Why Is My SEO Not Working Search Engine Optimization Tips

81% of consumers conduct online searches before buying a product.

So, it’s more than likely that the people landing on your website organically arrive there after exploring your market via an online search.

Maybe you’re new to search engine optimization (SEO) or maybe you’ve been implementing key SEO initiatives for a while now.

Either way, if your site isn’t seeing the rankings and traffic you want, it might be because your SEO strategies are failing you.

But that doesn’t mean your brand is doomed. You simply need to know how to improve your SEO marketing tactics and provide users with the high-value content that they – and Google – are looking for.

75% of people never scroll past page one of search results.

That means that your business needs to make SEO a priority. Not only that — your brand needs to make correct SEO initiatives a priority.

You know this. But what you may not know is that all SEO strategies are not created equally.

Unlike hiring a plumber to fix your sink, which is usually a straightforward and understood process, SEO entails a wide range of services that are often not well understood by decision-makers.

This creates an environment where many vendors are better at selling SEO than actually doing it effectively – or not really doing anything at all.

Worst case scenario, you may end up hurting your rankings rather than helping them.

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10 Reasons Your SEO Isn’t Working (And How To Fix It)

1. You Haven’t Performed A Technical SEO Audit

Performing an SEO audit is a necessary first step when developing your SEO strategy. This technical procedure can identify key problems and inefficiencies in your content, design and overall technical makeup of your website.

Without a technical SEO audit, you run the risk of repeating mistakes you may have made in the past with your SEO strategy, while also failing to develop a foundational understanding of your best opportunities and biggest threats from an SEO perspective.

Where Your Brand Went Wrong

Many brands forget this step entirely and try to fix their SEO strategies without really understanding what’s wrong in the first place.

Additionally, you might not be using the right tools to uncover your website’s performance or understand what the information you gather in the audit means.   

This could lead to Google misunderstanding key components of your website, not ranking your content for the appropriate keywords, indexing your site incorrectly or punishing you for mistakes that you don’t even know you’re making.

Tools like SEMRush are great for conducting keyword research.

How Your Brand Can Fix This

The most effective way of fixing this problem is by teaming up with a professional SEO services provider who can perform this audit and give you necessary and actionable insights.

In addition, you can use reliable SEO tools such as SEMRush and Ahrefs. These will allow you to track your website’s SEO health, discover which keywords you are ranking for, and which pages are ranking for those specific keywords.

Google Analytics and Google Search Console are other professional resources that will show you how your website is performing and ensure that Google is properly seeing your website.

To get your SEO back on track following an SEO audit:

  • Work with SEO pros and web developers to fix code issues that may be hindering proper indexing and rankings.
  • An SEO audit will identify site speed, mobile friendliness, content value, metadata and more. These audit services understand what search engines look for to determine rankings.
  • Map your website, content and link building strategies to reflect top keyword opportunities.

With this information, you can craft an overarching SEO strategy that will help your website rank on page one.

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2. You Aren’t Conducting Effective Keyword Research

You can’t just pick a keyword out of thin air and decide to start optimizing for it. Brands need to conduct strategic research to ensure the phrases they optimize their website for are keywords that their consumers actually search for, and that they represent a high level of intent to purchase your products or services.

Where Your Brand Went Wrong

For starters, you just guessed what keywords to use.

Other ways improper keywords research can fail you include:

  • Not using reliable keyword research tools
  • Blindly following your competitors without conducting your own proper research
  • Using keywords that are not achievable (aka, they have a high keyword difficulty and many sites are competing to rank for it)
  • Optimizing for keywords with a low search volume (aka not enough people are searching for them)
  • Using keywords that aren't relevant to your brand or audience
  • Not including the keywords you’re trying to rank effectively in your content marketing strategy

How Your Brand Can Fix This

In order to ensure you’re hitting the mark, you need to:

  • Use proper tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs and Yoast to identify the right keywords
  • Use those tools to determine approximately how often you should include those keywords
  • Make sure you include keywords in metadata, titles and headlines -- and front load them whenever possible.
  • Prioritize the user experience and keywords that make sense to the reader first and foremost.

Some businesses are not even aware that there is data available to research exactly which keywords their customers are searching for, how often they are searching for them, and how difficult they will be to rank your website for them. Make sure you take advantage of this opportunity!

3. You Aren’t Publishing Valuable Content (And You Aren’t Updating Outdated Content)

72% of marketers cite content creation as their most effective SEO initiative. 

