19th May 2022

6 reasons your SEO isn’t working

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Lauren Irwin

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Is SEO worth it? Yes—as long as you have the right strategy to grow your website's visibility and rank in search engines.

However, alongside strategy, having the right mindset and expectations about SEO is another key factor. SEO isn't a quick fix, and it's hard for some to understand its value when it doesn't provide results instantly.

SEO has an impressive return on investment, improves both returning and new visitors, increases bounce rate and session time, and organic traffic in the long term. What's more, ultimately, the results from SEO work outweigh the upfront cost of SEO activities—in the end, it's a win-win.

There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to SEO, and that's where many businesses go wrong. Audiences are different, and so is their search intent.


You’ve set unrealistic expectations and goals

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again—SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. One of the biggest challenges with SEO is setting expectations. As much as ‘SEO experts’ like to sell in that it can be a quick fix to turn your organic traffic around, SEO just doesn’t work like that. It takes time to build rank and authority and for Google to decide if your result is better than another’s.

Every SEO activity takes time:

  • Trying to rank for target keywords, there’s lots of competition
  • Creating a strategy to inform the right content for the right audience it’s not guesswork; it’s research
  • Researching keywords and understanding their hierarchy on technical elements (URL, meta title and H1) and on-page factors too
  • Knowing what works as a primary keyword and a secondary and how not to confound Google
  • URL structure
  • Image naming
  • Redirect strategies and canonical URLs

The list goes on, and it all works together to form a cohesive strategy. Sure, anyone can learn to do SEO, but not everyone can harness all of its elements to create a hardworking SEO strategy that will supercharge your rank and organic traffic.

Many inexperienced SEO strategists will go for the big-ticket keywords with high search volume, but it’s those longtail, more niche keywords with many more important opportunities.


Your user search intent was not considered, only assumed

Search intent is a biggie, and it's time to ask yourself, is your content relevant?

Imagine the thousands of results Google has to trawl through in milliseconds in order to serve results that are relevant to a user's search query. It's like finding a needle in a haystack the size of Wemberly Stadium and you have 0.53 seconds to do it. That ain't happening.

Search intent creates content that is relevant to what your user (your audience, your personas) are genuinely going to be searching for, and not what you assume they'll be searching for.

Wedding guest Annie isn't looking for a 'wedding guest dress' she's after 'long sleeve floral maxi dress uk.' She's already done her research on Pinterest (if she's a millennial) and Instagram/TikTok, if she's Gen Z.

Search intent is really getting to grips with your audience and that starts with identifying personas. It's considering their customer journeys (what has they done before they hit Google Search) and looking at the tools you have at your disposal—Search Console should be your go-to if you're an established website (and have it set up, which you absolutely must!) Search Console shows the terms that users are finding you for now and offers a lot of insight into trends and patterns.

Search intent has a lot to do with SEO and content strategies and it's one of your hardest-working activities for building organic traffic.


You’re using too many primary keywords across multiple pages

Keyword stuffing is a big no for SEO.

I’ve seen some businesses using primary keywords across multiple pages to drive traffic. That just doesn’t work—it confuses Google, and it doesn’t know which page it should rank and so doesn’t rank them at all.

Set a primary keyword per core page, and don’t try to reuse it across others unless it’s necessary. You can get even more specific with keywords when you get into content strategies to drive traffic too.


Your CMS platform isn’t SEO friendly (even if it says it is!)

WordPress is terrible; there, I said it. Squarespace, Wix, and let’s not talk about it. WordPress was initially designed and built for bloggers (not businesses!), so you’d think their SEO capabilities would be more robust. Still, a lot of that is down to the diluted mash of templates that are now available. Most of which have not been designed with customer journeys in mind. So yeah, they might look great sometimes, but they’re not doing a lot for your audience.

And because most of these websites are built via pre-designed templates, technical SEO suffers when key elements for SEO strategy are left out:

  • URL structure (why does Shopify add /collections and /products everywhere!)
  • Heading structures go ignored (h1, h2, h3)
  • Metadata is automatically populated from content on the page (a big no-no!)
  • ‘Add keywords for this page’ like Google even considers it.

We’re biased, of course—we only develop on Craft (less well known), but as we’re able to design and build bespoke, SEO is always a significant consideration.


Schema markup? JSON-LD… er, what’s that?

It’s all getting a bit technical up in here, but schema markup/JSON-LD is essentially linking and structuring data for the web (aka for search engines). Ever wonder how specific recipes get ranked in a lovely carousel? Or your competitor’s video is showing on Google results?

They’ve been using JSON-LD to structure data for specific pages to rank for rich results. It’s one of the best ways to drive organic traffic for products, recipes, articles, and videos; you name it.


You’ve been tactical, not strategic

Last but not least, you’ve been applying tactical SEO activities but not been thinking about the website (and audience) as a whole strategically. Tactical activities may be image naming structures, short URLs, and keywords in title tags—all required but inconsequential if it hasn’t been considered at a strategic level. It’s as much about the bigger picture as the minute details.

That's only six reasons but there are plenty more possible reasons why your SEO just isn't performing.

If you're interested in finding out why your SEO isn't achieving the results you'd like, we can perform an audit that analyses both your website and your SEO (the two work hand in hand!) and provide answers as to why you're not finding your business in top three spots of a search result.

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