Top Five SEO Project Hurdles and How to Overcome Them By Rafid Nassir

Nothing is more pleasing to the staff of an SEO company than knowing you have helped shape and boost a client’s online business.

But, as promising and straightforward as a project may seem, there are often obstructions and misunderstandings which can slow down the work.

The results that your company can achieve when working with any SEO company (or even on your own) comes with its challenges.

I hope to squash some of these obstructions like a lemon (I love lemons!) in this blog and help both the SEO provider and you, the client.

Here goes…

You Sacrifice Your SEO for Design

There have been many cases where a website’s design, or a webmaster/developer’s preference may overrule SEO recommendations. Some industries are more guilty of this than others – photography, art, and fashion businesses are more likely to reject vital on-page recommendations which, if implemented, could be the key for having the edge over your competitors.

With the focus of Google shifting significantly to website usability, load speed, and bounce rate, it is important that your pages load as fast as possible (by minimizing page file size), are optimized for the relevant keywords (so you don’t give visitors an experience they weren’t searching for), and that everything is functioning and working as it should.

Don’t reject SEO recommendations immediately – the recommendations will have been carefully considered and all changes are recommended for a reason.

You Don’t Choose Your Keywords Carefully

Regardless of your SEO budget, you should not focus on all competitive keywords for your campaign.

To get your return-on-investment more quickly, you need to have a mixture of short- and long-term goals. Choose a combination of competitive, highly searched keywords and less competitive, less searched, more direct keywords (which are easier to rank for).

You don’t want to wait a year for all your keywords to come to first page and eventually start making money for you – even if it means big money. Instead, you need at least half of your selected keywords to achieve high rankings in the first three to six months.

Think about it this way: Five less competitive keywords may make up for one very competitive keyword, so you could achieve nine to 12 months’ worth of results, in the space of half the time by choosing less competitive keywords.

When an SEO company tells you to choose a mixture of competitive and not so competitive keywords, it’s not because their abilities are questionable, it’s because they want you to make money sooner!

You Don’t Consider Strong Reporting

It is imperative a client knows exactly what is happening with their SEO campaign at all times.

SEO isn’t as tangible as, say, pay-per-click advertising. With PPC, you know exactly what each penny was spent on and what you got back in return, showing you what kind of return-on-investment you can expect, almost immediately.

With SEO, however, it’s not that simple. SEO is more of an investment, and the results may take weeks, sometimes months, to appear. Therefore, the least an SEO company can do is be completely transparent with communicating every single development that is happening with the project.

That being said, there is a fine line that can often be crossed here, and it’s usually when the client wants even more clarity – for example, breakdowns, conference calls, and reports about unnecessary events that may not even be linked with SEO. This can slow down the work as the hours spent here can be better spent on actual SEO work.

As the client, it may come down to you to ensure all correspondence with your SEO company is focused strictly around moving the project forward.

You Emphasize Quantity Over Quality

I can’t even express the amount of times I have been asked, “How many links can you get me for ‘x’ amount? And when will I be on first page?”

The answer to that is always the same: There is no set amount of links that one can get for you. It depends how much time is allocated to link building (which is in correlation with the client’s budget), and how competitive your industry/keywords are in general.

A couple years ago, it would have been fair to say that the more links you have pointing to your site, the higher you will rank. Now, however, it’s a different story.

Each link that you get needs to be relevant to the content on your site, and it also needs to be from a trusted and authoritative source as opposed to a site that has just been built for SEO purposes.

You Don’t Do Your Homework

The best thing you can do as a client is to educate yourself on exactly how search engines work, the current best practices of SEO, and what to expect in terms of effects after executing a strategy.

With the knowledge and SEO-know-how, you will be able to appreciate the strategy. You’ll also be able to understand how much time and effort things should take and you’ll have a realistic idea of what kind of results you can expect and when.

Most importantly, you will help speed up the progress of the SEO campaign rather than potentially slowing it down.

Ultimately, if SEO is part of your marketing strategy, the key here for success is knowledge, patience, communication, and trust.

Rafid Nassir

Rafid is the Head of Business Development for, a leading UK search engine marketing agency. Over the past 5 years he’s had the privilege of helping clients like Radisson, eBookers and Golds Gym think outside of the box to dramatically improve both their SEO and their CRO efforts.

View all posts by Rafid Nassir