That’s because content is king. However, it is easy for brands to create a content marketing strategy that doesn’t complement SEO initiatives or captivate consumers.

Where Your Brand Went Wrong

The biggest mistake your brand is making with your content (assuming you are being consistent with publishing it!) is not crafting it around your best keyword opportunities.

Maybe you aren’t even considering your target keywords at all, and are just blogging because you heard it was “good to do for SEO.”

Plus, your brand might be providing content that isn’t valuable and informative. It’s seen as low quality and only written for Google.

This harms user experience, increases bounce rates and decreases time users spend on site -- all of which make websites rank lower.

Another misstep is creating solely promotional content. 60% of consumers are distrustful of promotional and sponsored content. So, you need to make sure what you’re providing your audience is valuable and informative.

How Your Brand Can Fix It

Google and other search engines care about the quality of your content. Therefore, it needs to be:

  • High-value
  • Informative
  • Beneficial for your audiences
  • Include strategic keywords that work well with the article topic.
  • Thorough - 2000 words, especially for highly competitive keywords, is a good standard

The more valuable a consumer finds your content, the more credible your site appears to Google and the higher you rank.

“For our clients, every blog post we publish with our done-for-you blog writing service is sent for review, along with our target keyword, search volume, and ranking difficulty score,” says Kris Asleson, digital strategist at Midas Marketing. “While there’s more to a great blog post than merely trying to rank for one primary keyword, this at least gives our clients some understanding and direction of the content strategy we are executing on their behalf.”

In addition, republishing old content that you’ve optimized and added to is equally important for SEO.

Updating and republishing content can increase traffic by 11%.

You don’t need to solely focus on creating new pieces. Instead, you can simply continue improving upon already-existing content that provides value.

To successfully re-optimize old content, you can:

  • Integrate more statistics and credible facts
  • Link to reputable sources
  • Include relevant keywords
  • Keep sentences short and concise
  • Avoid passive voice
  • Utilize high-value images, graphs, charts, and videos

One good SEO strategy you can use here is to regularly track your content performance, and optimize posts once they reach a certain ranking threshold, such as page 3 or better in search results for their keywords.

4. Your Website Isn’t Built To Convert

Google doesn’t just care about your content. It cares about how your website functions.

One important element that really factors into your search engine ranking is site speed – and this is becoming more of a factor every year.

Bounce rates increase by 12% for every second it takes your website to load.

If it takes longer than two seconds for your website to load, you’ll likely see bounce rates on average of 50% higher.

A fast website loading time also signifies a great UX design, which is a major green flag for search engines.

Other important user experience indicators include 404 pages and broken links. If your website has a bunch of links that lead to non-existent pages, your rankings will suffer.

Where Your Brand Went Wrong

Your site speed can take a major hit due to the platform it lives on.

Some platforms like Wix, WordPress and Drupal are great platforms — but if you don’t make the necessary updates, your site speed will take a hit.

Caching could also be slowing down your site. Caching is an important aspect of a website because it stores small amounts of memory which leads to quicker load speeds.

Similarly, an unreliable or unsecured server can compromise your design and lead to decreased loading speeds. For example:

  • Your code and web development might need improvements
  • Your business could include browser caching

These slight errors can drastically hold your website back and lead to slow load times.

Finally, if you remove a web page without adding a 301 redirect, you’re disrupting the user experience and directing potential conversions to a useless page that will diminish the trust they have in your brand. Make sure if you change a page’s URL that you always include a redirection from the old URL to the new one!

YouTube houses a lot of content, but it maintains a fast site speed.

How Your Brand Can Fix It

  • Use key tools to check your site speed
  • Enlist the help of website builders and developers to make the necessary technical edits to your design
  • Ensure images, code and platforms aren’t causing your site to lag

You need to ensure that your site is running at maximum capacity. A technical SEO audit will help you see if your site is fast enough.

But another great tool for checking your site’s loading speed is Google PageSpeed Insights.

This resource will test your website as a whole as well as individual pages to see how fast they load and if there are any barriers blocking its speed and efficiency.

From there, you can formulate a roadmap to improve the faults you find.

Plus, work with your web development team to automatically redirect any broken or removed web pages to a fully functional page with a similar message.

You should also remove any broken interlinks from your web pages regularly. 

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5. Your Images Are Slowing Down Your Site

Like we’ve stated, site speed is important. But your images could also be having a negative impact on your loading times.

