Least Favorite Part of SEO

There are a lot of reasons to love SEO. I’ve been doing this since I started my SEO journey in 2007.

But every job has unique challenges — aspects that can be frustrating, challenging, boring, or even downright painful.

That’s why, earlier this week in the Search Engine Land newsletter, I asked readers: What’s your least favorite part of SEO?

Well, we have a winner. Or a loser?

that it link building. More than 20% of survey respondents said link building was their least favorite part of SEO.

Let’s dive into the results.

Building links and communication. It’s a waste of time. It’s boring. And success is never guaranteed. These are just a few of the biggest complaints from SEO about trying to generate high-quality links that we’ve seen from Search Engine Land readers:

  • “Getting backlinks – it’s the equivalent of a vampire sucking your soul for very little revenue.”
  • “Obviously having natural connections is great, but when you are out hunting for them, it may or may not be productive. It takes a long time and there is no guarantee that you will see the results you want.”
  • “A lot of work to get any reward. It often feels pointless.”
  • “Dealing with websites that have used xyz backlinks in the past. Sometimes I will inherit a client whose previous agency has done this and end up cleaning it up because it looks bad on my part if potential clients or fellow SEOs look at my clients’ backlink profiles To find out how we do SEO in my agency.
  • “There is nothing more boring and frustrating than reaching out to website owners getting spammed 24/7 by everyone and variety trying to build a relationship in order to promote an asset your team spent a lot of time creating to either be ignored or have to To go through the awkward negotiation process only until you end up having to chase for weeks or even months to get the link right in. It’s like, “Head, meet the brick wall…” This is a direct result of a lot of bad practices that come back in order to influence the people trying correct it.”
  • “It takes a lot of time, thought, and care to build lasting connections, especially on a large scale in the B2B space.”
  • “It’s the most misused area of ​​SEO.”

The Google. yes google. There were a bunch of complaints. A few were intended for business profiles on Google:

  • “There are too many spam lists out there that outstrip high-quality companies. Legitimate reviews are removed. If your activity is suspended for no reason, support is a nightmare to deal with to get your list back. Still, you got a deal with Sterling, at least in local search engine optimization, due to its prominence in SERPs.”
  • “Lack of control. This is an important list for local businesses, but it is very volatile. Make it really driven and give us more control and better customer service.”
  • “Many companies can create spam websites and lists in sterling, which makes it a volatile space. The world would be a better place if there were no spammers. Now I have to fight spam every day to help my clients be in the situation they used to be. It’s supposed to be there.”

But our readers shared other Google-related complaints, ranging from the timing of the algorithm update to GA 4:

  • “Google released algo updates right before the holidays.”
  • The so-called ‘page experience’ metrics are very vague in testing and evaluation.
  • “They are trying their boldest to keep everyone in their ecosystem rather than allowing click-throughs to get to sites. Their earnings last year say it all.”
  • Dealing with and understanding the white lies that come from Google representatives.
  • “It took a while to set up Google Analytics and it’s my 24/7 job to monitor traffic to my online fashion store. I’m not looking forward to moving to the next generation, GA4, especially since all the features I’m currently using aren’t available yet. I’m sure I will eventually adapt but it will take some time.”

Prove the value of search engine optimization. Have you had to convince your organization that SEO is a smart investment? The answer should be as simple as, “Have you heard of this thing called Google?” Well, now you can direct them to this article: Why SEO is a great investment, not just a cost.

Defending the value of SEO shouldn’t be difficult anymore. It’s 2022. And here we are:

  • “People don’t take SEO seriously or understand the value of their investment and time.”
  • “Expect results to be immediate and positive every time.”
  • “Having to work twice as hard as pay-per-click managers to prove the value of SEO.”
  • “Explain to clients why the automated report they received from a relative, and from a best friend’s former roommate has no context and should be ignored.”
  • “Constant skepticism from other ‘SEO experts’ on the marketing team is frustrating and disheartening. It’s hard to feel confident as an SEO, because the fundamentals are constantly changing.”
  • “Deterrent from uneducated CEOs or those who have been overwhelmed by snake oil SEOs in the past. It makes it really difficult to implement what you know will work, especially when it takes so long to prove whether or not your tactics are working to validate your strategies:
  • “The amount of effort and time sometimes required for clients to implement the changes necessary for them to achieve success in organic research.”

More and less favorite parts of SEO. Finally, some slums. These answers didn’t fit into any of our other groups, but they are all good reasons to call these answers the least favorite part of SEO:

  • “Technical improvement. It is never clear what exactly is causing the problems and most of the time you need help from a developer. It pays off once the problem is fixed but the process is a bit of a maze.”
  • “Watching what appears to be a well optimized page rise and drop intermittently in SERPs. It’s crazy.”
  • “Uncertainty about what really affects the position of the SERP. It looks like a puzzle and a moving target which makes it difficult to manage.”
  • “Keyword analysis, it gets me out of my throat. He uses 5 different tools, and has a hard time stopping when that suffices.”
  • “Reporting. Nobody reads the reports sent by the SEO team. You can send the same report every month and no one will notice. I like reporting by exception.”
  • “Cheap, unappreciated clients.”
  • “Search through a ton of articles on SEO topics that come up as new insights, that actually contain old platitudes or even bad analytics, only to find those few pieces per month that actually bring in some new ideas.”
  • “Trying to find unique product titles for 2,000 products made of the same metal (jewelry). When I see a zigzag or zigzag on a website, I know I’m not alone!”
  • “Define interagency experiences. When everyone starts with a similar checklist of best practice recommendations, it is hard to know who will be able to transition to an individual strategy for our business.”
  • “Dealing with developers. It’s always hard to convince them how important things are and to add to the backlog soon.”
  • “Keep up with technology and user interface changes across all the different platforms. I’m good at keeping up with best practices and trends, developing standards and strategies and explaining them to internal and external stakeholders. It adapts to all the menus and paths across all the different software and platforms in order to get things done. Every day, I’m about to become my dad struggling to reprogram the VCR.”
  • “Well… it depends.”

(Note: You can read more answers to the same question on Twitter. Google’s John Mueller asked the same question.)

Why do we care. It is good to share our frustrations with our peers. Obviously, many of you are experiencing some similar pain points in the SEO world. Just remember that it’s totally normal not to love parts of your job all the time. This can go to certain tasks, projects, clients or co-workers. And if you like link building? We salute you!


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About the author

Danny Goodwin is Senior Editor at Search Engine Land. In addition to daily writing on SEO, PPC, and more about Search Engine Land, Goodwin also operates a roster of Search Engine Land experts in search. It also helps with programming for our SMX Conference Series – Search Marketing Expo. Prior to joining Search Engine Land, Goodwin served as Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal, where he led editorial initiatives for the brand. He was also an editor at Search Engine Watch. He has spoken at many major research conferences and virtual events, and his expertise is drawn from a wide range of publications and podcasts.

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