Search engine algorithms are always evolving and SEO professionals are constantly being faced with the challenges of keeping up. There are literally hundreds of factors to look out for when it comes to SEO, leading to complex problems that require innovative solutions.
But what about common SEO challenges? Many business owners struggle in the beginning as they try to find solutions to some basic issues. If that sounds like you, then this article will help you past some initial roadblocks that are preventing your website from ranking higher.
Problem #1: Not being found
Solution 1: Check robots.txt
There’s a file on your server called robots.txt. As the name implies, this file pertains to robots - the kind that crawl the web.
Search engines like Google work by sending out these robots to create a map of all the content on the internet. The information they collect is then “indexed” before being served up to users when they perform searches.
Your robots.txt file might be blocking them. Website developers often configure this file to block them while the site is in development so the robots don’t index any information before the site is ready to go live. To find out if this is the issue (and it’s more common than you might believe!) - give your website developer a call.
Solution 2: Try local SEO
When customers can’t easily find the website of a local business, it’s usually because that site isn’t optimized for “local” SEO.
Local SEO is a set of online marketing techniques and tools that businesses use to target customers in a specific geographical area. It is a more specialized version of standard SEO that uses specific techniques aimed at getting a business’s products and services displayed in front of local customers at the exact time they are searching for them online.
Solution 3: Get some rave reviews
Few things boost a business’s credibility like positive reviews. As a form of social proof, reviews bolster the confidence of people and encourage them to engage with a business. Even search engines like Google know this by inserting reviews directly into search results. Ask your customers to leave a review for your business on Google - the more positive reviews your business has, the better.
Solution 4: Get social!
Every time a social media user shares a blog post or page from your site on their own site, you get a boost on search engines. Links from reputable sources are like “votes” that increase the credibility of your site. This type of link building - unlike “black hat” SEO based on spammy links - can increase the domain authority of your site.
Creating and maintaining an active profile on social media pays dividends in the long run because engaging with your followers encourages link sharing. The profile itself will also be listed high up in the results page when users search for your business name.
Problem #2: Not ranking
Creating a website is the first step to creating an online presence, but that is not enough to get traffic. The next step is to optimize it for search engines so it gets found. As mentioned earlier, search engines use robots that crawl the web.
With that in mind, here are some solutions to improve a low ranking:
Solution 1: Try technical SEO
This solution, as the name implies, is technical - so you may want to call your web developer for this one.
Technical SEO refers to factors that have an effect on search engine crawling and indexing, which then affect your website’s position on the results page. They include:
HTTP header responses
Since some of these issues need to be configured on a server or implemented into the code of a website, it’s a wise idea to call a professional.
Solution 2: Try content marketing with SEO in mind
Content marketing takes old school marketing techniques and digitizes them into content that your ideal customers can watch, listen to, or read online.
Rather than bombarding the world with generic ineffective messaging, content marketing creates a “pull” factor that reels in a specific target audience that’s looking for exactly what your business has to offer.
The use of SEO and content marketing together are part of an overall digital marketing strategy that can change how you do business online.
Strategic Initiatives & Campaigns
For most businesses, it’s not possible to accomplish everything at once. A long-term strategy can be broken up into several campaigns with each focusing on 3-4 strategic initiatives at a time.
SEO is a long-term game and every strategic plan should be looked at as a “live” document that can be tweaked as a business evolves. The entire digital landscape is always innovating and changing and a long-term plan should be flexible for when conditions change.
Problem #3: Not converting
Some business owners think they have done everything right: they created a website, published some content, and are getting some traffic.
But they aren’t generating any leads or sales. What could be going wrong?
Here are some solutions:
Solution 1: Try some new reporting
Traffic coming to a site may seem great, but it depends where the traffic is from and where that traffic is going. An insurance agency might be publishing great content about new laws and legislation, but if their traffic is coming mostly from students researching for their assignments, it’s not going to add to their leads.
Search analytics software like Google Analytics gives you the tools to find out where your visitors are coming from, what time of the day they visit, the bounce rate, what devices they are using, and more. These tools are invaluable in figuring out who your audience is and why they are visiting your site.
Solution 2: Try some technical SEO
As mentioned earlier, technical SEO is composed of factors that can directly or indirectly affect search engine crawling, indexing and ultimately ranking.
Try asking your website developer or SEO specialist to run an SEO audit to see if you have errors. Perhaps your contact form isn’t loading properly or your site has a slow loading time. Users are super-sensitive these days - more than ever before. That’s why looking after any issues related to user experience should be a top priority along with optimizing your content.
Solution 3: Try some CRO
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is a set of practices aimed at creating a user experience that drives conversion rates higher.
The goals of CRO include:
Attracting users and keeping them on your site for longer
Encouraging users to respond to calls-to-action via buttons
Creating compelling options that encourage users to leave contact information
Creating forms that are easy to access at optimal locations throughout the site
Publishing content that encourages users to share it on social media
SEO is not a “set it and forget it” endeavor - earning a high ranking can take a long time. Like traditional marketing, SEO is an evolving part of digital marketing that comes with many challenges along the way. Thankfully there are solutions to some of those challenges that are surprisingly easy to implement.
With a little research and professional help you can work past those roadblocks so your site can rank higher, generate better quality leads and increase sales for your business.
Jake Fisher, is President and Co-Founder of Bridges. He helps Bridges’ clients with their revenue and growth goals by providing better strategies, better processes, and better technology. He also makes videos and written content to help entrepreneurs, business owners, and managers achieve their own revenue goals. And, he talks to business and industry leaders at conferences and association events.