If you’re having difficulties and struggling to drive organic search traffic and conversion you want for your online business, search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies that you should include in your digital marketing plan.

But what if you’ve been doing SEO for months and not driving enough organic search traffic? Why your SEO efforts are not working in 2021, and what you should do to make your SEO work?

Don’t worry if you’re not generating good results from your SEO campaigns. There are various ways to give a boost to your SEO efforts. In this blog post, we’ll cover the top reasons for your SEO efforts to fail.

If you’re not sure what is wrong with your SEO strategies, keep reading.

What leads to your SEO failure in 2021?

When your SEO efforts are not generating the results you want, the experience can be extremely frustrating. The frustration will increase if you’re unable to find out what’s wrong with your SEO. But don’t give up yet.

Most probably your SEO is not working due to one or more reasons we’ll be discussing next in this blog post. You can fix these issues and get your SEO in the right direction.

Let’s look at the top possible reasons for your SEO efforts to fail.

  • You’re targeting competitive keywords
  • You’re stuffing keywords
  • You’re ignoring long-tail keywords
  • Your web pages take time to load
  • You’re building low -quality backlinks
  • Your website is not responsive
  • You’re creating thin content
  • You’re having technical SEO issues
  • You’re not focusing on internal linking strategy
  • You’re not social media marketing
  • You’re not using your analytics to improve your SEO efforts
  • You’re looking for quick results

You’re Targeting Competitive Keywords

You need to be realistic when choosing keywords to rank your website. If you’re targeting keywords and key phrases that top brands are ranking for, most likely you will not rank for them, unless if you have a huge SEO budget. Even if you manage to rank for those keywords, you need to spend a lot to retain top rankings.

Solution: Choose keywords or key phrases that have a decent number of searches per month. Make sure the phrases are relevant to your products or services and have the potential to convert your visitors to paying customers.

You’re stuffing keywords

Keyword stuffing can destroy your SEO efforts.

When you optimize your website, you will be tempted to use shortcuts (Blackhat SEO) to speed up the ranking process. But you need to understand that Blackhat SEO methods won’t help you in 2021. It will hurt your overall SEO efforts.

Keyword stuffing is an unethical method of using keywords multiple times in a web page or content to achieve high rankings on search engines. Unfortunately, some businesses are still using this method for short-term gain.

These are some of the common types of keyword stuffing:

  • Repeating the same keywords or phrases multiple time
  • Adding keywords that are not related to the context of the content
  • Using keywords that are not relevant to the topic of the content

Solution: Focus on producing content that adds value to your visitors. Answer the questions that your potential customer has in their mind. Avoid inserting keywords for the sake of ranking high on search engines. Make the keywords appear naturally within your content. Read about BERT and NLP. Add your keywords to your page title, meta description, headings, and keep your keyword density 1-1.5%. Let’s say you’re developing 2,000 words of content; you should not use your keyword more than 15 times.

You’re Ignoring Long-Tail Keywords

If you’re not using long-tail keywords in your SEO campaigns, then you’re missing 70% organic search traffic. As generic short-tail keywords are hard to rank for, it is more suitable to focus on long-tail keywords instead.

Do you know why you should target long-tail keywords?

  • You can easily outrank your competition
  • 90% of people use long-tail keywords to search
  • Long-tail keywords enable the context of your content
  • You will have better conversion using long-tail keywords
  • Content that is focused on long-tail keywords provides more value to readers

Solution: Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Google Autosuggest to findlong-tail keywords. We would suggest using Google Autosuggest if you’re just starting. And keep your eyes on related searches at the bottom of search result pages. Always remember that questions can be long-tail keywords too. Browse Quora or niche based forums and look at the questions people are seeking answers for. Target these keywords in developing your content.

Your Web Pages Takes Time to Load

Google has officially announced that page loading time is one of the factors they consider in ranking web pages in search result pages.

Page load speed not only good for website visitors – it’s good for search engines like Google, too. When a website is slow, Google must allocate more resources and consume more bandwidth in loading the site.

