You worked hard on your SEO strategy. And for a while it worked perfectly. Until it didn’t. But you only notice it when things start looking really bad. It is not unusual for a busy entrepreneur to miss the signs that their SEO strategy isn’t working anymore. You have dozens of other things to do at the same time.
However, you should take the time to look for the issues we will detail in this article. The problem is that the farther down your website drop in Google rankings, the harder and longer it will take you to bring it back to the top.
How Can a SEO Strategy Stop Working If You Played by the Rules?
Unfortunately, there is still a lot of lack of clarity and information on how SEO works. A lot of entrepreneurs believe that they have to set up their SEO strategy once and that’s that.
This is a classic instance of why the SEO strategy isn’t working anymore. You cannot set it and forget about it. SEO is a continuous process not a one-time task. The reason for it is that Google and other search engines change the algorithm for ranking sites and displaying results.
Thus, the rules you played by two years ago are obsolete and no not apply anymore. What used to be good practice years ago is now on the fringe of breaking ranking rules. Alternatively, what used to be an optional feature is now a compulsory one.
How Do You Know that the SEO Strategy Isn’t Working?
You must not wait until you notice a drop in sales. By that point, your website is in disarray from the point of view of SEO. The best thing to do is to collect Google Analytics data on a weekly or bi-monthly basis and look at some of the key metrics that indicate the success or failure of your SEO strategy.
The top signs that you have a problem with SEO on your website are:
1. A Sharp Drop in Organic Traffic
Organic traffic (or earned traffic) indicates the number of visitors landing on your website from:
- A Google search
- A link on a social media platform
- A link on another website
- Typing your site URL directly in the browser bar.
It is natural to see fluctuation in the organic traffic within some reasonable limits. But if you see a sudden drop, then your SEO strategy isn’t working. In fact, it is quite possible that your site received a penalty from Google.
You can find if this is the case, log in to Google Search Console and find the tab for penalties. Here, you will learn whether the penalty affects your entire site or just a portion of it, as well as suggestions to remedy the problem.
2. Your Keywords Are Dropping in Ranking
There are several factors that determine a sudden drop in keyword rankings. However, the most important one is that Google no longer considers them relevant for the content on your site.
One of the biggest battles the search engine is fighting is against keyword stuffing and trying to rank for popular keywords that do not match the intent of the site. This is what the entire EAT ranking factor is about:
It is very likely that your business evolved from its initial scope and you adapted your website content over time, but forgot to perform a new keyword research.
Also, people are not searching for products and services in the same way as they did years ago. From short keywords, the trend has changed to conversational key phrases, containing details.
3. The Bounce Rate Is High
Bounce rate is the metric indicating how many visitors leave a website after just a few seconds after landing on it. In general, bounce rates are rather high and vary from industry from industry.
But a bounce rate above 70% is a clearly worrisome issue. It shows that the SEO strategy isn’t working and you are getting the wrong kind of visitors on your site. While the keywords match their search intent, what they find on the site is not what they were looking for.
4. You Have a Low Conversion Rate
Traffic isn’t everything. You don’t get money from website traffic, but from sales. And these sales come from customers who decided to take action based on what they found on your site. You can see how many people actually took an action to your CTAs in Google Analytics – the conversion rate metric.
If this metric is very low compared to your organic traffic, then your SEO isn’t working. Visitors do not find reasons to subscribe to a newsletter, join a webinar, or start a free trial. They are not convinced that your business is the right fit for their needs.
Thus, you have a significant gap between the intent of your content, and the needs and interests of your target audience.
5. You Don’t Have a Clear Goal
SEO works only if you know what you want to achieve. Determining goals influences everything, from keyword research to content topics. There are two ways in which this is a problem:
- When you do not have a clear goal
- When you try to pursue several goals at the same time.
You must analyse and determine what is important for your business on the short and medium term:
- Increased brand awareness
- Getting more sales
- Getting customers to walk in your store.
Once you have decided on a goal, you can start building an effective SEO strategy.
6. You Have a Lot of Low Quality Backlinks
Backlinks are a two-edged sword. The high quality ones will boost your domain ranking, the low quality ones will drag it down with them. At the very beginning, when you’ve just launched your site, you are happy for every backlink you get.
But, you have to check and see who linked to your site? Is it a sketchy site with unauthorised sales? Is it a porn site? Is it an international site that does not appear to have any connection with your field of business?
You must make sure that you set a rule to disavow spammy links leading to your site. Also, you have to consider a selective guest posting strategy. Article directories will do more harm than good. Only look for high quality guest post sites to publish your articles.
7. You Have Not Changed Your SEO Strategy in a While
Finally, we come back to the topic we started with: your SEO strategy isn’t working because it is outdated. Some practices, like putting a lot of keywords in a page, is no longer a ranking factor, but a penalty factor.
Mobile optimised sites are the norm, not just a bonus for your customers. Google has completed the mobile-first indexing and is penalising sites that do not offer optimal browsing on smartphones and tablets.
Thus, remember that even the best SEO strategy only works for a while. You must always stay alert to the changes in the Google ranking algorithm and make all the necessary changes in due time.
When SEO isn’t working, you are losing potential and current customers. And you cannot afford this. Therefore, remember that you must work on your SEO continuously and make sure that your site meets all the ranking criteria set by Google.