Where Your Brand Went Wrong

When images are too large, they can obliterate screens and create a poor user experience.

Additionally, large images can take a long time to load.

39% of users will stop engaging with a design — on a desktop and on mobile — if the images take too long to load. Big images make your design look sloppy and disorganized.

Large images and slow loading times also ruin mobile browsing sessions. This is bad for online experiences and rankings -- especially because Google is placing a higher emphasis on mobile platforms and SEO.

The Verge produces a lot of visual content, but images are optimized and sized correctly so pages load effectively.

How Your Brand Can Fix It

Images can be fixed by using tools like Gimp, Photoshop and others. Wordpress users can implement resizing plugins that do a lot of the optimization heavy lifting for you. Some of these tools are free while others are paid.

But regardless, you can easily find tools that compress image file size without a noticeable difference to the naked eye.

This ensures the site loads quickly but the image looks the same.

It’s also important for your brand to use JPG or JPEG — not PNG. 

JPEG files can be compressed smaller without any noticeable differences and therefore help the website load faster. Also, aim for under 500 kb when it comes to image size.

Following these best practices will ensure that your image isn’t too big and doesn’t have a negative impact on how your site loads.

6. You Aren’t Optimizing Your Website For Mobile

57% of people won’t recommend a site that doesn’t have a mobile-friendly design.

If people are quickly bouncing from your mobile site, then you’re showing Google that your site isn’t worth being ranked.

In recent years,  Google has moved to a mobile-first indexing approach. So if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, your chances at ranking for your target keywords drop significantly

Where Your Brand Went Wrong

The biggest problem your brand can encounter is that your design just isn’t responsive, meaning it only functions optimally on desktop and desktop alone.

Starting in 2019, over 80% of global internet usage will be on mobile.

A few reasons for a lacking mobile design are as follows:

  • You didn't create a mobile website at the same time as your desktop site
  • You used the wrong coding language
  • You block images on mobile
  • Loading speeds are too slow
  • Images are too big

How Your Brand Can Fix This

You can fix your mobile SEO strategy by simply investing more time and energy into your mobile design. To create a mobile-friendly platform:

  • Ensure the content and imagery loads properly and quickly.
  • Make sure the font sizes are readable.
  • Make CTAs clear and clickable.
  • Use proper image sizing and format.
  • Keep testing your design for all screen sizes

Following these steps will ensure your website ranks well and engages mobile users.

Patagonia is a great example of an effective mobile website that leads users on a journey that is effective, efficient and engaging. As a result, their site gets an immediate ranking boost. And yours can too.

7. You Aren’t Investing In Internal Links And Link Building

Both internal and external links are important when it comes to SEO.

Embedding valuable and relevant links will increase your visibility and build credibility in your brand. That aligns you as a leader in the eyes of these search engines.

“Data has shown consistently throughout the years that having a healthy variety of external links to your website is one of the top-ranking factors for SEO domination,” says Asleson. “Getting authoritative external links placed on industry-relevant websites pointing back to your site takes a lot of work and is one of the reasons SEO can be expensive in the eyes of certain business owners and marketing managers. Make sure you get clarity on this element of your link building strategy before you engage with any SEO link building agency! At Midas, we have several SEO packages we offer as a done-for-you service, all of which can be customized specifically for your business.”

It’s worth noting though, that links can hurt your SEO strategy if you’re not using them correctly.

Where Your Brand Went Wrong

  • You use no-follow links so Google can't see them.
  • Links don’t open in the same window which disrupts the user experience.
  • You link too often on the same keyword which looks spammy.
  • You aren't linking at all to other pages on your site.
  • Your interlinks and CTAs to other sections on your website don't make sense for the user.
  • Your links come from websites that lack credibility or have poor domain authorities.
  • You're including too many links to the same sources.
  • You aren’t getting the same follow links back from other sources.
  • The links come from sites or topics that are unrelated to your brand
Business Insider does a great job building credibility through links.

How Your Brand Can Fix It

  • Categorize internal links as follow links so Google can see them.
  • Ensure that the keywords hyperlinked make sense with the content on the page the link is directing to.
  • Don’t only link on the same keywords every time -- make your wording unique.
  • Don’t overuse your internal links – a couple links on a 1,000-word page is fine.
  • Reach out to relevant, reputable sites for link building opportunities
  • Diversify your anchor text among your external links and focus on branded links, where your company name, rather than your keyword, is the linked text.

