Successful SEO campaigns are a ticket to business success. Once firms start generating free traffic to their sites, their margins go up, and the cost of doing business goes down substantially. Unfortunately, companies encounter various pitfalls along the way.
These prevent them from accessing all the value of search engine optimization, reducing their return on investment. The good news is that firms can do several things to troubleshoot common SEO problems and come out the other side of projects better off. But which are companies likely to encounter?
Troubleshooting Common SEO Issues in Your Campaign: Not Monitoring Progress
Not monitoring progress is one of the worst SEO mistakes firms can make. Failing to track their efforts means they can’t make adjustments or improvements where necessary. Fortunately, monitoring progress is relatively easy these days. With the right tools, tracking metrics like organic traffic and click-through rates is simple.
The most obvious are Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These are free or cheap to use, and they tell companies everything they need to know about their firm. Companies can also experiment with paid products, like SEMrush and Ahrefs. These are good at helping them evaluate their competitors to see what’s working for them.
Another way firms fail in SEO is by neglecting to update their content regularly. Companies can leave blogs and articles on their site for years without asking how to change them to make them more relevant to their audiences.
This is where managing an SEO project properly can help substantially, according to Joe Taylor, the founder of the well-known digital marketing agency FATJOE. Companies, he believes, need to set out precisely how they will keep content updated so that it remains relevant instead of doing it ad hoc.
“We see a lot of firms that write quality blogs but don’t understand how to leverage them for SEO purposes. Well-written and entertaining information remains behind their site, collecting dust. All of this is unnecessary in our view. Content is easy to update, and most posts only require a couple of changes before you can republish them. When this happens, Google will treat it as new content, pushing it to the top of results because of its relevance.”
Businesses struggling to keep track of content updates can use calendars and content management systems (CMS) to make their lives easier. These help organize articles and ensure everything goes out on time.
“If companies are struggling,” Taylor says, “they can always approach external agencies like ours to update their content for them. Highly talented writers can transform old articles into newer and more relevant ones quickly and in bulk.”
Ignoring Technical SEO
Failing to pay attention to technical SEO is another common mistake businesses make. Companies ignore it, don’t understand it, or can’t implement it, causing their marketing efforts to become significantly less effective.
Of course, technical SEO is frighteningly complicated. Anyone applying it must learn XML sitemaps, robot.txt files, and schema markup (as a start). Therefore, the barriers to entry can be high. “We see this sort of thing all the time,” Taylor says. “But there’s a simple solution. Just run an SEO audit to identify and fix issues.”
Many screening tools are available today to find problems and eliminate them. Google Search Console provides some functionality, as does Screaming Frog. These apps enable businesses to search for errors, including crawling and indexing issues, broken links, and lack of metatext. Many provide pointers for how firms can solve site problems and increase ranking performance. It’s not quite an AI-driven, guided process yet, but it won’t be long until it is.
Something Taylor knows all about is the backlinking strategy. The intrepid entrepreneur built a multi-million-dollar business on the back of it. But unfortunately, many firms don’t use the right approach or services.
“That’s part of the reason we set up FATJOE,” Taylor admits. “We wanted to provide business customers with the means to build legitimate links quickly, without having to do all the challenging legwork themselves. It’s all about writing great content and putting links in places that make sense to Google and its users. The old days of spamming links on low-authority sites are long gone. Nobody should be doing that anymore.”
Solving backlink strategies is easier than many firms realize. The main aim is to create shareable content and work with relevant influencers. Companies that can command an audience are much more likely to succeed in the long term.
Firms can also tap into a host of services, which Taylor and others are keen to promote. Companies that hire the right people can massively improve their standing in search results pages and move up the rankings faster than their competitors for a larger swathe of keywords.
Of course, many firms don’t recognize that their backlinking strategy is poor. Many believe they are doing everything right. But, of course, that’s not always the case.
Lack Of Mobile Optimization
Companies also face issues relating to a lack of mobile optimization. Firms still haven’t updated their approach to website experience, despite Google including mobile considerations in its ranking algorithms nearly a decade ago. Poor mobile performance is hurting many small businesses, often unnecessarily.
Fortunately, implementing responsive mobile optimization and web design is easier than it has ever been. Most content management systems and template website builders include the functionality automatically. Even better, many now force you to build for mobile first and then tinker around the edges for the site’s desktop version.
Of course, some businesses need mobile more than others. Pizza delivery companies are almost entirely dependent on it, while B2B firms ordering parts from China might hardly use it at all. Even so, Google wants to see that firms are implementing it. Otherwise, it’ll punish them in the rankings.
Another common problem companies encounter is a lack of keyword research. Firms don’t understand how to do it or the extent to which it remains an untapped resource. Brands continually use the same keywords as their competitors, failing to differentiate themselves in search results.
The results of this approach are bad for business, as FATJOE’s Taylor explains. “Companies that don’t target the right keywords will perform poorly in search engine page results. Many firms don’t understand what their audience is typing into search or the types of keyword-based content they want. Naturally, that’s where SEO services can help. Companies that get professional assistance using keyword research tools can better discover what their customers care about.”
As such, the trick to better keyword research is often learning how to use tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Google Keyword Planner or hiring someone who does. Often, firms can find gems, which are keywords that are easy to rank for but that also attract massive search volumes. These are the sort of findings that can transform a firm’s organic sales pipeline.
Companies also fall into the duplicate content trap, another common SEO issue. Posting and reposting content on a site can indicate spam to Google, provoking it to downrank the page and domain.
Unfortunately, duplicate content can occur anywhere on the internet, both within the brand’s sites and outside of them. The best way to deal with this issue is to use tools like Copyscape and Siteliner that can scan the entire internet and search for other instances of the same copy. Webmasters and companies can then implement canonical tags to specify the preferred version of the page, avoiding any backlash from search engines.
Again, though, the problem is the technicalities involved in these procedures. Many small firms simply don’t have the skills to go through these measures effectively, signaling to Google they want to make certain pages redundant.
“Duplicate content is part of the reason we searched so extensively for original, talented writers,” Taylor says. “We wanted to find people who could help firms avoid the problem of duplicate content. The people on our team are unique individuals with a knack for saying similar things in different ways, which is great for SEO.”
Common SEO Issues: Slow Page Loading Speeds
A final issue that many companies encounter is slow page loading speeds. Brand websites that take a long time to load harm the user experience and damage search rankings. Ideally, a site should only fire up a few tenths of a second. Any longer than that can break the user experience, which is something Google is keen to avoid in its search results. Granted, page loading speed isn’t the only factor that determines a website’s success, but it does contribute significantly, particularly if a business scores well on other fronts, such as backlinks.
Of course, optimizing page loading speed is a technical exercise and involves fiddling around with hosting platforms, images, and backend coding elements. The best tactics are to use a content delivery network, optimize pictures, and use browser caching, a technique where some of the page’s information is stored on users’ devices.