Digital marketing agencies often receive inquiries from prospective clients about ranking on search engines, generating more leads, and more.
When those potential clients say they’re having digital marketing troubles, the agency’s experts learn about their current digital marketing tactics and learn what their strengths and weaknesses are within that process.
One of the problems digital marketing professionals aim to resolve for clients include the reasons why their SEO isn’t working. Once those reasons are established, the pros can begin to work on the solution: correctly implementing SEO for businesses.
If you’re curious why your local business’ SEO isn’t working, here are some reasons for you to consider.
Reason 1: Slow Page Load Speed
User experience is extremely valuable in modern technology. With a significantly reduced attention span, coupled with the abundance of alternate sources, page load speed can often be a major deterrent for potential clients and customers.
If your website has multiple videos, uncompressed images, or other elements with large files sizes, consider compressing those components or even removing them entirely.
A great way to check the performance of your site is using Google’s Page Speed Insights. This tool is completely free and all you are required to do is input the URL of any site you wish to test. The results will return scores on a scale of 0-100, with 100 being the highest. The results will also separate mobile and desktop versions and indicate which elements represent the longest time to load metrics.
Improving your page load speed, aside from a positive user experience, is a relevant metric for ranking higher on SERP. All else being equal, a site with better performance, especially for mobile, will almost always rank higher than the lesser performing counterpart.
Reason 2: HTML Tags Are Not Optimized
HTML tags take on different forms but it’s necessary to implement best practices across the board. Below we describe several of the most relevant ranking factors for On-Page SEO and some preferred methods for editing those.
The title tag refers to the text that is displayed when you hover over the page tab on a browser. More importantly, this indicates to search engines what your site entails. Title tags should be concise and implement a high-level keyword that reflects the overarching component of your business or site. Title tags are very important in reference to search rankings, so it is imperative you follow best practices.
We recommend the following structure:
- 60 characters or less
- Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword – Brand
- For example: Custom Software – Digital Marketing – Code Authority
Header tags are extremely important as they relate to user experience. They help structure the page, as well as help users indicate and identify what each page or section is about.
The same goes for search engines. Including relevant keywords to header tags is a great way to prioritize the topic of a page or section. As such, header tags are in important ranking factor in SEO.
It is important to understand the varying levels of significance and impact of H1-H6 tags and how to implement them for best SEO practices.
Per HTML5, it is recommended that you use no more than 1 H1 tag per section. These carry the most authority and multiple H1 tags could provide a number of unwanted issues, such as cannibalization of other keywords or potential keyword stuffing.
The meta description also an important HTML element that effects SEO and search rankings. They provide users and search engines with more details about your website.
It’s recommended that you include relevant keywords in your meta description as these will be bolded if a user inputs those keywords in their search query.
Reason 3: Using Outdated or “Black Hat” Tactics
Gone are the days where “black hat” or outdated tactics such as keyword stuffing, keyword cloaking, paid links, etc. were accepted by search engines. As Google continues to update their algorithm to rid the web of these methods, sites still implementing these tactics are being penalized.
Instead of trying to beat the search engines at their own game, it is recommended that you employ only allowed strategies to improve your rankings as one algorithm update could deprecate any “black hat” tactics and metrics instantaneously.
Reason 4: A Low Number of Referring Domains
Otherwise known as backlinks, referring domains are websites that include a link back to your website.
There is a perpetual disagreement amongst SEO analysts on which ranking factor is most authoritative for search engines: content or links? While the relevance of each is solely determined by the algorithm that search engines implement, there is no denying that both play a vital role in determining the ranking of SERPs.
Backlinks help search engines indicate the relevance and authority of the webpage they reside on. Keywords alone will not help you achieve high rankings on search engines for a sustained period of time. Backlinks essentially endorse your website as relevant and authoritative.
Link-building strategies are often time-consuming and monotonous but there’s no denying the impact that acquiring numerous high-authority links can make on your site.
The more the better but quantity over quality is not the only factor at play. Receiving backlinks from untrustworthy, spammy, or low domain authority sites does no good when those web pages are inevitably disavowed or penalized by search engines.
Reason 5: Poor Keyword Optimization
Keyword optimization is critical for your domain’s SEO because it grabs the attention of both internet searchers and prominent engines such as Google. Although, searchable content does not mean it is automatically optimized content.
