The Five Stages of SEO Grief

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Dear SoD readers, for your entertainment, I present to you, The Five Stages of SEO Grief.

1. Denial

“I’m going to ignore this ‘SEO‘ thing because it’s just a fad.”

“My website and business can still be successful even if I don’t rank well or get any organic traffic.”

“People only use Google to get information, not to buy things.”

“I don’t need to develop content. Look at all these awesome pictures I have from ’99!”

“There’s no need to build links to my website. I’m already internally-linking to myself like a hundred times, and I mentioned my keyword two hundred times.”

2. Anger

“Why didn’t anyone tell me to pay attention to this ‘SEO’ thing?!”

“My business is going to fail and it’s all because I don’t rank well or get any organic traffic!”

“There’s an eCommerce now? What?!”

“A picture’s worth a thousand words. Don’t do me like that, Google!”

“Why aren’t people linking to my awesome site?”

3. Bargaining

“Okay, I’ll subscribe to SEO blogs. Heck, I’ll even mark the emails as read when they arrive in my inbox.”

“I’ll buy every single keyword with Google AdWords. That makes up for having no organic presence, right?”

“My call center has high CSAT scores, so how about I just add my phone number to every page?”

“There’s a guy on Fiverr who will write 10 articles for $5 each. Time to get me some ‘keyword rich’ content!”

“Fine, I’ll dish out the $19 per month (USD) via Moneybookers for that ‘Platinum SEO Package,’ which includes building 10,000 backlinks to my site.”

4. Depression

“I have no idea what’s going on in the SEO industry and my inbox is full.”

“I’ve spent $5,000 on AdWords with nothing to show for it. Bidding for position 1.0 is hella expensive!”

“Calls are up but sales are down, along with CSAT scores and FCR percentages. So much overhead yet so little to show for it.”

“My site has been hit with duplicate/thin content penalties. I got what I paid for – not much.”

“Those 10,000 backlinks ruined my link profile and I’ve been hit with Google’s Penguin penalty. That overseas SEO company is nowhere to be found.”

5. Acceptance

“SEO moves at a fast pace, and I will dedicate at least half an hour a week to reading and absorbing what the experts have to say.”

“Every business, regardless of industry, benefits from higher organic rankings and organic traffic. SEO should be considered in every strategic digital marketing plan.”

“Whether I’m B2B or B2C, focused on business leads or retail transactions, a commitment to SEO helps to build my business for the long-term.”

“Content is king when it comes to SEO, and I will dedicated resources to producing great content.”

“Link building needs to be done. The focus will be put on quality over quantity of links.”


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Shockley is a digital marketing consultant, helping businesses succeed online through SEM/PPC, SEO, Social Media, and Web Analytics. He is certified in Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and Bing Ads.

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2 thoughts on “The Five Stages of SEO Grief”

  1. Very entertaining, but when you’re talking about the damage that Panda can do to a web site, a business, people’s lives, the impact is real and the effects are visceral, it’s no laughing matter.

    I know. After 2+ years of brutal Panda punishment and umpteen recommendations from SEO experts and firms, we are no further ahead. I have reached the acceptance stage, but it wasn’t easy.

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