The following statistics from recent studies shows why it’s important for your site to load fast:

  • 47% of people expect the site they visit to load in less than 2 seconds
  • 20% of users abandon their cart if the transaction process is too slow
  • Amazon has indicated that 100ms of latency has cost them 1% of their overall sales
  • BBC has mentioned that they lost almost 10% of new users for every additional second their site took to load.

Poor user experience can hurt your SEO efforts. Imagine you’re spending thousands on SEO but ignore site loading speed, you’ll be losing a lot of potential customers. Your visitors will instantly click the “Back” button and visit your competitor’s website if your site takes time to load.

Solution: Although speeding up your site might be slightly technical, having a basic knowledge in improving your site loading speed will be extremely useful. If you’re using WordPress do the following:

  • Compress CSS and JavaScript files
  • Reduce image sizes using tools like TinyPNG or TinyJPG
  • Deactivate and remove unused plugins
  • Remove unused JavaScript scripts
  • Validate CSS and HTML
  • Use Gzip compression server-side

How search engines like Google determine whether your site has more authority and credibility than your competitors apart from on-page SEO factors?

By looking at your backlinks. If you’ve got links from high authority websites, the search engine will consider your site to be a high authority site in your niche. Just think about the voting system. When credible individuals vote for you, your credibility increases.

If you end up building low-quality irrelevant links from low authority sites and sites linking out to too many websites, you surely know what search engines would think about your website.

Low-quality or bad backlinks come from websites that are solely focused on building links (links farms). Although Google’s Penguin update in 2012 has changed the way businesses build backlinks, still there are certain parties resort to spammy link-building strategies.

It’s better to have zero links than having hundreds or thousands of spammy low-quality links.

You can find whether your site has low-quality links with free and paid methods. The free method involves Google Search Console. Just click on “Links” and take a look at the list of domains linking to your web pages. Most of the time you will have links from directories and social media networks which helps your SEO. But there are also possibilities to find links that may harm your SEO efforts.

You can also tools like Monitor Backlinks, Ahrefs, and SEMRush (paid tools), to check your entire backlink profile and identify low-quality links.

But, how do you identify low-quality backlinks?

Ask the following questions and you’ll easily find backlinks that’s harming your website:

  • What kind of website is linking to my site? Check whether the site linking to your site is relevant to your niche and check the quality of outbound links. If they have hundreds of outbound links to other websites, it may be a bad website to be associated with.
  • Does the link provide value to my business? If your answer is Yes, then you should keep it. If you don’t want your website mentioned on that site, it’s better to get it removed.
  • Are there pages like About Us, Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy on the website? If a website is spammy, there won’t be any important pages that often exist in a legit website.   

Solution: Once you’ve identified low-quality links that are not relevant to your site, it’s better to remove them and maintain your site’s authority and credibility. You can use Google Search Console’s Disavow tool to remove those links. If you’re unable to do so, contact the website owner and request to remove the unwanted links.

Your Website Is Not Responsive on Mobile Devices

Responsive design is a trend in the website design industry. As Google emphasizes mobile responsiveness as a ranking factor and rolled out the mobile-first index, it has become a must for businesses to have a responsive website.

However, Google has not officially announced that responsive design is a ranking factor but mentioned that they prefer sites that offer a good user experience (UX) for the visitors. This means Google indirectly prefers responsive websites.

If your website is not responsive, you’re losing your visitors especially the ones using smartphones and tablets. As of February 2021, mobile has 57.23% market share of Internet usage which shows that people are actively browsing websites from mobile devices.  

Solution: If your site is not responsive on desktop and mobile devices, you should get it fixed right away. Hire the right website developers to work on your site. Don’t jeopardize your SEO efforts by ignoring the importance of responsive web design.

You’re creating thin content

At Magnes Marketing, we are a stern believer of “Content is King”. By this, we mean that you cannot rank for any keywords or key phrases if you don’t create meaningful and valuable content. Websites publishing content for the sake of achieving high rankings on search engines don’t work anymore. Google dislikes think content or low-quality content.

So, what is thin content?

