What Is Stopping SEO From Working? Decoding SEO Challenges

Tired of investing time and effort into your website’s SEO and receiving little in return? This article underlines the leading causes of stagnant SEO campaigns and how to resolve them.

Stephanie Salud

Stephanie Salud — 15 minute read.

Beginning your business’ online journey can be challenging, especially if you have decided to undertake search engine optimisation by yourself.

Even if SEO efforts do not yield results in a day or even a week, it can be frustrating to see your hard work go unrewarded. Well, we assure you that you’re not alone in this.

Decoding Seo Challenges

Search Engine Optimisation is a set of varied techniques that aim to improve the SERP rankings. The idea is to enhance the visibility of the search engines so that more and more prospects can find your website. SEO requires one to be patient to show tangible results, but like in the above case, sometimes it just doesn’t show up. Given that people wait to see SEO results, it can be frustrating not to get any.

To understand SEO, you must know that it is a constantly evolving field. If you fast forward a few months, you will be surprised to see the number of new SEO tricks. The most challenging changes have to do with significant algorithm updates.

Want to learn more about SEO challenges that might be keeping your website away from finding success? Keep on reading.

This article will take a brief look at how search engines rank websites. Secondly, we will discuss some common SEO challenges and learn how to fix them. Lastly, we will discuss some advanced recent SEO changes and how they can challenge your SEO strategy. So without further ado, let’s get started.

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How Does Google Rank A Website?

The Google algorithm considers more than 200 factors when ranking a website. Google’s web crawlers first scan and index all pages on a website. After this, Google examines various aspects of the individual pages.

In the next step, Google’s algorithm determines the overall usefulness of the website to the user. It forms an opinion about the website’s authority and rates it accordingly.

While this might be an oversimplification of the ranking process, given the number of factors it takes into account, it would be beyond the scope of this article to dive deeper. SEO can play a crucial role in helping a website check many boxes. In short, when done right, SEO has the potential to improve your visibility on Google significantly.

One of the main reasons SEO is a continually evolving field is Google’s tendency to update the ranking algorithm constantly. Therefore, your SEO needs to change and evolve to stay top of the ranking game.

Seo Works Graphic

Why Are Organic Search Rankings So Crucial?

How your business is found online can be affected by organic search rankings. Organic search helps your business reach prospective customers whenever they use search engines like Google to search for queries relevant to your business. If you get your strategy right, you can strike gold in the form of newer, high-quality leads for your business.

As we have mentioned before, your organic search success will depend on how well you implement a solid SEO strategy for your business website.

Look at these SEO challenges that you might need to overcome to see the desired ranking and visibility results.

Some Common SEO Challenges & How To Fix Them

The following are some common SEO challenges that may have caused your SEO results to stagnate:

1. Not Targeting The Right Keywords In The Content

Keywords are arguably one of the most crucial organic search and SEO elements. Keywords inform the search engines about the relevance of your content to users’ search queries. Reaching your target audience is slim if you don’t target the right keywords and stuff your content with industry jargon.

The idea is that users generally ask more straightforward questions in their search queries. Sometimes a lack of long-tailed keywords can prove costly for your SEO strategy. If your website is stuffed with the wrong keywords, Google will find it hard to answer these questions. In such a scenario, your website’s rankings are bound to fall.

Another keyword issue that can hamper your SEO strategy is keyword stuffing. Google’s algorithms downgrade your website on the SERP if it detects a skewed keyword density in your website’s content.

Keyword Stuffing

How Can You Fix it?

The best way to avoid various keyword issues on your website is to start with basic keyword research. You can use one of the many powerful and free keyword tools on the web for this purpose. Make a list of the most suitable keywords and group them into primary and secondary. You must make it a point to include long-tail keywords in the web copy.

You should think like your target audience and search for keywords from their perspective. By doing this, your keyword strategy will be more effective. You will need to base your content strategy around the keywords you identify during your search.

Additionally, you must be extremely careful while including keywords in your content. To avoid keyword stuffing, you must strategically place your keywords. There is a thing such as too many keywords, and therefore, don’t try to outsmart search engine algorithms.

2. Failing To Build Trust With Your Target Audience With Your Content

The most important factor behind the success of any business is the trust it obtains from the target audience. Irrespective of your industry, one common denominator that can be the difference between success and failure is consumer trust.

