Your SEO Is Not the Problem

Who do you blame when your sales are slow?

We’re not getting business because the graphic designer designed our logo wrong.

We’re not getting business because our competitors have way more money.

We’re not getting business because the SEO company we hired didn’t do it right. 

We’re not getting business because we’re a small business, and Google only likes large companies.

We’re not driving more traffic to the website because, because, because…

Bring up the fact that the site content sucks, and the blame cycle starts again. “Yeah, we haven’t spent a lot of time on the content. But why bother when the logo is wrong, Google doesn’t like our site and the SEO screwed up anyway?”

Guess what? I doubt the reason that you aren’t landing leads is because Google, your competitors, your SEO and your link builder conspired against your success.

It’s your content.

Bad content will not drive leads. Or sales. Or shares.  You can market the hell out of your site, but it won’t help (much.)

Bad content is just bad – and it has issues, too.

For instance…

Bad content issue #1: Your site is so focused on SEO that you ignore the customer experience. Have you spent thousands on link building, social media management and technical SEO – but you made your admin assistant write the copy and told her to stuff it with keyphrases? If so, what are you thinking? As my father used to say, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Your link builder and SEO may be able to drive more traffic to your site, but know that “driving traffic” doesn’t mean “you’ll make sales.” If your content sucks, there’s no reason to promote it. Fix it instead.

Bad content issue  #2: Your site is so filled with marketing-speak that it turns off your readers. Have you ever chatted with someone who liked to flaunt their “intellectual superiority?” Boring aren’t they? Yeah – well, your dirt-dull SEO content has the same effect on folks. If you’re pushing your “consultative” angle, speaking over the heads of most readers will do nothing but turn them off and cause them to feel like they can’t “connect” with you. When you write approachable copy, people will approach you. It’s that simple. (And yes, I’m talking to you, B2B companies.)

Bad content issue #3: Your site is all about you – and not about your reader. Here’s a newsflash – your prospects really don’t care about your mission statement. Or your warehouse. Or your process – unless you can show how that process helps your customers. Think about it: do you recite your mission statement every time you chat with a new prospect? Of course not. Why would you write content that does exactly that?

Bad content issue #4: You don’t have much site copy because you want people to call you instead. Yes, it’s important to chat with prospects. At the same time, people won’t call you unless you give them a reason – and that reason means smart, customer-driven content. You don’t need to give away the secret sauce of what you do. But, don’t you want enough copy to explain what you do and why people should give you a call?

So, if you find yourself playing the blame game – and you know that your site content isn’t that great – isn’t it time to tackle the real issue?

I think that you’ll be amazed at the results.

16 replies
  1. Amy C. Teeple says:

    Love this:
    I doubt the reason that you aren’t landing leads is because Google, your competitors, your SEO and your link builder conspired against your success.

    Great post – too many businesses (especially small ones) don’t think they need a writer for their website copy. Writers are the last people they seem to look for – since they figure they can write the content themselves. Thankfully, I have created a network of web designers and developers who understand the importance of strong, customer-focused optimized copy.

    While I completely agree that businesses need to face the fact that their web copy is lacking, I must add that many have to also pay attention to their follow up and customer service.

    Thanks again for a great post.

  2. Richard Moldovanyi says:

    This is definitely true. I especially like your point on making sure content is written for both search engines and clients. Even if someone arrives at your site through Google, that doesn’t mean they’re a client. You need to have persuasive, interesting content to keep them on your site and turn them into a client.

    Great post.

  3. Dylan says:

    We actually forwarded this article around our office, because many of the points you make are exactly what we try to tell clients on a daily basis. Stimulating content is essential.. now if we can just get our clients to understand that…

    • Heather says:

      @Dylan: FANTASTIC! I’m glad that your office enjoyed the article. And yes, I totally understand about the client stuff…here’s hoping that they see the light soon. :)

  4. Katie says:

    Terrific post, Ms. Heather.

    #2 — I find humor works really effectively for both engaging and “teaching” (without coming across as a pretentious jerk). If your work is smart, there’s no reason to slam people over the head with it.

    #4 — This is perfect. Finally someone understands that people don’t want to have to TALK to anyone on the phone anymore. I want to vet via internet, and then if I like what I see / read, I MIGHT pick up the phone… but I’m not promising anything.

    Thanks for breaking it down :)

    • Heather says:

      Katie, hi!

      Thanks for your comment! There’s nothing worse than reading “pretentious jerk” sites that make you think, “Wow. There’s no way that I would want to work with these folks. Who wants to work with a company that makes them feel stupid?”

      LOL, I rarely pick up the phone anymore. Besides, seeing how fast a company gets back to me on email is a great way to “test” them. After all, if I don’t get a response within one business day, I doubt that trend is going to get better if I sign on the dotted line…


  5. Tony Parker says:

    Great post! Really like the punch you have added to convey how important healthy website content is. Being a content writer myself, I understand very well that content can make or break the image of your website. Professional content writing is not something that companies can ignore the importance of. Keep such posts coming. I am subscribing to your newsletter right away! :)

  6. Patrick McCoy says:

    Nice, short and to the point article hitting some valid points that clients should be aware of, first and foremost, AND that SEO’s should be migrating towards. Better content. Period. We get asked all the time about content and is it just page text. No. It is much more than just page text. It is your graphics, your videos, your CTA’s, your blog articles, your links being built, your emails, your social posts, etc… And yes, your page text fits in there as well. Your points hit the bulk of discussions we have with our clients and we’ve written about this before, but maybe not in such a clear-cut, here it is, type of way. I enjoyed reading it, Heather! Thanks!


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