therefor the expectation a client has is unrealistic. 

It is not an overnight solution, if you need ranking, traffic, or leads instantly, then the faster route is paid advertising like Google Adwords. You have to do the right things, a domain needs authority which is built over time. So you have to be patient for the results. Once results reflect though, if done correctly, cost per lead is less on SEO than on paid Ads.  

  1. SEO budgets are too small: 

The amounts allocated for SEO are so small the time spent on optimising is not nearly enough to make a difference unless you have a decade allocated to rank. If you’re spending R1500 on SEO per month I would love to know what they do for 2 hours in a month that will make any difference to rank on Google… Never mind reporting to show they are on the right track.

  1. Reporting and tracking are not in place: 

Well if you’re spending too little or if you’re spending with the wrong person, then that is a good way to NOT see results or reports per month. I mean if you’re not doing much you’re not expecting results – so not reporting hides what little you are doing. On R1500 / 2 hours of work a month, why and how would you allocate 30-40 on reporting?

Reporting and tracking are crucial – you have to know what’s working or not to improve. Growth is possible and, needed monthly for a successful strategy. You need to know where did you rank on Google when you started, by keyword and what is the actual growth in position per keyword every month. What was organic traffic and conversions when you started?  What is it now? Is it showing growth? If you are spending on SEO you have a right to ask for information on this, anyone that can’t or won’t give this information is hiding something.

I once had a prospective client tell me they spend R1000 per month on SEO and have been for the last 4 years with one company and they can’t tell me how it worked or what results they have achieved. In fact, they are unable to tell what the supplier is actually doing for that amount… (Doesn’t sound good, or is it just me?) The salesperson did say SEO is like car insurance it’s something you must have…

(True, yet you can’t even tell me what it does, what they do, or what you’ve achieved or, that you know SEO increases organic raking monthly, then something is not right).

  1. Google changes the algorithm all the time: 

Yes, that is very true, I suppose needed, what worked and what people got away with 5 years ago. But that has changed. Many “black SEO tricks” (implying convert and scheming) that worked many years ago will now get you penalised and you will pay for trying to cheat back then. So might not be a bad thing that the Algorithm changes, it becomes frustrating if a change completely messes up work that you have done and built up over time.

Think about it this way – life changes, we use mobile more, we buy more online so naturally, the Algorithm needs to adapt as well. You need to spend your budget with a well-educated team that has your best interest at heart and gets it right most of the time. 

Google rewards for mobile responsiveness, constant updates on your site, well-written copy, and user experience that works – and yes they make changes in what’s important – pushing cheaters right to the last of the list. 

Stay by the book, do things right – one thing we learned is tricks that helped you will make you pay even faster.

One great case study I can reference is our IT company. FixIT specialises in computer repairs and upgrades:

We initially had our website copy professionally written, wise choice! The design and UX on the site worked very well.

For the first year we spent money on Google ads every month – it was our Bread and Butter; we spent between R200 and R250 every day. That was our best lead generating tool and if that campaign is not on we will not have nearly enough calls to keep our doors open.

For the first 8 months, we ran a very active and strategic SEO campaign optimising the website to rank on specific keywords tracking ranking improvement and inquiries every month.

1.5 years later we have a ranking! Our SEO paid off so well we don’t need to spend a dime on paid campaigns and all inquiries come are harvested rganically. We don’t look back for a second and regret the SEO campaign, we definitely don’t miss paying Google daily.


So if SEO dead – you’re doing it wrong, with the wrong supplier. You have to spend the correct budget, with the right team that has your best interest at heart. SEO is a great long term solution that can have lifetime benefit, unfortunately, its mostly misunderstood!

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Jenny | Evolv