Sucky SEO: Top 3 Signs You Need to Work on Your SEO Strategy
It is no secret most website owners tend to go the DIY route when it comes to on-page and off-page SEO. Why wouldn’t they? SEO seems pretty straightforward, right?
While hiring a professional SEO strategist may not be cheap, many website owners quickly figure out they are entirely out of their element once they begin optimizing their site for search engines. In the end, getting a well-ranked website is more than just designing a great looking page layout. Sure, you need to have an aesthetically pleasing website to work with, but you also need to have a site that engages your audience by helping them find the answers they are currently searching for. You can do this with proper SEO! Without it, you can leave your site with poor rankings in search engines. As a result, that leads to sparse traffic, which, in turn, provides fewer conversions.
Luckily, there are plenty of red flags that could indicate your SEO game is weak. Here are the top 3 telltale signs you need to work on your SEO strategy.
Why Is SEO Important in the First Place?
Let’s keep it simple.
Every business, including yours, is looking to make money. The only way to succeed at this is by getting customers to buy your products or services. Because of this, you want to be visible and easily accessible to your audience. And in today’s era, that means having an excellent online presence. Having strong SEO can help your brand stand out among the competition by ranking well for highly relevant search queries within your industry. As a result of proper SEO, you can become the industry expert potential customers turn to, get the opportunity to connect with your audience and offer solutions to your customers’ problems.
3 Vital Signs You Need to Change Up Your SEO Strategy
Regular Downtick in Organic Traffic
The primary reason most business owners like yourself get into SEO in the first place is to give you and your business a strong position in the SERPs. By ranking higher on Google, Bing, or Yahoo, you’d get highly targeted traffic, which you could later turn into paying customers. Even with quality content, if your SEO game is weak, your traffic will suffer.
How to Notice It
Just head on over to Google Analytics and take a look at your traffic over the past six months.
How Could This Happen?
If you begin to notice a downtick in your site’s organic traffic, especially over a short period, you have a problem. There are various common reasons as to why you may be experiencing a decrease in traffic, such as:
- Google slamming you with a sudden penalty.
- Your competitors have upped their SEO strategy and have outpaced you significantly.
- Your website suddenly experienced a change in search trends.
- New Google algorithm changes.
- You are targeting the wrong audience and have less engagement on your content.
- Indexing errors that cause Google to have difficulty crawling your site.
How to Fix It:
- Determine which penalty is affecting your site using Google Webmaster Tools.
- If it is a technical issue, follow the solutions offered by the Webmaster Console.
- If it is an algorithmic issue, run the date of the penalty against the time Google last ran its algorithms. Then, make the necessary changes on your site based on your findings. Use the site Moz to view the complete history of the latest algorithm changes made by Google to remain up to date.
Your Competitor’s SEO Strategy Is Better
- Use the free Screaming Frog SEO, a free website crawler that allows you to crawl any website’s URL to analyze its on-page and technical SEO. See firsthand what your competitor is doing that you are not.
- Make any changes you deem necessary to outrank your competitor.
A Sudden Change in Your Niche’s Search Trends
- Check the latest trends in your niche using the free tool Google Trends.
- See what your audience is currently searching for in your niche and craft your content to reflect the latest trends.
Targeting the Wrong Audience
- Create a buyer persona — a buyer persona is a dynamic creation based on real people and real data you can create to represent the buying behavior of the ideal customer in your target audience.
- Create multiple buyer personas to reflect different kinds of customers in your audience.
- Adjust your content and SEO strategy to reflect your buyer persona.
- Determine the cause of the index error — use Google Search Console to do this.
- Open a new window in the browser and visit the page in question.
- Test the live URL and request more info from Google to fix it.