Now, when you bring your business online and create a website, you must aim to gain the trust of your audience. The content of your website can lead to a trust deficit if it overwhelms or disappoints an incoming visitor. The following are some of the common reasons for this:

  • When your website is excessively sales-oriented, you lose a prospect’s trust. It could result from paying more attention to sales than providing users relevant information and real help.
  • Your website contains thin, poorly researched content.
  • Visitors feel misled when your content and keyword choices do not align.

Consumer Statistics Forbes

How To Fix it?

The first thing you need to do while writing content for your website is to think from customers’ perspectives. Whenever visitors land on your website, you must ensure that their needs are met.

Never try to brag about your business and its achievements excessively. It’s better to be humble than try to oversell your business. Secondly, research well before writing content and link to credible and authoritative information sources. The idea is to provide the most informative content to the visitors. Also, make your blogs and articles SEO-friendly.

Additionally, you can adopt new-age content on your website. For example, you could include live streams in your content strategy on your website or your social media handles.

A digital content marketing agency can also help you develop your website content. By addressing content issues, you will be able to improve your SEO efforts’ effectiveness significantly.

3. Having A Website That Is Not Responsive

A responsive website adapts its layout and design elements according to the device used. Responsiveness has gained momentum due to the increasing prevalence and dependence on mobile devices.

The majority of internet users access the web on their mobile devices today. Given the emergence of this phenomenon, Google now emphasises mobile responsiveness as an essential ranking factor.

In such a scenario, if your website is optimised for desktop users only, you are missing a vital part of your target market.

Overview Internet Usage

How To Fix It?

If your website is not responsive for mobile devices, it is highly advised you speak with a web developer. You will notice a change in your SEO results once your website is mobile-friendly.

4. You’re Failing To Implement Crucial SEO Best Practices

A vital goal of any SEO strategy is to make your website and its content stand out to search engine crawlers. On-page SEO involves a range of basic best practices that determine the overall strength of your website and its image in front of Google.

Some of these on-page SEO basics that you might be missing out on are as follows:

Titles & Meta Descriptions

When your web pages have missing titles and meta descriptions, Google’s search algorithms flag it as a negative aspect of your website. Creating engaging, relevant meta titles, tags, and descriptions are essential.

SSL Certificate

An SSL certificate is like a seal of safety for a given website. When you don’t use an SSL certificate for your website, users don’t view your website as a safe link and try to stay away from it. This leads to lesser interaction from prospects.

Ssl Works Wpbeginner

Appropriate Headers

Header tags are essential for search engine crawlers to understand the content on your website. Not having header tags hampers your SEO and decreases your content’s readability.

How To Fix It?

You must make it a point to add appropriate titles and meta descriptions for every website page. Not only that, you must include an SSL certificate for your website to secure it. A secure website is preferred both by search engines and users.

You should also include header tags in your web copy to help web crawlers navigate and understand your content easily. By applying header tags, you can also improve the readability of your website.

5. Keyword Cannibalisation

Keyword cannibalisation is arguably one of the most severe issues plaguing your SEO efforts. What is keyword cannibalisation to begin with?

Keyword cannibalisation happens when multiple pages, articles or blogs on your website are optimised for the exact keywords. When this happens, numerous pages on your website start competing for the same user queries. And naturally, competing with your content isn’t healthy for your SEO and your website.

When your web pages compete with one another due to keyword cannibalisation, their chances of ranking decrease significantly. In addition to that, your backlink profile and CTR(click-through rate) also get diluted.

Keyword Cannibalization Infographic

How To Fix It?

To detect and rectify keyword cannibalisation on your website, follow these steps:

Content Audit — Firstly, you must thoroughly audit the content on each of your website pages. The content audit should focus on matching the keywords to each page. Making a list will help you find the optimised pages for identical/similar keywords or phrases.

Content Performance Analysis — Once you have identified the pages that suffer from possible cannibalisation, it’s time to check the SERP performance of these pages.

Identifying What To Keep — Based on the results of your performance analysis, you can identify the vital pages and perform better than other affected pages. Whichever pages have a better performance, you can keep them.

Merging/Removing Others — You have to decide the final course of action in the last step. You can either merge multiple affected pages or remove those that might not add value to the better-performing ones.

6. Slow Page Speed

The digital age has significantly reduced the attention spans of people. You cannot make consumers wait too long to get the information they need through their search queries. When they wait more than 3 to 4 seconds, their patience runs out.

