It’s easy to be overwhelmed by search engine optimization (SEO). It seems like every day there are articles about new trends and techniques—and the fear that your brand is missing out, being left in the dust by competitors, can be very real. While it’s an exaggeration to say that there are new SEO methodologies every day, it’s true that the Google algorithms are constantly changing—and it takes a lot of effort just to keep up.
There’s some merit in trying to keep up with those algorithmic changes, but also a potential drawback: Sometimes, you can get so caught up in the cutting edge that you neglect the fundamentals. This can lead to SEO efforts that simply don’t pan out.
Here are some examples of what that looks like.
Content That Nobody Wants to Read
Google is a business—and like any business, its primary goal is to provide its customers with a satisfying product. Specifically, Google’s out to offer its search engine users with relevant, helpful results. The algorithms reward content that matches that criteria.
If your SEO efforts are falling flat, then, the first thing you should do is audit your content. Does it provide substantive information? Does it address the kinds of queries your audience might use in the Google search box? Is it written and formatted for easy understanding, and free of obvious grammatical errors?
A Bad Link Profile
Generally speaking, Google likes it when your website gets links from other, outside websites. That’s one of the ways Google can tell that you are indeed offering helpful content, as we discussed in the previous step. Simply put, if other relevant publications find your website to be worthy of a link, that says a lot about the value you’re offering.
Yet, there is such a thing as a bad link profile. For example, are you earning your links—or buying them? Google’s algorithms are sophisticated enough to know when you’re gaming the system, and if you take short cuts to get links, it could backfire.
A High Bounce Rate
Google Analytics offers a number of meaningful metrics you can use to evaluate your site’s performance. One of the most noteworthy is your bounce rate. Basically, a high bounce rate means a lot of people are visiting your site but then leaving immediately, rather than exploring other parts of your website.
A high bounce rate is bad for SEO—and if you have one, it’s important to ask yourself why. There could be several different factors—a layout that isn’t welcoming, a navigation that isn’t helpful, or content that isn’t valuable.
Missed Opportunities for Off-Site SEO
The conversation about SEO tends to focus on your on-site choices, but there are also off-site SEO considerations that matter. We’ve discussed one of them already—your link profile.
However, there are several other opportunities you have to show Google that your site is valuable to the end user. Here are just three of those opportunities:
- Creating a Google My Business page to help in local search queries
- Generating plenty of Google reviews from your customers
- Getting listings in local directories and citation services
If you’re leaving any of these items on the table, then you’re compromising your SEO potential.
If you’re struggling to generate SEO traction, it may also be worth considering the possibility that you’re looking for too much, too soon.
It’s absolutely important to set measurable goals, and to expect your SEO efforts to generate some real outcomes. With that said, if you anticipate being the #1 ranked website overnight, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. Measure your ambitions, and allow your strategy a little bit of time to gain steam.
Poor Website Design
Finally, if your SEO efforts aren’t bearing fruit, one more thing you can look into is your website design. A site that doesn’t offer fast loading times and a welcoming user experience is never going to get a lot of search engine traction.
A specific issue is mobile-first design. If your site isn’t made to display properly on all device and browser types, that’s a huge problem. Make mobile-first design a priority on your SEO checklist.
What to Do About Poor SEO Performance
Is your website providing you with the kind of visibility you want? If the answer is no, or if you’re simply not sure, there may be some value in having an SEO audit—helping you to see where your site shines and where you’re missing some opportunities. From there, you can start looking into avenues to improve performance.
At enCOMPASS, we’re always available to talk with business owners about improving their site performance and visibility. We’d love to help you put a robust SEO plan into place. Reach out any time you want to talk.
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