1. User Experience
2. Backlink strategy
3. Site navigation
6. Google’s algorithm changes
7. Keyword Re-Research
8. Penalties & link building penalties
9. Lack of time, continuity & effort
10. Not hiring an SEO agency
1. User experience
‘Consumer is the king’, this is a fact you have to understand and adapt to. Google has made it very clear that their SERP protocols change and enhance with the end consumer in mind. End consumer is anyone using their search engine.
Google has introduced AI, machine learning, new principles like EAT, etc. to enhance the user experience to not only consider keywords but also phrases, questions and even context. So, SEO ranking for your page also depends highly on user experience. To avoid a drop in rank or rectify the previous drop, you should look at your page loading speeds, have a clear path to CTA, image optimization, readability & consider adding white space.
2. Backlink strategy
Backlinks can make or break your SEO campaign. Creating them is important but maintaining & analyzing them is equally important. When looking at your backlinks, ensure that you can classify backlinks into three categories. These categories explained by Julia McCoy in her Search Engine Journal’s article will provide a clear picture
I. Unlinked mentions are online mentions, citations, images, etc. which are not linked to your brand. You can capitalize on this opportunity and link to the relevant pages.
II. Link Reclamation is finding & fixing online content where your brand has been improperly linked.
III. Lost or broken links are caused if a website removes linked pages & when there is a redesign involved. In such a case you can talk to the site owner and they will (in most cases) be happy to help you, as this benefits both parties involved.
It is best to have a backlink strategy in place. Continuous monitoring of internal links & lost links is crucial. There are free tools like Google Analytics, screaming frog’s SEO spider & free backlink checker from SEO review tools which can help you have a strong backlink strategy. As your business grows, you might want to use paid tools like Ahrefs site explorer, DeepCrawl, Majestic & Tineye to amp up your efforts in SEO rankings.
3. Website Navigation
Your website navigation is a heavy contributing factor when considering SEO. Navigation is an integral part of the user experience. As we know UX is super important. A user or consumer should be able to easily go from one link to other on your site. Their path should be clear and easy to navigate. If you are facing a problem with SEO ranking, analyzing your navigation not just by you or your team but others can be helpful. This is because you can get an external opinion and gauge the performance.
It is no secret that google search results differ for two individuals. There are multiple factors involved while doing a google search like your preferences, search history, cookies and much more, but the most important aspect is location.
Location is one of the most influential factors when it comes to google searches. If you do a search in Toronto for Men’s shoes and another in Ottawa, you will be surprised by the difference in results.
Keep in mind that you have to focus on your reach, be it local, regional, national, or international. Depending on your reach, you can direct your marketing efforts towards your business. You can use Google’s search settings, external SEO tools & VPNs to gauge location-based SEO rankings.
5. Improved efforts by competition
Competition is an external factor, which means it’s not controllable by you or your company. Your SEO rankings can highly likely be affected by your competition’s enhanced efforts. If you rank above your competition, most likely they have noticed you & created an SEO strategy to rank higher.
It is vital to have a competitive analysis of all possible competitors. Your competitive analysis can help you be ahead of your competition and to retain that position in SEO terms. Developing a competitive analysis consists of
i. Identifying your competition (who are they?)
ii. SWOT analysis (what are their strength & weaknesses)
iii. Positioning analysis (what are they known for?)
iv. Finding the competitive advantage (how can we get ahead?)
v. Developing a strategy & mapping tactics (what should we do?)
If you develop such a plan and maintain it in the long run, you can be a step ahead and try to avoid losing SEO ranking to your competition.
6. Google’s algorithm changes
As we know, google directs its efforts to make Google a consumer-focused search engine. To do this, they develop new technologies & introduce new algorithms like core updates, BERT, medic, etc. to enhance a consumer’s experience with Google search engine. Google has successfully been doing that, so much so that their search engine is now an essential part of our life. If you wait a second and check the number of searches you have done in a month, you’ll be surprised. It has reached a level, where you subconsciously do it and never come to realize it, like clicking a pen (if you still use one).
As a business who desires to succeed online and leave a major digital footprint, having a high SEO ranking is very important for top-of-mind awareness in the minds of your consumer. That is possible when you are well-aware of the information with algorithmic changes & and any major updates initialized by google. Google search central can provide you with all the information related to the above.
7. Keyword Re-Research
Keywords research is important to choose the right ones to base your brand’s success. Therefore, it is something that needs attention and updating. To succeed with keywords, you need to thoroughly know your target audience.
Once you identify & study your target audience you can create personas and picturize them to know them better. The next step is to keep track of your audience’s changing habits, psychographics, consumption pattern, etc. to know them deeply and to provide them with curated products, content & services. You can use tools like Quora, Google search console, Google keyword planner or any other paid SEO tools.
Changing customers = change in search habits.
Restudying planned keywords and being attentive towards your customers will definitely help your brand’s SEO rankings.
8. Penalties & Link Building penalties
As explained, creating backlinks is an essential part of an SEO strategy, but Google is not naïve. They know how often spammy, duplicate links are used. Doing that will lead to Google penalizing your website pages & stop your organic growth. If you see a drop in your SEO ranking and are not able to figure out the reason, check Google search console & my business to see if you have any penalties levied on your account. You will be able to solve the queries based on the reasoning provided by Google and/or ask for a re-consideration. To avoid this happening to check Link schemes & penalties.
9. Lack Of Time, Continuity & Effort
Time is of essence in any point in life. Your business is no exception, especially if you are someone who has started to grow. As a growing business you will have several tasks to deal with but limited time and energy. Your SEO efforts determine how you rank. ‘SEO rankings waits for no man’ or business.
As a business who is trying to have an online presence, you cannot be idle. Continuous efforts derive your SEO rankings. Your dropping rank is an indication to invest more.
10. Not Hiring An SEO Agency
If you’re a growing business or have a desire to do so, you will often find yourself out of ‘time’. If so, you will need people in your team or have externals work with you, depending on the workload, but you will need them to grow and be successful. If not then you find yourself struggling with numerous tasks including operations, sales, marketing, procurement, etc.There are some aspects which you will be capable of doing on your own but for some, learning new concepts and its applications like SEO will be time consuming. For your future and long-term success, it is essential to hire a team or externals to get the job done efficiently. SEO rankings are important no matter your reach level, it helps you to achieve top of mind awareness for your audience, which is important for your success. Hiring an SEO agency will ease your burden of multi-tasking and help you focus on other aspects of your business.