Questions to Ask Yourself Before Each Project
There are a lot of down to earth questions to ask yourself before you launch a website or blog. The big ones like “how will this pay for itself” aka the business model or “who is going to read this” aka the audience often get forgotten until it’s too late. Also the nitty-gritty questions like
“why would people share our URL” and “why would people want to link to us”
have to be asked but often don’t. Also the self-evident one “where will potential customers find us” is crucial. There are sophisticated techniques like
- user testing
In many cases it’s not the lack of advanced tools or techniques that can make or break a project it’s rather the simple and straightforward questions.
In my almost decade long of SEO practice I often even infuriated potential clients or actual clients asking them: why would someone want to link to you, for what reason?
Clients expect flattery, simple solutions and someone who says “no problem, we’ll do that”. Now here comes this self-proclaimed consultant without any marketing degree and tells me that there is no reason to link to me and that my site is not shareable!
Business owners are often so proud of their sites that criticism falls on deaf ears.
The same people often have just one business model and audience too. The audience is “Google searchers looking for [insert keywords here]” and the business model is “Google searchers buying my products or clicking my ads”. Now this “clever” approach becomes increasingly obsolete.
This is what the “SEO is dead” crowd means. Google wants to keep all the traffic for itself and it will penalize webmasters for not following unwritten rules.
In case you are that type of a masochist you even welcome new Google “manual action” notifications because finally Google at least tells you why you get whipped.
It’s strange how people let others enslave them. The original slaves at least were captured and had no choice. Plus they always knew why they were whipped. The most important question these days is “will I be on the mercy of Google or another third party”? In case “yes” you have to rethink your project.
* Creative Commons image by Paolo Neoz.
This may be a little hard for some clients to handle, but when dealing with a new client who is particularly focused on rankings, I try to ask “why does your site deserve to be number one for (keyword)?”
That word “deserve” usually triggers an awkward silence when the owner has not given much thought to anything but “being #1 = more money”.
Yeah Nick, in case you depend on such clients you will try to please them. Not many agencies and consultants can afford to be as blunt. That’s why many people approach SEO practicioners in the first place. They assume they don’t deserve it but want it anyway by way of “SEO magic”.