by Marios Alexandrou
Before the likes of Twitter and Facebook stepped to the front of the stage, blogging was all the rage. Successful bloggers garnered audiences that were often greater than what the typical commercial site could attract. In turn, companies created blogs of their own, packed full of search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. The promise being that if you build a blog the traffic will follow.
What most people ignored was that a blog should add value to a site and be used to engage potential and existing customers. In practice, what ended up happening was that the blog became a dumping ground for a mishmash of content that was uninteresting, usually too short and infrequently delivered. But even after their blogs failed to attract traffic or produce results in any measurable way, site owners are still loathe to get rid of them. The most common reason given? Because having a blog allows them to check off another SEO tactic on their list.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for trying something different. In fact, part of what makes SEO so interesting for me is the testing of new ideas. But I also learned from my project manager days that sometimes when a project isn’t completed on time and the window of opportunity the project was meant to capitalize on has closed, the best course of action is to terminate the project. Or if you’re the investment type, you don’t throw good money after bad. Clichés aside, terminating an SEO tactic that isn’t working is a smart move, but can be hard to do.
Confirm Your Assumptions
Don’t start with an assumption that you haven’t verified. In the blog example above, it would be easy to declare that what seems like low-traffic levels as a failure of the blog effort, but what if the blog was created as a testing ground for landing page copy that is far easier to deploy using blog software like WordPress? Once you confirm what the goal was you can then proceed to confirm that it wasn’t met.
Understand the History
Second, find out the history of the tactic. You’ll have a much easier time shutting something down if the person that came up with it is no longer an employee or, better yet, if it was something a previous SEO agency came up with. While the difficulty will vary depending on who came up with the idea, your best approach is one that acknowledges that everyone is just trying to succeed in the competitive organic search engine space. So your justification to end an effort should be one that is based on data, actual experience, or if secondary research is all that is available, then try to make it as bulletproof as possible.
Prepare an Alternative
Lastly, before you go in with a recommendation to end something, be sure to have a replacement idea to present. After all, if you’re about to free up resources, you might as well come up with something new to apply those resources too. Not only will this help move the SEO campaign forward, but it will also provide a good conversation point for anyone that has to explain why a tactic is being terminated, i.e., it is being replaced by a new and improved tactic that holds more promise.