With the right strategy, SEO can boost rankings and improve brand awareness. But many businesses make the mistake of assuming that hiring an SEO agency will solve all of their problems. Suddenly – overnight – they expect an influx of traffic and a spike in sales.

While SEO can certainly help, it isn’t the fix-all solution many businesses assume it to be. Here are 6 things SEO can’t do for your business:

1. Fix Bad Content

They say that content is king, but links are gold. While that may be true to some extent, bad content can really hurt your site – sometimes more so than SEO can help it.

Great content engages your audience and leads to more shares. Both of these play a role in where a website ranks.

If you’re not investing in good quality content that offers value and boosts engagement, you may be sabotaging your SEO efforts.

2. Guarantee Rankings

While a boost in rankings is typically the result of a well-thought-out SEO campaign, there is no guarantee that your rankings will improve.

It takes time for a solid strategy to produce results, and if other factors are at play, like a questionable site history, a boost in rankings may take even longer or require a different approach.

3. Fix a Poorly Designed Site

Visitors – and search engines – prefer websites that are easy to navigate, professionally designed and display properly on mobile devices.

If you’re losing visitors because they can’t figure out how to find what they want or your site still looks like it was designed in the 90s, all the SEO in the world won’t help your bounce rate. It may be time to hire a designer to fix the problem ASAP.

4. Guarantee Sales

SEO can indirectly lead to a boost in sales, but you still need convincing copy and an excellent product or service to convince potential buyers to bite.

Higher rankings and more traffic offers more opportunities for sales, but it’s up to you to make sure those leads convert.

5. Boost User Engagement

User engagement is important not only for SEO, but also for brand awareness and sales. When users are engaged, you have their attention (a rare thing), which gives you a unique opportunity to build trust and provide them with more valuable content.

User engagement can also boost shares and drive new people into the conversation.

SEO can certainly expose you to a larger audience, but you’ll need a separate strategy (e.g. active social media accounts and content marketing) to boost user engagement.

6. Fix a Bad Reputation

Businesses can use SEO to bury bad reviews and complaints, but they can’t use it to fix an inherently bad reputation.

If customers aren’t happy with your services or products, word will spread and your company’s reputation will be tarnished. Adjusting the quality of your service and/or products is likely a more cost-effective solution than constantly running SEO campaigns to cover up bad ratings.

SEO should be a part of every business’s online marketing strategy, but it’s important to have realistic expectations and take a multi-faceted approach to improving search engine rankings. Good content, audience engagement, great web design and a focus on offering exceptional services/products can work alongside SEO to help a business achieve their goals.