Internal links direct users to other areas of your site while external links direct users to other sources.

Your website needs both to boost your content and demonstrate that you are a credible source.  

Internal links make it easier for your site to be indexed by search engine bots. They also make it easier for your audience to navigate throughout your site, creating a more pleasing user experience that is imperative for SEO.

Following these building best practices will ensure Google picks your site and ranks it positively.

The title tag can be seen when you scroll over the tab with your mouse.

8. You Forgot To Optimize Page Titles, H2s And Metadata

Metadata, headlines and titles all have a place in the overall Google ranking algorithm.

Page titles, meta descriptions, and page heading tags are what search engines read first when they index your site.

They are crucial because they help Google understand what your page is about, which helps them accurately rank it.

A title is the phrasing you can see when you roll over the title tab on a website. This is the information Google analyzes and uses to populate a search page.

An H (heading) tag is the line of code that distinguishes a line of text as important and bolded in your website. It gives a piece of content structure and clarity for both users and search engines.

A meta description is the block of content that search engines use to understand the content on your page. This is the little block of text that sits under the homepage title on a search page.

Where Your Brand Went Wrong

If you aren't using any keywords in these areas -- or neglecting them completely -- your page won’t rank well (or at all).

Conversely, stuffing too many keywords into H1s, H2s and H3s can look like spam.

Other problems arise when your meta descriptions don't concisely and accurately describe your content. If this area of content isn’t compelling or doesn’t exist, you won’t entice users to click through.

It’s important to note here that ranking is just the first step! If your meta description isn’t compelling, your site may rank high, but your click-through rate (CTR) will suffer as users won’t be inspired to click on your URL before scrolling down to later results.

Here's an example of metadata optimization in action.

How Your Brand Can Fix It

  • Make sure your titles, tags and descriptions are the correct lengths.
  • Front load your keywords whenever possible.
  • Do keyword research to take advantage of relevant terms.

Don’t be afraid to include a few H2s and H3s that solely exist to improve user experience and content quality!
These website elements grab the attention of search engine bots and are embedded in the HTML of your site.

This content carries weight and adds value to your page by establishing a solid background and foundation for search engines to base your authority and credibility. Plus, it adds value for consumers as well.

9. Your Images Aren’t Optimized For Search

It’s important that you include imagery -- including pictures, illustrations and video -- on your website.

However, if they aren’t optimized, Google won’t notice them and they won’t positively impact your SEO rankings.

Where Your Brand Went Wrong

Pictures and video also help to lead consumers on a journey and help to condense important information, which increases conversions.

Images alone earn 3% of all Google clicks!

However, these images need certain metadata to be effective, including:

  • Alt image tags
  • Alt image titles
  • Image captions (when appropriate)

If you forget alt image titles and tags, Google will have a harder time understanding your page. And if Google can’t understand your page, these images won’t help your page populate a Google search result or improve traditional search rankings.

How Your Brand Can Fix This

Because Google reads alt image titles and alt image tags, including them will automatically improve your content and rankings.

In alt image titles and tags, include appropriate and relevant SEO keywords. Alt image tags should also describe the image -- which also helps general website accessibility.

The good news? These two metadata fields can be the same! Just make sure not to to stuff a whole paragraph of keywords into your image’s SEO data – it will hurt your rankings.

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10. Your SEO Goals, Timeline, Budget & Reports Do Not Match

It can take up to 6 months or more to see any valuable upticks in website rankings from making SEO improvements.

Higher rankings become more difficult with competitive keywords that have many sites competing for them.

This uphill battle can result in a long search engine optimization process that is expensive and has smaller, less frequent milestones.

Where Your Brand Went Wrong

SEO takes a lot of time and a lot of money, especially for highly competitive markets and keywords.

But brands – particularly those with smaller budgets – misstep when they:

  • Throw all of their money into a keyword that is nearly impossible to rank for.
  • Expect drastic ranking improvements in a short amount of time.
  • Continually hire and fire SEO experts in search of fast results that are not realistic.
  • Don’t have access to website data, SEO campaign performance analytics, desired milestones and deadlines, and clear-cut reporting information.

How You Can Fix It

Set realistic expectations! If you have a smaller budget, it may take you a long time to rank for major keywords.

In the meantime, set achievable objectives. Look for less competitive keywords or local SEO opportunities and invest in strategic improvements to help you rank there first.

