Top 7 reasons why your SEO strategy is not working

If you're trying to drive organic traffic to your website, you might have an SEO strategy in place already. But, what if it's not working? There are a number of common reasons your SEO strategy might not be working so we've put a quick guide together to help you identify the issues you might have.

You have started SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for your business, but you are still waiting to see your organic traffic increase? Frustrated, you think to yourself, “why is my SEO not working?”

Unfortunately, there are lots of potential factors behind why your SEO strategy is not working. Here is a breakdown of some of the most common issues with SEO strategies and how you can resolve them.

1. Your SEO strategy is outdated 

SEO best practices are constantly changing and evolving. If your SEO strategy is not yielding results, it might be outdated.

Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms. Google had seven significant algorithm updates in 2022 alone! One of the most important updates was the helpful content update.  

But what does this mean for marketing? If you are not updating your SEO tactics and strategy to reflect these changes, you will likely fall behind your competitors.

If you are trying SEO yourself, you will need to seek out training and information to help you remain effective. One of the easiest ways to stay up to date is to subscribe to a leading email newsletter. So you can have relevant information sent straight to your inbox. 

Alternatively, use a reliable digital marketing agency that is experienced in SEO. They will use the latest techniques and tactics to get you the best SEO results.

2. You have unrealistic expectations for SEO 

Having unrealistic expectations about SEO can make it seem like your strategy is not working. One of the main reasons that people have unrealistic expectations for SEO is that many people talk about organic traffic as ‘free’ traffic. So, they expect SEO to be a free way to increase traffic. But that is not strictly true. 

Although organic search doesn’t require an upfront monetary investment in the same way as paid search, that doesn’t mean that SEO doesn’t require any investment. SEO needs both time (to write and update content and to work on SEO tactics) and money (to pay an agency, internal staff or software). 

As a digital marketing agency, a common question we get asked is, “how long will it take?” But it is important to remember that SEO is not a quick fix. Results from SEO take time. 

A quality SEO strategy needs to cover all elements of SEO, including indexing, links, keywords, content, technical, on-page and off-page. This can take over three months to show results or longer for brand-new websites or competitive industries. That’s why it’s essential to have long-term SEO goals. 

Like all other parts of digital marketing, you can plan, project and benchmark your SEO goals. It is important to use data and research to project what your SEO results will look like. This will help ensure your goals are realistic and achievable.

3. You value tactics over strategy 

Tactics and strategy are both crucial in SEO, but it can be damaging if you prioritise tactics over strategy. You should use strategy to guide your tactics, not the other way around. 

First of all, it is essential to understand the difference between SEO strategy and tactics. Put simply, an SEO strategy is a long-term plan to achieve specific goals. For example, to increase traffic.

However, SEO tactics are the techniques you use to execute your strategy. These include practices like using backlinks. So, why is it dangerous to focus too much on tactics?

Tactics are incredibly useful but only when thought of as part of a long-term strategy. SEO marketers who execute tactics without direction may find that they do not get the SEO results they expect.

An effective SEO strategy allows you to plan out content and tactics that align with your business goals. Your SEO strategy can then be used to inform your content plan. For more information on content marketing, check out this post on how to develop a successful content marketing strategy

4. You have poor-quality content

Despite your best SEO efforts, you may still not see the results you want. This might be because of poor-quality content. 

When writing new content or updating existing content, it is essential to aim for high-quality content. Although what defines high-quality content is subjective, Google’s Search Quality Ratings Guidelines can be a useful source of information. Google defines high-quality content as having a high level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) and penalises ‘thin’ (short and low-quality) content.

It is also important to avoid ‘black hat’ SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing. This involves inserting a large number of keywords into content or meta tags to increase the page’s ranking in search results. Keyword stuffing is not only unethical, but it is also ineffective and will lead to your content being penalised by Google. Content should always be customer-centric and designed to answer your target audience’s problems. 

5. You are not using keywords correctly 

Choosing which keywords to target is a crucial part of your SEO strategy. The first step is to undertake keyword research. Then make sure you can create content that aligns with the search intent of those keywords and that you can rank for your chosen keywords. It is also important to consider the business potential of your keywords (how easy it is to pitch your product or service in the content).

Although this sounds simple, there are many mistakes that people can make when selecting and using keywords. One mistake is focusing on the most competitive keywords. Writing content targeting highly competitive keywords means you will struggle to make it to the first page of the search results. This can be devastating for your SEO strategy as only 0.63% of Google searchers click on results from the second page.

One easy way to combat this is to focus on long-tail keywords with a decent number of searches. This is an incredibly effective technique, as 69.7% of search queries contain four words or more.

6. You are not using links effectively  

Another reason your SEO strategy might not be working is that you are not using links. This might mean not enough backlinks (inbound links). Backlinks help increase the authority and value of your page. This helps to improve your ranking position. As a general rule, more quality backlinks mean a higher position. 

However, poor-quality backlinks can also be an issue. Obtaining natural, high-quality backlinks should be an integral part of your SEO strategy. High-quality backlinks come from trusted and authoritative websites and include your target keywords in the link’s anchor text.

High-quality backlinks are significantly more valuable than poor-quality backlinks. Check out this post on SEO content vs links for more information on backlinks. 

Although most people focus on external link building through backlinks, a lack of internal links can also damage your SEO strategy. Internal links tell search engines that your content is contextually relevant when crawling your site. They will also help readers stay on your site to learn more about a topic. 

A simple way to ensure you include many internal links is to structure your content into topic clusters and pillar pages. This means creating an in-depth pillar page about a topic with links to several other pieces of content that, in return, link back to the pillar page. 

7. You have poor usability  

If your website has poor usability, then it doesn’t matter how great your SEO strategy is. You will still struggle to see results. That’s because having poor usability means that most of your website traffic will not turn into profitable customers. 

A simple way to help you identify and fix your user experience issues is to run a site usability test. This will help determine if your site structure is helpful to users if they can easily complete their actions, and if your website design is effective.

Another critical aspect to consider is whether your site is mobile-friendly. Whether a site works well on mobile is a ranking signal in both Google and Bing if users search on a mobile device.   

Your website’s load speed is also a factor that is considered by search engines. Plus, website conversion rates drop by 4.42% with each second of load time between 1-5 seconds. So, making sure your site loads quickly is crucial. A simple way to check this is through a site speed test

When to get help 

If you have gone through all the above issues and your SEO is still not where you want it to be, consider getting specialist help. Or if you find yourself running out of time to focus on SEO alongside running your business, then it might be time to look into a digital marketing agency. 

The team at Logical Digital have over 15 years of experience in SEO strategy and digital marketing. We can help perfect your SEO and content strategy so that you can see real results! 

Claim a free digital marketing audit to learn what digital marketing activities can help drive results in your business. Or contact the team today to find out more about what we do.

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Blog written by

Amy Ward