Search engine optimization (SEO) is always a big concern with website owners, or at least it should be. We all want to get more traffic to our websites, and traffic from search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo is usually the most effective way to increase page views. Traffic to your website via these page views is a key factor in driving up your ranking with search engines (what page of a search you are likely to show up on). Whether you are doing your SEO yourself or hiring a company to do it for you, you may have times where the effort or money you are putting in just doesn’t seem to be giving you enough of a return.
This can be a frustrating situation! Here are the top 6 reasons why your SEO isn’t working:
The internet is known for providing immediate response, but ironically, SEO simply takes time to achieve. No matter how much money or effort you put into it, it is a process that to some degree can’t be rushed. In the instant gratification world we now live in, it’s easy to have unrealistic expectations about how long it will take for your website to start getting a significant amount of traffic from keywords on Google, Bing and Yahoo that relate to your website. When starting a new SEO campaign, I typically give an estimate of 6-12 months before the website will start to get near the first page of the chosen keywords.
The time it takes for your site to move up in the rankings depends on many factors including:
If the competition is high, it may take longer than a year for your website to start ranking for any given keyword. However, the extra time and money may be worth it if the search is preformed by enough users. If that’s the case, be patient as the payout can be really big!
As an expert in the subject of your website, you may know all the industry jargon, and that jargon may seem like the perfect thing to use for picking out your SEO keywords. Unfortunately, that is not the case and it’s one of the top things I see people doing wrong with their SEO! It’s important to keep in mind that the people searching for information on your website are typically not experts, if they were, they probably wouldn’t be going to the internet to learn more. As non-experts, they are going to search the internet with keywords that make sense to them. You need to put yourself in the mindset of your audience when you are selecting keywords.
When picking out keywords, your best bet is to use a keyword planning tool like the one in Google Ads, or Keywords Everywhere to find the keyword phrases that actually get the most searches. In addition to helping you find the best keywords, this exercise can also show you common questions in your industry and give you good topics to cover in your blogs and additional website content.
If you are not adding content to your website on a regular basis, and are in a competitive industry (and aren’t we all?!), there is very little chance you’ll be able to rank well in search engines. Search engines and people won’t have a reason to go back to your website if you are leaving it stagnant.
It’s not only important to update your content on a regular basis, it’s also imperative that the content you post is well written, and easy to read by real people (not just search engine bots). Writing quality is a heavily weighted factor in search engine algorithms these days!
Having a blog is a great way to add content regularly! Blog posts should be thoughtful, well-timed, and well-written articles aimed at engaging your audience. Blogs are a great way for you to prove that you and your website is a trusted resource in your field. Ideally, website owners should be posting as much as possible, and at least once or twice a month.
In my opinion, this is one of the hardest pieces to do right. Even if you are a decent writer, there often just isn’t enough time each month to research the best topics, and post a couple of thoughtful, well-timed blogs to engage your audience.
Adding content regularly is a struggle I myself have faced, but that’s why I have a copywriter to help me keep my content fresh! I work with Noelle Castle of Castle Media Co. She not only helps me with the content for Zebralove, but I use her for most projects with my clients that require quality content and copy.
Another problem I often see, is a website that ranks well in search engines, but has a low click rate. Click rate in SEO is the percentage of time users who saw your website in a search, clicked on the listing to view it. There are a number of things that can contribute to a low click rate. Some examples include going after the wrong keywords (read the section above) or poorly written meta tags, but in my experience, the most likely reason is a lack of proper branding.
At it’s most basic level, branding is simply getting other people to be aware of your business or website. When businesses try to do this with SEO alone, you end up with low click rates because even though your website may be an obvious choice in a Google search, if the user has never heard of you (and therefor has no reason to trust you), they are unlikely to click on your link.
My point here is that you can’t really rely on SEO alone. You need to be doing other marketing efforts to make your SEO effort effective. If someone is looking for a product or service that you sell on your website, they are much more likely to engage with your website if they also saw a post you did on social media, or received a mailer from you. They are especially likely if they also see a positive review posted by someone they know.
As with most things we’ve been talking about in this article, it all comes down to trust. You can strengthen your SEO efforts by improving your trust in the marketplace. You do this by having a strong social media presence and doing other types of marketing like e-newsletters, print, mailing, and networking in your local area.
It’s 2020 and the smart phone revolution took place over a decade ago. If your website is still not mobile ready (meaning it looks good and is very responsive on a device such as a smart phone), there is no point to even bothering to do SEO until you build a new website. People do most searches on their phones, and the search engines won’t even show your website in mobile search results if your website isn’t responsive. The search engines do this because it’s in their best interest to provide a good user experience. We all know how frustrating it can be to use an unresponsive website on your mobile phone, so make sure your website is competitive with this critical feature!
Even if your website is only 3-4 years old, it’s probably time to update the design. The search engines update their rules as to what a good mobile experience is often and if your website uses older code for example, it could be holding you back in your SEO rank.
We already talked about choosing the right keywords and giving your SEO campaign enough time, but sometimes you’ll find that you just can’t get where you need to be with some seemingly perfect keywords or keyword phrases. Too many other people are spending way too much money, time and effort to compete, and the payout just isn’t worth it for the amount of searches. In those instances it may be best to cut your loses and choose a different strategy.
One strategy that can be helpful in this situation is niching it down. For example, if you are going after a general keyword like “home additions”, you may want to optimize for more niche keywords like “second story additions”, “front porch additions”, or “sunroom additions.” You would obviously also want to come up in a specific towns in your area. Because construction is an industry where you typically work in your local area, be sure to include towns in your keyword efforts.
The idea is to pick more keywords with lower competition. With this strategy you will definitely want to have a bigger keyword list, and you’ll need to be adding content to address them all.
Even though these six factors can really put a damper on your SEO, the good news is that they can easily be fixed with the right adjustments! If you aren’t sure what to do for your business website and SEO efforts, give us a call (207) 221-5822. We’d be happy to take a look!
Milly Welsh is the owner of Zebralove Web Solutions. She’s a big nerd but also enjoys art, making pottery, her 3 children and gardening.