Your Organic Traffic Disappears Overnight
Typically, if your search engine rankings have a sudden drop in a few hours, it could be an indicator of one thing — shady SEO tactics finally catching up with you. Shady SEO tactics are also known as black hat SEO. While such tactics can help you rank your site faster than traditional SEO methods, they can often backfire. That is especially the case nowadays as search engines are becoming better and better at identifying these shady practices. Typical black hat SEO tactics can include:
- Keyword stuffing
- Spun content
- Purchasing backlinks
- Spamming comments
How to Notice It
The best way to notice if you have a sudden drop in organic traffic is to use Google Analytics. Check the “Audience” tab and see what has happened to your organic traffic within the last 24 to 48 hours. Then, go to the “Acquisition” tab and check all traffic within the same time frame.
How Could This Happen?
If you are impatient to give standard SEO strategies the time they need to be successful, you can give in to the temptation and try out black hat SEO tactics to garner faster results. Purchasing “gigs” that use these methods may seem like a quick way to gain results. However, they can have an opposite effect in the long-term.
How to Fix It?
There is no easy and fast solution to fixing a sudden drop in organic traffic. To recover from that will take time, patience, and plenty of hard work. The best way to fix a sudden fall in traffic includes:
- Stop using all black hat SEO tactics immediately.
- Comb through individual posts, blogs, and pages to remove excess keywords, rewrite spun content, and remove spam comments as necessary.
- Turn to guest blogging for backlink power — when doing so, make sure to post relevant content on websites relevant to that niche to avoid future Google penalties.
- Give it time — once updated, give your website between four to six weeks for the changes to be registered by Google and show back up in the SERPs.
Slow Website Loading Speed
When asking consumers what the top 3 qualities they look for in a quality website are, it isn’t shocking to see that the number-one thing they want is quick website loading speed. Yes, site owners can spend A LOT of money on website design, development, and SEO. But as a result, the loading speed of their sites is too often overlooked.
How to Notice It
The best way to ensure your website’s pages are loading fast is to use a collective of free tools available such as:
- Pingdom Tools — check a page’s loading time in real-time to analyze it and bottleneck potential loading issues before they get out of hand.
- PageSpeed Insights by Google Developers — this tool allows you to check the loading speed of your website’s pages on all devices to ensure fast loading speeds.
How Could This Happen?
Website speed greatly depends on your hosting provider. Hence, the reliability of your hosting provider can ultimately affect your website speed, and thus, customer engagement. Sure, a cheap website hosting plan can seem like a godsend to many business owners, and it can save them plenty of money. But if it results in a slow website loading speed, it can negatively impact the customer experience and engagement on your site. Furthermore, slow hosting can affect all marketing efforts, slowing down your business’s progress in the process.
When looking for quality hosting, there are a few things you should keep an eye out for:
- Loading speed — the amount of time it takes for your website to load a page.
- Uptime and Downtime — how long your website remains available and how long it remains offline.
- Security —the proactive approach your website uses to keep it secure for your users and make it trustworthy for Google.
- Location — this can determine how far the data has to travel to the end-user, which, in turn, can impact the website speed.
How to Fix It?
- Consider premium offshore hosting — offshore hosting is a great way to save money on long-term hosting due to different taxation policies. Additionally, it can offer anonymity for business owners and reliability most onshore hosting companies lack.
- Optimize website images — having oversized images can slow down your website’s loading speed drastically. Ensure pictures aren’t unnecessarily large before uploading and compress image file sizes as often as possible. You can also use a tool called Tiny PNG to reduce the file size of any images you plan on uploading to your site.
- Clean the code — get rid of excessive white spaces, empty lines, and unnecessary comments to reduce the stylesheet of your website and compress the code.
The Bottom Line
Yes, proper Search Engine Optimization WILL take time. However, the amount of time it may take to optimize your website is undoubtedly worth the results you are going to get as a business owner. Without a proper SEO strategy, businesses will continue to struggle in the online domain. As a result, they won’t get the visibility they need to be successful. By keeping up with all Google algorithm updates, using premium hosting services, and making sure there aren’t any sudden changes to your organic traffic can help ensure your success in the world of SEM. SEO is just like any other aspect of your business, so you should treat it seriously.