The inability to get people to implement SEO recommendations is the most common SEO fail of them all. I know, this sound like a no-brainer — but it’s one of the biggest issues that we deal with as an industry.

Often SEOs can explain perfectly why using a canonical link would be more effective than a robots noindex in a certain situation, but when push comes to shove, they fail to persuade stakeholders to actually implement it. There’s a variety of reasons for this, which we’ll cover in part 1 of this article. In part 2, we’ll explain them and help you to tackle them.

Soft Skills Required

SEO is actually about more than just the three pillars of SEO: Technology, relevance and authority. For one thing, if you can’t get your SEO recommendations implemented, you’ll get nowhere. In this situation, your soft skills are just as important as your hard skills. This applies to both agency and in-house roles.

Why Recommendations Go Unimplemented 

Plans rarely survive contact with the real world so you should be ready for anything that might block your success. Knowing the most important reasons why SEO recommendations fail to get implemented is half the battle. Here are the likely culprits when businesses ask why SEO recommendations fail to get implemented:

  • Lack of understanding - There’s too little understanding within the organization of why SEO is important and how it works. This leads to a lack of ability to act on the SEO recommendations, and a lack of motivation to implement them.
  • Limited resources - There are no resources to implement the recommendations.
  • No buy-in from management - Someone, either internally or externally, was asked to draft SEO recommendations, but it turned out to be a lot more work than anticipated, or they were never planning on implementing them.
  • Bureaucracy - Everything moves slowly in the organization. This is especially a problem if you don’t have buy-in.
  • Skepticism - People within the organization have had bad experiences with SEO in the past, or they are skeptical in general and/or unable to deal with the inherent uncertainty that comes with SEO.
  • Fire and forget - The initial SEO recommendations are implemented, but people don’t follow through with improving the platform, writing new content, and building links. The SEO recommendations are thus only partially implemented. 

Related Article: 7 Search Engine Optimization Tools Every Content Publisher Should Know

SEO Strategy Implementation: Advance or Retreat

It’s worth mentioning that it pays to analyze the feasibility of getting your SEO recommendations implemented before you send out proposals and fire up your SEO tools. You may not be able to, or want to, fight an uphill battle to get your SEO recommendations implemented, so making sure you’ve got a good chance is important.

Learning Opportunities

What do you look for then? You’ve got to scope out whether there’s enough understanding, resources, motivation and support within the organization to implement your recommendations.

If you’re agency-side, that means you have to do this during the sales process. By the way, an added benefit of a smoothly executed SEO project is that your clients are more likely to pay on time. If the client is frustrated about not getting any value from your recommendations because they haven’t been implemented, what reason do they have to make sure your invoices are paid on time?

Keep in mind that it can be very tiring and demotivating for your colleagues if they hit wall after wall while working their asses off to deliver their best SEO work. When your team is constantly going through difficult and frustrating SEO projects, you run the risk of team attrition.

With all of that in mind, does it still make sense to push on and start working on this SEO project? If the answer is yes, the next step is to determine what kind of roadblocks are ahead so you can work on neutralizing them right away.

Part two of this article will address the reasons why SEO recommendations don’t get implemented.