A search engine optimisation (SEO) campaign is hard work. Should your brand be searching for a quick fix, then this is not the avenue you should be exploring.
It happens to be the best means of scoring high volumes of traffic and being a viable online entity long-term, a fact that entices any organisation with a modicum of ambition to go all in.
Before you start firing off emails, messages, phone calls and storming into an office demanding answers for a failing campaign, understand that an effective SEO operation takes at least 3 months until results start to bear fruit.
Yet if you believe the bullet points have been ticked off and your efforts have been following the textbook and there is still no light at the end of the tunnel, clearly there is a problem at hand.
It is not easy to admit that you might have overlooked some details or shifted your priorities to issues that should have been down the pecking order.
Whatever the case maybe, the important step that should be adopted is to breakdown specifically what is dragging the chain before taking on a series of techniques to tackle the challenge.
Let us identify 4 common signs that your SEO campaign is dying and 4 methods to recovering and rescuing the situation.
Sign one: Poor reviews
Reviews on any user-friendly format are critical for optimisation purposes. Especially those Facebook and Google reviews out of 5 stars, they act as key signals of trust from consumers who have gone through the process, bought in and offered their feedback.
There is a balance to be had between the volume that is generated and the actual quality of those reviews. Should your feedback be negative with customers complaining about the poor quality of the product, the lack of information, clarity or something else that has hampered their experience, it must be addressed.
Search engines consider the review process a major part of their ranking application, so this should be a genuine priority to address before word spreads and the SERP (search engine results page) falls.
Solution: Customer service
There is nowhere to hide from poor reviews. Like any infrastructure that is eroding away, an aesthetic change here and there won’t address the cause of the frustration and will only act to delay the inevitable.
The solution is fairly simple – engage those that are giving poor reviews, take onboard the feedback and seek to resolve their problem.
If there is a lack of information, give it to them. If there is an issue on delivery or a fault with a product, issue them a new one. Shirking the comments and opting away from the discussion will add fuel to the fire and your enterprise will lose all control.
A proactive step to addressing user satisfaction is to issue out a survey and ask the questions yourself. A platform such as Survey Monkey is well sourced to give the consumers the capacity to shape the way in which you craft your operating model.
Ask them any of the following:
- How did you find our brand?
- What platform do you use to connect with us?
- How best would you like to be contacted for news, offers and updates?
- What would you like to see changed about our scheduling?
- What time of day would you prefer to be contacted?
End users don’t expect miracles to take place. So long as there are avenues of contact where matters can be addressed in a timely and efficient manner, the other challenges can be minimised.
Sign two: No keyword cut-through
In 2018, keywords will only take your SEO campaign so far. 5 to 10 years ago, a series of hot topic keywords with some decent backlinks would skyrocket your brand’s optimisation performance. Today – that will barely get the operation out of first gear.
There could be a litany of problems that revolve around a keyword strategy that is falling behind. Yet they will likely be found at one end of the spectrum: being too broad and vague, or being too niche-specific.
A plumbing tool supplier based in the Sydney suburb of Kensington might limit their keyword strategy around the terms: “Plumbing tools Sydney.” By heading down this path, they are placing themselves against competitors in the South, East, West and North of the city while overlooking those consumers closer to their postcode.
The same could be found for an electrician who is attempting to run a campaign solely on their line of 55-piece apprentice tool skits. Yes they will likely rank high for that search alone, but what about the rest of their supply range?
Any successful keyword implementation requires terms that are popular within the niche, but not generic enough to lose your brand within the crowd. Failing campaigns in this department are not striking this balance.
Since Google rolled the Hummingbird algorithm out back in 2013, the notion that you have to stick to a static collection of keywords is anachronistic. The reality is that the diversity in language is a tool that is at your disposal, it is simply a matter of using it to your advantage.
Google’s Keyword Planner is the default option for many companies that want to sync their campaign in under one platform. An alternative can be found with the Keyword Tool, a research application that helps to find the hidden gold in the long-tail keywords and phrases that will be ideal for general SEO and PPC users.
Naturally there will be a need to hit a subsection of keywords that are common to the niche, yet don’t feel bound by them. Engage terms that connect to your geographic location and are similar in their phrasing, sifting through the related search terms at the bottom of the Google page.
Sign three: No external backlinks
Backlinks are vital to driving numbers to your page from a traffic perspective. Examining the issue from the viewpoint of Google, it is a major determining factor that judges your authority and credibility in a niche. Overlook this subject at your peril.
Should there be no one on the World Wide Web talking about your brand and offering links to your source, then your site is left to do all of the heavy lifting. Long story short – that is a surefire way of going out of business.
Organisations that opt not to reach out and connect with peers and even some competitors will remain in a bubble. They feel comfortable in this setting all the while other enterprises are scoring high on visibility by making recommendations, co-hosting events and supporting the cause at hand.
If this is not you, then do not be surprised to see a shortage of backlinks.
Solution: Start networking!
Much the same as the philosophy to combat poor reviews, the inclination is to reach out and make connections. These bridges that are built over time will ensure that other sites see you as a transparent, open and friendly brand that places the consumer’s welfare over your short-term financial goals.
The greatest means of engaging sites that are supporting the same market is to open a discussion. Breakdown barriers and consider some of the following techniques:
- Start to write articles for a niche-targeted magazine or newspaper
- Invite another business owners to the office and record a podcast
- Conduct an open Q&A session at a luncheon
- Provide customers with a 2-for-1 offer between yourselves and another company
- Issue referrals and mention peers in your content copy
When you begin to take the mindset away from the brand-to-brand competition and towards the benefit of the customer, your philosophy transitions towards positive action.
Sign four: Incompatible to mobile
Smartphones have overtaken desktops as the greatest means in which society searches for brands and services online. This means that every site that is not catered to this market are neglecting their duty and are suffering. Many of them are probably ignorant to this fact.
According to Statista, there will be no less than 20 million individual mobile users by the year 2020 in Australia alone as the trend is heading further towards the hand-held device.
Organisations need to understand that Google and Bing are placing more of an emphasis on mobile compatibility than ever before. The Mobile-Friendly update was one of the few announcements to be made public on this matter, illustrating that domains who lag on time and fail to deliver easy navigation will be punished.
Solution: Run diagnostics + optimise content
The good news is that the overwhelming majority of websites can be fixed for mobile compatibility with the help of some online software tools. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test is one of the most common available for free out there, running a diagnostic on the issues that need attention and strategies to address the matter.
The lack of compatibility could run deeper with that though, revolving around the web host you are operating with. Should they not issue a program that delivers a user-friendly interface such as WordPress, then it is best practice to either demand a change to your plan or simply change providers.
To be running optimised content on mobile devices, your site needs to be flexible and designed for screens of all shapes and sizes. Unless your brand is locked into a long-term contract that doesn’t offer alternatives, then it is advised that you embrace a site that gives you the freedom to cater to the mobile market.
From a high bounce rate to low traffic numbers and everything in between, there will always be an SEO challenge that your domain will have to acknowledge. Even the biggest brands on the planet are dealing with ongoing issues that are hampering online performance, so don’t feel isolated from the practice.
There should be fundamentals throughout each topic that arises during the optimisation process.
- Always put the user experience ahead of the search engine
- Reach out and engage consumers and professional peers at every opportunity
- Invest time and money into your SEO endeavours
- Have patience
Stick to these techniques and remain vigilant for future setbacks that will pop up.
Kieran is the Social Media Manager and SEO Expert at SEO Shark. He is an expert in Social Media, link building, PPC and of course SEO. In his time off work Kieran enjoys reading and playing rugby, as well as following all kinds of sports! You can read some more of his articles here.