My SEO Isn’t Working – Now What?

seo-is-never-doneLast week I had a call with a past client. She wasn’t completely satisfied with the results she had seen so far from the Phase 1 plan we put together.

I scheduled a call to address her concerns and take a look at the data to analyze what was going on.  Upon reviewing and talking it out, we actually discovered she wasn’t doing badly at all:

  • Several of her keywords had driven “clicks” to her site
  • Many more keywords were on the map (page 1, 2, and 3) that were never there previously
  • A few leads had reached out from finding her online
  • We identified tons of valuable queries – which her site was getting impressions for – that were fantastic synonyms and variations of her core keywords which we could proactively target and pursue as Phase 2

After showing her the data, I ever so gently had to break the news to her: starter SEO rarely generates 100% of the desired results.

You’ve heard me spout out analogies before about how SEO is like weight loss, building muscle, showing up, committing to the long haul, and so on.

And here’s one more.

Ongoing SEO is akin to an ongoing healthy weight loss and nutrition journey. Phase 1 means working really hard to start seeing results. But once that happens, you’re rarely satisfied enough to stop there, let alone fully understand how to maintain results. You would never think that just because you’ve started to see things change, you can pack it up and call it a day.

Once you start reaching goals, you have to actively work to stay there lest you default back to the habits that got you to the place you didn’t want to be in the first place.

Staying healthy for life means you adopt regular practices of doing something different you weren’t doing before.

So there’s good news and bad news with SEO (and weight loss):

The bad: you have to adopt those new practices FOREVER.

The good: With consistent action, doing what it takes no longer becomes a struggle. Pretty soon it’s much easier and effortless than it was when you first started.

I told another client last week, that SEO is never “done.” The goal is always to get more and better results. This comes from repeating and baking core SEO foundational basics into your normal marketing routine. And when you plateau you have to get creative, bring fresh ideas to the table, and do that which newly inspires you.

I can tell you the top characteristic of my clients who succeed with SEO over time: they are DOERS. Action takers. They take an idea, or a strategy, and they do it. And not just one time, but consistently doing. Oh – and they celebrate small wins along the way which keeps them motivated and makes the journey more fulfilling. This is something I’m big on and that I train my clients to do.

With my client, there is a happy ending. Within 45 minutes we had chatted about what was going on, and talked through a very manageable Phase 2 she felt confident that her and her team could implement. It was a much quicker discussion than when we started working together and our initial goals were that she grasps the foundational SEO concepts.

SEO Monthly Diagnostic Checklist

Here is a quick checklist to analyze and assess your strategy. I recommend doing this assessment monthly:

  • What is working?
    • Finding #1:
    • Finding #2:
    • What am I going to do about it to continue getting more and better results?
  • What could be working better?
    • Finding #1:
    • Finding #2:
    • What am I going to do about it?
  • What is not working at all?
    • Finding #1:
    • Finding #2:
    • What am I going to do about it? What is this costing me? Who can I turn to for assistance (paid or unpaid)?

Ongoing SEO Strategy:

  • What is next? (Hint: there is always a “next”)
  • What are you doing with SEO traffic that comes to your site but isn’t ready to buy yet?
  • What other keywords can you target that is in your target market’s buying funnel?
  • What alternatives is your market looking for if they’re not yet looking for your product/services/solutions?

Your Turn

What are the SEO assessments and activities in your monthly checklist? If you’re a fellow online marketing professional, how do you help clients push through and create an ongoing plan to get the results they desire? Share in the comments below!

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Jenny Munn

Jenny is an independent Digital Marketer and SEO Consultant with more than 10 years of experience helping companies and content creators generate brand awareness, traffic, and conversions with SEO. She is a frequent speaker and is on the faculty for the AMA (American Marketing Association) and has taught SEO to thousands of marketers over the past 10 years.


  • Tom Nguyen says:

    I like this statement:

    “Starter SEO rarely generates 100% of the desired results.”

    Ain’t that the truth! I have a new client who hired me to design a website before the business opened. They had expectations of being #1 for industry keywords in Atlanta, GA in a competitove field ON OPENING DAY. I told them that they are not going to beat out established firms in their industry right out of the gate. If they did, what would that say about the quality of Google’s results?

    They didn’t understand why and still demanded to be at the top of Google, so I set them up with Google AdWords. They’re going to have to settle for the paid listings until I can get them established organically. Most people don’t realize that 1st page organic Google rankings in a competitive field takes time.

    • Jenny Munn says:

      Tom – ooooooh, good story! I do understand the misconceptions people have about SEO, especially in light of the prevalence of SEO companies giving false promises for top rankings. Education is so important, and I think more than anything proactive communication, honesty and professionalism.

      Appreciate you chiming in!

      • Tom Nguyen says:

        People have this assumption that Organic SEO is a magic pill. It’s not. It’s a long-term investment. Business owners with a website need to talk a good bit about their area of expertise. By a good bit, I don’t mean 1-2 paragraphs.

        My best SEO client was willing to talk in depth about the services that he provided and he averages between 6000-8000 visits per month. His top ranking pages have at least 600 words in them.

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