Thin content is content that provides no value to the visitors. Cloaked pages, low-quality affiliate pages, or blog posts with little content considered as thin content. And thin content is often stuffed with keywords with the sole purpose to rank higher on search engines like how we have discussed earlier in the keyword stuffing section.

As Google is constantly updating their algorithm to provide the best user experience for their users, only web pages that satisfy the user’s search intent shows up high on search result pages. This is not possible with thin content. If you don’t put the effort into creating content that adds value to your visitors and educate them about your products or services, it’s not possible to increase your site’s organic traffic.

Solution: We suggest writing the best content on the chosen topic. You want to show your expertise and position your site as an authority within your niche. We understand that it’s not possible to write in-depth content for every topic. But you can write unique and original content that will help convey your business message to your potential customers. Linchpin, a digital marketing agency conducted a case study by implementing a long-form SEO content strategy for 6 months and increased their organic search traffic, and generated more leads.

You’re Having Technical SEO Issues

Technical SEO issues can cause a huge impact on your search traffic and rankings. It is extremely important to resolve your website’s technical SEO issues before implementing on-page SEO efforts.

In this section, we will provide the common technical SEO issues you may encounter and how to fix them. Some of them might be slightly technical.

It’s good if you understand the common technical SEO issues and learn how to solve them.

Issue 1: SSL (HTTPS) is not integrated into the site

SSL is important for every website. You don’t want your website to show up as “Not Secure” to your visitors. It will chase away your visitors immediately from your website. On the other hand, Google considers SSL as a ranking factor.


Solution:
Purchase SSL from your hosting service provider. You can request the hosting provider to set up the certificate for your website

Issue 2: Your website is not indexed properly

When yourwebsite is not indexed properly, people will have a problem finding your web pages on search engines. You don’t want to lose your potential customers searching for keywords and key phrases related to your business by not showing up.


Solution: Type “site: yourwebsitename.com” into the Google search bar and check the number of web pages indexed. If your site is not indexed, submit your website’s sitemap to Google Search Console. You can learn how to submit your sitemap to the Google Search console from this blog post. If you encounter partial indexing and your important pages are not indexed, you need to check your robots.txt file and see whether the pages are blocked.

Issue 3: Your site doesn’t have an XML sitemap

XML sitemap provides information about your web pages for search engine bots to crawl and index. It also allows the search bots to have a clear understanding of your web pages.


Solution: To check whether there is a sitemap, type your domain name and add “/sitemap.xml”. It should show something like the screenshot below:

If your website doesn’t have a sitemap, you can create them automatically by installing Yoast SEO or Rank Math plugin (if you’re using WordPress) or generate it using a sitemap generator.

Issue 4: Incorrect robots.txt

It is a big concern if your site’s robots.txt is missing. Without a properly configured robots.txt file you’ll be losing organic traffic that you should be getting.

Solution: Type your website URL into the browser followed with “/robots.txt”. If you’re seeing “User-agent: *Disallow:/”, then it’s a big issue. This string provides instruction to crawling bots not to crawl your website which can result in an indexation issue. Most of the time eCommerce sites will have few lines of instructions. It’s best to review each of them with your developer and make sure there are no issues caused.

Issue 5: Missing Alt Tags for Images

Alt Tags for images are often overlooked and people ignore the huge potential it can offer in terms of organic traffic. Businesses are not aware that optimizing images can drive organic search traffic to their website as well. And Alt tags are what crawled by search engine bots to understand what the images are about to position them higher on image search results.

Solution: When you conduct an SEO site audit for your website, you can identify whether your images are missing alt tags. If you’re using WordPress, you can easily add alt tag to your images like shown in the screenshot below:

Issue 6: Broken Links

Internal and external backlinks are important for your website. This allows search engine bots to find out the relevancy of internal and external links to determine the quality of your web pages. If you’re not frequently updating your pages, the links on those pages might have expired or moved. So, it will create a poor user experience and affect and overall performance of your website.