Page speed is when a web page takes to load on a device with all its elements completely. If your website contains pages that don’t load quickly, visitors bouncing off your website are way higher. A higher bounce rate means that your website has poor engagement rates.

Google’s search algorithms take engagement metrics very seriously. Therefore, you can’t afford to play around with slow page loading speeds. Your page rankings and SEO get penalised by Google for slow page loading speeds.

Bounce Rate Works

How To Fix It?

First, you need to check all individual pages on your website for their loading speed. You can take the help of one of many free online tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights.

When you have identified the pages that need to be improved, you can follow the below steps to maximise the speed of your website:

7. Poor Site Navigation

Your on-page SEO is also affected by its navigation structure. Your website’s structure determines how easy it is for visitors and search engine crawlers to navigate the content.

When your website has a haphazard and tedious structure, the chances of your visitors bouncing off are higher than ever. As we have mentioned before, a higher bounce rate negatively impacts your engagement rate.

How To Fix It?

You can solve the navigation problem on your website by giving a straightforward navigation menu. You should also create clear sitemaps to help search engine crawlers to navigate between pages without any difficulty.

Additionally, you can offer some self-configuration tools to your users. These tools can instil a sense of control and allow users to customise their navigation experience on your website.

Lastly, ensure that menu labels and categories are easily understandable without extensive thought.

8. Poor Linking Strategy

Some off-site SEO tactics, such as link building, are crucial for better rankings. Better quality links play a vital role in improving your website’s authority. It is a well-known fact that websites with good authority rank better.

When your backlink building strategy lacks quality and vision, you lose out on improving your website’s authority. If your backlinks don’t come from high-quality and authoritative sources, you cannot rank higher than your competition.

When you get most of your links from websites that focus solely on trading backlinks, you can get penalised by Google. You are doing a great disservice to your SEO strategy if you focus on 100s of low-quality backlinks than a limited number of high-quality ones.

External Backlinks

How To Fix It?

Use free online tools such as Google Search Console to identify low-quality links on your website. You must ensure that your backlinks only come from websites that contain relevant content in your niche. In addition to that, you should always examine whether a given link will add value to your business.

You should ensure that your backlinks don’t come from spammy websites. Always check websites for pages like Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions to identify the legitimacy of a website.

Remove all low-quality links from your website. In this way, you can start rebuilding the authority and credibility of your website.

Some Advanced SEO Challenges To Keep In Mind

Now, let’s look at some relatively advanced and new SEO challenges that you should be careful about. These are:

1. User Experience(UX) Is The Key

The recent Google algorithm update has introduced Core Web Vitals. These three metrics measure loading quality, interactivity and visual stability. These respective metrics are:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  • First Input Display (FID)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

The introduction of these metrics points towards Google’s attention on improving the user experience(UX) on websites.

Given the emphasis on UX, you cannot afford to lose out points to a lacklustre user experience for visitors on your website. Therefore, you should always ensure a straightforward navigation structure, improve the page loading speed, and other factors that impact user experience.

2. Changes In Search By Google

Google constantly tests and changes elements in its search environment. These changes generally fall in the range of thousands. These changes can directly affect your SEO strategies as well.

While you can’t do much to control these changes, what you can do is control your response to them. You need to be in the know and research these changes to tweak your SEO strategy accordingly.

3. Fight For The Top-spot: Increase In Competition

As more and more businesses are coming online, the fight for that coveted top spot in the SERPs is only tightening. Every industry is witnessing a massive influx of new companies on the internet.

You can’t do much to control this influx. But you can do a lot on your website to stay ahead of the competition. You should stay on top of industry research, ensure a great user experience, and evolve your algorithm changes.

Get Your SEO To The Top!

We have discussed various challenges that could be interfering with your SEO efforts. You must stay on top of these challenges and mitigate them as soon as you become aware of their presence. Along with this, keep up to date with the latest trends and algorithm changes.

At sitecentre®, we understand that undertaking your SEO and digital marketing can be challenging. We strive to assist small businesses to reach their full potential. If you require any assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

That’s all for this time, good luck!

Stephanie Salud

Stephanie Salud

Stephanie comes from a background specialising in off-page SEO, from link building, citations and strategic brand placements to increase search rankings. Stephanie brings to the team a unique approach to off-page and on-page optimisations for our clients.

Find them on their website: sitecentre® and LinkedIn.

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