People will only search for what is useful or interesting to them, and they do not want to dig for information. It is up to you (or your friendly SEO analysts) to discover content and keywords that users are actually searching for.
One way to create compelling but keyword rich content is to truly understand your target audience. There are numerous personas you could create to determine what your user base would input as a search query when attempting to find your product. Here are a few questions you could ask yourself to help determine which keywords you should heavily utilize on your site.
- What would you search if you were looking for your business but weren’t sure what it was called?
- How would you search for your business if you knew what it’s named?
- In what ways might the audience use shorthand to search for your business?
Once you’ve considered those questions, you should have a deeper understanding of your user’s intent. Now, you can investigate those related search terms by using popular keyword research tools, such as SEMRush or Ahrefs.
These tools will indicate the average number of searches for that term and related terms, the search difficulty, etc. The lower the difficulty and the higher the search volume, the more rewarding the keyword could be. If you’re struggling between two keywords to use, it is recommended that you go with the keyword with higher search volume.
By understanding what your target audience is searching for and how often it is searched, you’re already one step ahead of the competition and will allow you to create, optimize, and publish the content you know they want to find.
Businesses of all sizes should keep in mind that creating “compelling content that answers the searcher’s query,” is an important way to ensure your SEO keyword strategy is working.
Reason 6: Not Utilizing Social Media
As digital marketing strategies are ever-evolving, one item that we stand by in 2019 is that social media is no longer optional.
When you publish content from your social account, and it gains traction, it’s likely more people will begin to notice you, and the brand will begin to grow.
Plus, did you know that you can include keywords within your social media posts and bios? It’s true! Adding applicable keywords to your business’ social media elements can help improve the brand search volume, which will likely result in an increase of followers within your business’ community who you can market to.
Reason 7: You’re Not Constantly Optimizing Your Website
What people are searching for today could vary tremendously from popular search results next month. That’s why businesses wanting to optimize their websites for SEO purposes should stick to a content marketing calendar.
Abiding by a content schedule can be beneficial in both keeping you organized in your work life, as well as for SEO purposes because you don’t want your business to fall behind in the rankings.
Experts recommend that you optimize your website every month for the best results.
Reason 8: Your Site is Not Secure
Google’s proprietary internet browser, Chrome, now controls over 67% of the browser market share. As such, Google has made it standard for websites to utilize an SSL certificate for site security.
Google has prioritized this during the peak of internet malfeasance as to improve the user experience and peace of mind, especially on e-commerce sites. For sites who utilize an SSL certificate, they will be rewarded with a lock icon before their domain name in the search bar. Those who neglect to enforce this policy will assuredly be penalized by Google and their sites will be marked with a red “Not Secure” label – a huge deterrent for new users.
Reason 9: Focus on Competitors Instead of Your Business
We know it’s easy to become consumed with all the moves your competition is making, but you cannot focus on the competition more than you address your own company.
The tactics your business employ can vary from the business you’re trying to model yourself after, which is likely your competition. Companies must do things in innovative and unique ways that make their marketing tactic stand out, such as forming a voice, style, and tone that makes their business interesting, along with employing modern SEO tactics.
Reason 10: You're Impatient
As the old cliché goes, “anything worth having takes time.” SEO is not an instantaneous process. Depending on your niche, you could end up ranking on Page 1 of Google in a matter of days. For those in a more competitive field, this could take upwards of 6 months before you begin to reap the benefits of your hard work.
Many don’t have the time or budget to wait 6 months to start generating an ROI on their efforts but it is important to understand that this is a process. In most business, in order to turn a profit you must invest time or money (or a combination of the two). SEO is no different and while the initial work, testing, and waiting can all seem for naught, if SEO is done properly it can have profound effects on the level of success of your business.
How to Improve Your SEO
Businesses need to optimize their websites for search engines because optimization can lead to increased traffic, higher sale rates, and revenue enhancement. Digital marketers employing SEO tactics must ensure the strategy is performed efficiently for the best results. Your team should be constantly monitoring your websites analytics, this will help ensure that your website has improved overtime. This will also help you analyze your campaigns weaknesses and strengths in order to determine which method is working best for you.