Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your website is never a one time set up. After all Google changes its algorithm hundreds of times in a year. Many of these are minor while the bigger ones like Penguin and Panda might make big shake-ups affecting the traffic to your site in a big way. Staying on top of the changes therefore becomes imperative. While social media and other new buzz words might have got the most attention in 2017, SEO continues to be supreme and 2018 will see this continue. SEO remains the no.1 driver of traffic to websites and outperforms social media by 300%.
Whether you are managing the SEO traffic as part of a company’s in-house team or outsourcing to an SEO agency or are responsible for the business in an overall capacity, its best to know the questions to ask and when to recognize that your current SEO strategy is not working. Good SEO is just following Google’s guidelines and reacting quickly to changes that come along. You can drive excellent traffic to your site when you have all the “Ranking Signals in Green”. Here are the top 5 signs that your SEO Strategy is not keeping up with your competitors in your space.
1. Your Organic Traffic Has Slowed Or Not Increasing
Any dip in your SEO traffic means that you need to relook at what you are doing. Look at a 6 month comparison in Google Analytics of your acquisition traffic by source. The dip could be because of a natural drop in the keywords you were previously ranking for. Daily fluctuations are normal but a continuous slide means you have to take recovery action. Choosing the right keywords and focusing your attention to remain on the first page of search results is important.
Keyword research can be done through several free & paid tools. I prefer Google Keyword Planner, which is a good tool for finding
- New Keywords
- Targeted Keywords
- Keyword Search volume & trends
- Even get forecasts for the keywords you selected for your business.
Go for the high search volume and low to medium difficulty based keywords, as it helps you in ranking quicker and yield better traffic. Also pick 3 to 5 competitor sites and check the keywords that are giving them the traffic. You can do this through ranking tools like SEMRush.
2. ‘Thin’ Content Is On Google’s Hit List
Content that speaks to User’s needs is being recognized by Google and is getting rewarded. Google recognizes valuable content by the time a visitor stays on the page and the links they click. If your website is stuffed with keywords it will be considered ineffective and could lose authority with Google. Content is of different kinds – blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, product descriptions, whitepapers and more. A content writer should be aware of the Webmaster Guidelines while creating a content to rank better.
It is valuable for a website to have a blog section where important information is made available to users. However make sure it is not content for the sake of content. Volume over quality is self defeating. Also, content must serve a purpose, leading the visitor to a conversion or taking them through the site. There should be relevant links or call to actions. You can also ensure that this content reaches a wider audience through social media and email marketing.
3. Your Link Structure And Link Building Might Be Affecting Your Traffic
Linking creates easy navigation. Links create authority. Google recognizes natural links and ranks them better. Linking is a key ranking signal that helps your SEO work better. Poor linking structure either internal or external will rebound on your SEO strategy. Improper “Anchor Text” that links to either internal or external content will also affect the website’s ranking in Google. The total number of links on a page is also a matter of concern! This Free Online Tool helps you identify the total number of links on a page. Anything higher than 100 links per page is poor. Do remember that links to other sites might become outdated and you need to monitor them to keep them valid. Broken links in your website can get you penalized.
When it comes to backlinks use Webmaster Tools to get all the sites that link back to yours. If they are not from quality sites they can be spammy and then it is time to make a change in how you are earning this vital link juice.
4. Missing the Need for Speed
Speed is important, no one want to wait for a page to upload. Research shows that 56% of mobile users leave the site within 3 seconds if it fails to open. All the good content is of no use if speed is a problem.
The Google Pagespeed Insights Tool helps you analyze your website’s speed performance across devices. It also offers you valuable suggestions to improve the performances at no cost.
More searches are happening on mobile so it is essential to have mobile friendly pages. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) & Mobile First Index (MIF) are gainin priority from Google, exclusively for mobile searches.
5. Decline in Impressions & Click-Through Rates (CTR)
I can’t emphasize enough how keeping an eye on the relevant metrics is important for success. For example, online businesses should focus on the conversation rate, video sites should concentrate on time spent on the site, while blogs need sessions metrics from organic searches and so on.
The Google Search Console widely known as Webmaster Tool gives you a clear result on whether your SEO efforts are paying you or not. The Impressions & Click-Through Rate (CTR) has everything to confirm officially.
I have a habit of comparing my current metrics with the previous month or three. If there is any decline in the statistics, then there is something wrong with my SEO!
The right implementation of the tags and codes will help your website’s “Rich Snippet” in the search engine. This free Structured Data Testing Tool helps in visualizing your code snippets at its best.
Finally, in the Search Engine Optimization, updates like ranking factors, algorithms are very crucial as it happens every now and then, without prior notices (yes, no holiday for them). Failing to notice the update and updating your site accordingly is also a sign that your current SEO strategy isn’t working for your business. Hence, hiring a professional SEO agency will keep your site updated along with any SEO updates. Take the advantage of our Free SEO Audit Services and find whether you are on the right path or not.
For more details on ranking your keywords and other SEO services & analysis, I am happy to help you.