Search engine optimisation or SEO is both an art and a craft. You need to know the rules of popular search platforms to rank high in their outputs. At the same time, you must know your audiences and be sufficiently creative to differ from your competitors. In many cases, following the rules is simply not enough. You develop a ‘proper’ SEO strategy, run several campaigns, and see increasing traffic figures but your conversion and ROI rates remain the same. This leads to frustration and makes some marketers believe that ‘SEO simply does not work’. In this article, we will analyse 10 possible reasons for these poor performance outcomes and discuss some possible ways to eliminate them.
1. Wrong Choice Of Keywords
Your primary goal as a marketer is to increase your brand’s visibility to your target audiences. If your traffic numbers are growing but your bounce rates are high, chances are you are not reaching your future customers. Perform keyword research to ensure that you are using the right keywords for the audiences you want to contact. If you are targeting local customers, you may need to include the elements related to your geographical area, city or district. There is no need to reach global audiences if your ambitions do not imply international scope. While contacting more users may be beneficial for brand awareness, this also comes at a greater financial toll that many smaller brands simply cannot bear.
2. Poor Quality Of Content
High-quality website content is the key to getting high rankings in search engine outputs. However, many resource owners ignore this factor. Another popular mistake is the exclusive focus on new materials. Keep in mind that your older articles are also analysed by web crawlers.
If their quality is sub-par, you may be fighting an uphill battle. Try temporarily deleting some of your older content pieces to see if this improves your website performance in search engine outputs and customer traffic. If this is the case, you may need to re-write these materials or completely remove them from your platform.
3. Slow Website Speed
Poor optimisation instantly lowers your SERP rankings and increases your bounce rates. 5 seconds should be the absolute maximum time for accessing your website from any device. Keep in mind that 3G/4G connections are still used by thousands of your prospective customers. Make your website more responsive by optimising its CSS and HTML code, removing unnecessary scripts and plugins, and reducing the size of your images, audio, and video files. You can also use WebP and other modern file formats to make all your visuals ‘lighter’ by at least 25% in a single batch-processing operation.
4. Sub-Optimal Link Building Choices
Older SEO guidelines suggested that you should obtain as many inbound links as possible. However, quantity does not replace quality, which was missed by many practitioners in the past. Inbound links from shady websites, spam websites, low-ranking websites or other sub-optimal resources can actually be detrimental to your performance nowadays. Perform an audit of such practices and change your strategy in this sphere to avoid algorithmic penalties.
5. No ‘Mobile-First’ Vision
In the modern age, the majority of your website visitors are probably browsing it from portable devices. This requires mobile-first optimisation ensuring that your prospective customers can enjoy superior user experience from any smartphone or tablet. Invest substantial time and resources into ensuring that your website looks attractive and is fully functional from a variety of devices with different screen sizes, hardware characteristics, and operating systems. There is really no use in building a high-quality SEO strategy if your users leave your resource right away due to poor user experience.
6. Lack Of A Central Strategy
Before you optimise something, you need to ask some ‘WH’ questions first. Why do you need a high-quality SEO strategy? What will you do when you increase your reach? Who are your audiences and what do you want them to do for you? These questions are frequently ignored, which leads to sub-optimal content and SEO strategies.
To build a top-performing customer journey, you need to know who you are targeting, what are their values, and what reactions you want to obtain from them. Each consequent SEO campaign needs to support this long-term vision and contribute to its realisation in order to create valuable synergies with other marketing activities.
7. Wrong Choice Of Audience
In many cases, increased traffic does not lead to a proportional increase in conversion rates. If your customer journey ends with a purchase, you need to target the audiences who can potentially buy your products and services. How-to materials and valuable content may draw some persons interested in a certain sphere. However, they may never purchase your offerings. While greater reach and positive word-of-mouth may be good for building a strong brand, you should not ignore your commercial interests in your SEO strategies.
8. Wrong Choice Of Key Metrics
Many marketers pursue the ‘either-or’ mentality in their choice of key metrics. Some of them argue that you should completely ignore short-term trends and ‘give every campaign some time to demonstrate results’. Others swear by real-time metrics and state that they can provide unique insights about bounce rate antecedents, relationships with search engines, and consumer behaviours. The problem is, both groups can be right in your particular case. Before you select 3-5 key metrics to monitor your long-term SEO performance, you may choose to monitor a larger number of indicators to see how different strategic choices influence your audiences in both short-term and long-term perspectives.
9. Low Awareness Of Changing Rules
Google’s algorithms are a notorious ‘black box’ where you need to continuously monitor its internal changes to obtain the same outputs over time. Many SEO practitioners base their strategies on outdated guidelines that do not reflect the most recent updates to these mechanisms. This means that their activities create wrong ‘black box inputs’ for the outputs they want to obtain. Make sure that you continuously monitor official Google guidelines and revise them every time you develop a new SEO campaign.
10. Lack Of Patience
Paying money for ‘push’ advertisements or promoting your resource via famous influencers is a relatively easy way of getting short-term results. While they look good in SEO reports, they rarely produce substantial long-term effects on your website visibility. To achieve success, you need to ‘earn’ your reach by creating high-quality content, keeping your audiences satisfied, and following a consistent strategy for many months. If you are presently choosing between ‘paid’ short-term success and the development of a long-term strategy offering gradual improvements, you should opt for the latter.
SEO is a challenging sphere for practitioners due to the constantly changing rules and the absence of some ‘secret success formula’. The recommendations above suggest the general direction you should pursue but cannot specify the unique steps and solutions that your brand needs. Like dissertation writing, SEO is based on thoughtful analysis and experimentation necessary for finding your own focus.
Start with the basic things such as website optimisation, mobile-first design, and link-building strategy revision. They will help you get a better understanding of your key metrics and your audience composition. With this knowledge, you will be able to approach more complex tasks such as keyword optimisation, audience selection, and content improvement.
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