That will get the SEO ball rolling while you slowly invest in your most lucrative keywords.

Plus, have patience! Search engine optimization can be draining – mentally and financially. If might seem that nothing is working, you might get frustrated, and you might even panic and cycle through many SEO experts searching for a quick fix as a result.

But the reality is that there is no quick fix. Find a reliable SEO company (like Midas Marketing – if you found this article helpful!), that communicates honestly with you and can help you set realistic goals.

Then, have patience as you work together to improve organic traffic and site rankings.

“Even though SEO takes time, a winning SEO partner will be able to guide you along the way,” advises Asleson. “For example, you will gain a ton of valuable insights during the first month of research and analysis with our campaigns. You’ll effectively understand the entire search landscape for your business. After that, we optimize your website SEO to reflect the best opportunities we find considering your budget and goals. As we begin the monthly link building and content marketing campaign, we aren’t just vaguely tracking your business growth – we are looking at new keywords ranked in the top 100, how those keywords are moving, how well your organic website traffic is growing, and several other factors that set the stage for the endgame – gaining new customers through organic discovery of your business. So, while it does take a while, it’s not a matter of simply hoping new customers start finding your website at some indefinite point in the future.”

Ultimately, the best SEO firm for your brand will produce regular, in-depth and easy-to-understand SEO campaign reports. These will outline:

  • How the initiatives are performing.
  • How your website is moving throughout the rankings for specific keywords.
  • Analysis as to what worked and what did not.
  • Suggestions for future improvements.
  • Projected results.
  • And more!

Black Hat SEO Techniques Harm Your Website Rankings

Black hat SEO refers to the practice of trying to game the search engine algorithms by over-optimizing your website, content, and link building tactics to create an advantage on your competitors without building the natural site authority to rank for your target keywords. Check this How to Plan Your Backlinks guide from OutreachMama in order to stay in the white lane and get the most out of the SERPs. 

Brands that conduct black hat SEO follow and often manipulate search engine guidelines and algorithms to a T without taking into consideration the human aspect of the online experience. Thus, websites that utilize black hat SEO techniques are not helpful for users and are eventually penalized with a lower search engine ranking.

Engaging in black hat SEO tactics is unethical, does not follow search engine optimization best practices, and exists solely for the purpose of cheating your way to the top in a short amount of time rather than running an SEO campaign that builds a real relationship with Google and other search engines.

As such, utilizing black hat techniques can get your site banned by major search engine players. So, it’s best to stay away from the following tactics:

  • Content automation
  • Building links with WordPress themes, widgets, etc.
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Hidden text and links
  • Expired domain names
  • Link schemes/link manipulation
  • Duplicate content

Improve Your Website Rankings With White Hat SEO

Instead, businesses can use white hat SEO techniques -- or “search engine-approved” SEO best practices -- to rank higher on search engines.

True, organic SEO strategies are designed to promote a website’s content and authority in a natural way. By doing this, user experience is prioritized above search engine algorithms, which ironically improves rankings more efficiently.

Some white hat search engine optimization strategies to implement include:

  • Creating a mobile-friendly website
  • Improving UX
  • Link building from reliable, relevant websites
  • Accurate keyword research
  • Optimized metadata
  • Pinpointing content that already ranks well, adding to it and promoting it

Because intent is already established through the user’s search query, the quality of leads from organic SEO initiatives is often better than through other marketing campaigns and strategies.

Leads from search engines have a 14.6% close rate compared to other outbound leads which have less than a 2% close rate.

If you aren’t getting the organic traffic, leads and sales you’d like to be getting, it’s time to take a closer look at your strategy and make the appropriate changes.

We sat down with leading digital agencyMidas Marketing to learn why your SEO is failing and how you can fix your tactics and see rankings rise right before your eyes.

Conclusion

Optimizing your website to rank organically for your top keywords isn’t as hard as it might seem.

That said, it is still an endeavor that will take time, careful planning and a deep understanding of the technical and digital marketing landscape.

If your SEO efforts have failed in the past, either through poor performance from an SEO company or through your attempt to do it yourself, you can pinpoint the pain areas holding you back in this article.

SEO is a jungle and it’s easy to make mistakes that hurt your brand. However, search is continuing to become a crucial marketing channel for all businesses – and always will be.

Having a trusted SEO vendor on your team is crucial if you aren’t an expert yourself. Learn from the past and prepare for the future with these 10 simple fixes.

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