SEO campaigns need to begin with the expectation that they are going to require a dedicated workload, and that effective results are a product of long-term strategy, not shortcuts. Most businesses want the results to come immediately, and are not willing to make the proper investments.
Optimizing your brand visibility can take months of interpreting data, but it's in this commitment to building metrics that meaningful conclusions will begin to emerge. Whether you've hired an SEO Consultant or want to manage the campaign yourself, here are the tell-tale signs the campaign is failing, and what you can do to get it back on track.
Page and Position Rankings Do Not Last In The SERPs
Search Engine rankings fluctuate on a regular basis. In fact, you might even have a different position depending on which device you're browsing from. Small slips are nothing to bother over as you might be doing everything to the best of your ability.
What's notable is when you're moving between complete pages, or from the top three spots down to position 9 or 10. Top ranking positions are built around consistency, both in the optimization of your keywords, and the tenacity of your link-building. The best way to combat significant position drops is to ramp up your original content, and do the heavy lifting of researching which keywords people will use to find your content.
Organic Traffic Begins To Plummet
Organic traffic is classified as visitors who arrived at your site strictly by using a search engine, and because that's the goal of SEO, it's one of the greatest indicators of how well your campaign is performing. Google Analytics will allow you to explore colorful breakdowns on where organic traffic is coming from between sources, referrals, social media and direct visits.
It's recommended you keep an eye on these numbers at least every month, but there will be noticeable trends from week to week that can also give you lengthy enough indications. For example, if you're getting 5,000 hits a week and then all the sudden organic traffic plummets to a few hundred, something has definitely gone wrong.
Chosen Keywords Become Over-saturated and Competitive
At one time or another, the keywords we've set out to rank for might become too ambiguous or popular for it to be benefiting the SEO campaign any longer. As an example, think of the growth in popularity of a type of retail item. Snowboards for instance, recently transformed into the ability to "split" into two pieces to make cross-country skis. The term "Splitboard" was very unsaturated a few years ago. Today if you were to Google "Splitboard", the term has become much more popular as more vendors and topics have emerged on the sport.
If at any time you were ranking for a term, and it seems to have become more competitive, chances are more people are trying to rank for it. Instead of fighting an uphill battle to rank for the specific term, try and target long tail keywords which are much more specific.
What is a long tail keyword?
Going back to the Splitboard example, if you own a Splitboard rental and service company in Lake Tahoe, try incorporating a term with three or more words; like, Splitboard Rentals Tahoe. The combination of terms is much more targeted and the traffic you receive will be much more intentional leading to higher conversion rates.
Some Strategies To Get On Track
The fact that your SEO campaign is struggling isn't a death sentence to all the work you've implemented. SEO is long-term and will always be changing anyway, so try refreshing a few of the following.
Improve Link-building- Google's penguin update was intended on weeding out those who built links in the wrong way. This includes buying links, placing them on low-ranking websites, and tying them into irrelevant subject matter. Instead, focus on making high quality content and publish with strong authorities.
Do Not Over-optimize Content- It's been said before, but I'll say it again, keyword stuffing is no longer effective. Stick to well written, original content and include new topics on a regular basis.
Keyword Images- All images on your pages should have keywords. This is inclusive of alt-text (Image Descriptions)