Solution: You can download the “Check My Links” Google Chrome extension and check your pages for broken links. If you’re having less than 500 indexed pages, you can use the free version of Screaming Frog to find broken links on your website. Having a paid version of Screaming Frog is the ideal solution if you have more than 500 indexed pages.

These are the most crucial Technical SEO issues that you should be aware of. Get them fixed before implementing on-page SEO or link-building strategies.

You’re Not Focusing on Internal Linking Strategy

Did you know your internal linking strategy is important for SEO?

An internal link is any link from one page to another page within your website. Search engine bots use internal links to find out the relevancy of your webpages.

Even the links on the navigation menu are considered internal links. But we should focus more on the contextual links in articles and blog posts. Contextual links help your visitors to find related content on your website. On the other hand, internal links help to determine the value of your content in terms of SEO.

Solution: Determine the right structure for your website. Think of the pyramid. The highest hierarchy should be your homepage and then followed by category pages and lastly followed by individual posts and pages. Add contextual links in your posts and pages that link to other articles. For example, our article “Guide to SEO 2021: What is SEO and How it Works?” links to other articles through an internal linking strategy. The keyword “SEO” links to another article “How Long Does SEO Takes to Work in 2021”. When search engine bots crawl our website, it finds the relevancy between both articles.

You’re Not Using Social Media Marketing

It’s been a long debate since 2014 between marketers whether social media impacts SEO. Google’s Head of Webspam, Matt Cuts published a video in 2014 stating that social media do not influence SEO ranking.

We agree that social media can’t directly influence SEO. But it can impact the factors that influence search rankings. Moreover, social media marketing helps to drive traffic to your website as well.

As content creation remains one of the best ways to increase your search rankings, social media can help amplify your content marketing efforts. When you develop valuable content and share it on your social media networks, people will discover your content. If your content is relevant, it will help your following to engage and share your content.

Other than that, when more people spending time on your content, it sends a signal to Google that your content is getting quality traffic. Social media marketing can boost your SEO efforts indirectly and that’s why we often share our content on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Solution: Once you publish your content on your website, share them on social media channels that you think relevant to your niche. Focusing on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter should be enough. If you think other social media channels like Instagram and Pinterest can drive traffic to your site, you might want to create attractive images and encourage your followers to read your content.

You’re Not Using Your Analytics to Improve Your SEO Efforts

If you haven’t set up any analytic tools for your website, we suggest set-up Google Analytics right away. You can use other analytical tools as well but it’s better to start with Google Analytics.

When you look at your analytics report, you can determine whether your SEO strategies are working and moving in the right direction. If you’re missing this out, you could be missing the opportunities of increasing organic traffic and search rankings.

If you haven’t added your site to Google Search Console, please do it. This is because Google Search Console works along with Google Analytics in identifying keywords that you should focus on in increasing your traffic.

Solution: Check your Google Analytics regularly, a weekly basis should be good. Find out which content is driving the most traffic from search engines and the ones bringing in the most leads (conversion rate). Analyze the content and reverse engineer them to produce better results with your SEO campaigns.

You’re Looking for Quick Results

If you’re looking for instant results from digital marketing efforts, SEO is not the right strategy that you should focus on. SEO is the best way to build consistent organic traffic for the long-term. It’s an investment for future results.

It’s better to focus on other digital marketing efforts like Google Ads and Social Media Ads if you want to generate instant traffic to your website. But once you stop spending on paid ads, your traffic will instantly vanish.

When you start investing in SEO, you will see consistent growth in your search traffic in 6 to 12 months. Even if you decide to stop investing in SEO, you’ll still generate quality traffic from search engines.

Patience is a virtue. If you’re patient about your business growth, why don’t you have the same patience when it comes to SEO?

Enjoy the compounding growth effect with SEO for the long-term if you’re serious about growing your business online.

Solution: Have a 6 months or 12 months SEO plan in place. Consistently create and publish valuable content that is relevant to your business. Focus on educating your target market and slowly convert them into paying customers.

Final Thoughts

These are the most common SEO mistakes that lead to SEO failure. Are there any other reasons that you would add to this list?

Share with us by commenting below!

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