Most people recognize that anything worth accomplishing takes work. It takes time and energy to get a valuable return on an investment. This principle is one that you can apply to many areas of life, one of them being your search engine optimization (SEO) campaign.
You probably know you shouldn’t expect to improve your site’s rankings overnight. But if you’re going to spend time and money on something, it’s reasonable to expect to see a profit at some point. If you never see any improvement from your SEO campaign, then you are doing something wrong. Here are seven problems that might be stopping you from increasing your site’s rankings.
1. Quitting Because It’s Taking Too Long
Even if you know your results won’t be instantaneous, you still might be expecting to see them too soon. When some people don’t see any improvement within a few months, they decide their SEO efforts aren’t working and give up. This is a mistake.
How Long Does SEO Take?
Skyler Malley of Firestarter SEO in Denver points out that certain variables will impact how long it takes for you to be successful with your SEO campaign. You might see the fruit of your labors very quickly, but they also might take a while to develop. No matter what, Malley says that “the progress you see in the early stages should pale in comparison to the results you see at the end of the first year.”
2. Abusing Keywords
Keywords are essential for you to be successful at SEO, but don’t overuse them. You don’t want to pack a bunch of keywords into your content so that you can rank higher. Keyword stuffing will not serve your readers, and you risk getting on the wrong side of Google by doing so.
3. Not Accounting for Site History
You need to recognize that if your domain or website has been penalized, then your job is that much harder. That’s not to say you won’t be able to get your site to rank. It just means that your job is more difficult. The same is true if you bought your site from a previous owner. Whoever owned the domain before you had a different purpose for it and had different contact info. It will take you time to build your own history. Of course, it will also take you some time to build your history if your domain is completely new.
4. Neglecting Directories
One directory you need to claim right away if you have not yet done so is Google My Business. Google My Business is an opportunity to be listed for free on a site with a high level of traffic and authority. Despite what some think, other online directories are valuable for helping your search engine ranking. The key is to get your business listed on quality directories, not spammy ones. List your business in as many solid online directories as possible. Make sure your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across all your listings.
Backlinks are indispensable to SEO. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, they’re also a great way to get your site penalized. Do not include backlinks that are forced, irrelevant, or not educational to your followers. The key with backlinks is to make sure they are relevant to your content and fit naturally within it. They should be instructional and clearly support the purpose of your posts. If they have these qualities and come from authoritative sites, your own site will greatly benefit.
Moz has a few suggestions for getting backlinks without incurring Google’s wrath. You can ask people you know to link back to your blog, so long as they do so in a way that is natural and helpful to users. Look for instances online where people have mentioned your business without linking to you. Then ask them to link to your business. It’s a good idea to search for mentions on a monthly basis.
Something else you can do is use Google’s Search Console to find times when people have attempted to link to you, but the links are broken. Consider doing an event or a promo, especially one that benefits people. Then ask a journalist to write about and link to you. Check out HARO, a platform that helps journalists who need to write a story discover businesses who could help them out. If your company provides a service relevant to a story you find through HARO, you can connect with that reporter and get a link to your site.
6. Creating Poor Content
You do need to optimize your content for SEO, but you also need to create content that is high quality and educational. Creating strong content takes a lot of work, but doing so is important to increasing your traffic. Good content benefits your audience and builds your authority. The more niche your content is, the better your traffic will be.
It’s obviously best if you can choose evergreen topics. But besides having something great to say and saying it well, there are other ways to capture people’s attention. Make sure your titles are eye-catching and that your blog is well designed. Also make sure you’re regularly offering visual content, such as infographics and videos, which get a lot of engagement.
7. Thinking You Can Control Everything
As we said earlier, succeeding at SEO is not a formulaic process. Because certain aspects are out of your control, your results will have a degree of unpredictability. For example, the industry you’ve chosen impacts the level of competition you face. And the level of competition you face affects how hard it will be for you to rank for certain keywords. Some businesses will have a much easier time ranking than you will simply because you happen to be in a more challenging industry.
Guidelines, Not a Formula
How long does it take for SEO to start working? That depends, but you should see results within a year if you implement the strategies outlined above. Don’t neglect these crucial steps for increasing your traffic and promoting your business online.