Ok so your site is set up all the little buttons on Yoast SEO are green and your readability is rocking. But you are just not getting any results, SEO is not working on your site. How do we fix this?
Everyone looks as SEO as the holy grail to get search results and it is just not. SEO is just really a list of optimizations that the Google search algorithm finds favourable. Now I’m not saying that SEO is a waste of time or that you shouldn’t do it, but what I would say is that you should just simplify it as there are bigger options to work on.
The Google search algorithm is always being updated and changed; But the one thing that never changes is that it loves good, longtail content that answers search queries. That never changes. So before you spend your life optimizing every single aspect of your site for SEO just be aware that there are sites that just have to publish and do nothing to beat you in the SERPS.
These big authority sites all have something in common in that they have built up some trust with Google for doing the right things, and they are extremely consistent.
Reasons why SEO is not working on your site
Your site is new
If your site is new then all the SEO under the sun won’t help you initially. You will just be a new site that is optimized with no track record with Google. Google needs to see that you tick a few boxes before they even look at you. Yes optimizing your site is a great start to get noticed but that doesn’t get you results above the next guy who is optimizing as well as you. And it won’t get you results above a domain with some authority especially if their content is as good as yours.
You haven’t optimized for the basics
WordPress is very easy to optimize for but also very easy to mess up. Here is my simple guide to SEO, have a read it really does cover the basics very well, probably too well.
Your optimizing for the wrong keywords
Keyword research can be very complicated and time-consuming or as easy as doing a few searches on Google. I know which way I choose. We get keyword research wrong when you think we know what people are searching. It’s no good thinking you know what people are searching, you need to know, and if you Google search your initial ideas for possible keywords then Google will show you exactly what people are searching and what you should be optimizing for.
Here is some more reading for you, Never do keyword research again, do this instead.
There is too much competition for your keywords
Don’t go head to head with big authority sites. You are just wasting time. Go for achievable keywords that are long and specific. A keyword phrase like “SEO is not working” might have a lot of competition so it would be better to go for “reasons why SEO is not working”
The longer phrase will be easier to rank for but will generate fewer clicks. But if you want to get results then you want lots of small wins. It’s better to be on page 3 for “reasons why SEO is not working” than on page 20 for “SEO is not working”
So don’t set unachievable goals.
Your content is not long enough
Another possible reason why SEO is not working on your site could be that your content is just not long enough. Google loves long-form content, the longer the better, 2000 words plus is what I try to hit. I may drop a bit lower depending on the article and what it is being created for. A supporting article pointing at your cornerstone content could be shorter at around 1500 words but anything less is going to struggle to feature.
Your title is wrong
There are a few things you can get wrong here like it doesn’t answer a question or promise anything or it could just be too long and get truncated on Google. There are only a limited number of characters that you can add to a title if you are over you could be cutting off your keyword phrase or just making no sense. You need to write killer blog titles that convert into views.
Consistency is key
This is the big one. Google wants to see consistency in what you do. It wants to see you posting often. The big sites have whole teams of writers generating masses of content making them information resources. They often also accept guest posts as well generating even more quality content. What they don’t do is sit there all day working on optimizing for SEO. SEO on the big sites means very little they rank not because of SEO but because of the content they publish and because of how consistent they are.
They have basic SEO optimization in place but if you go and read articles on these big sites they break more SEO rules than they obey.
Google has given them their seal of approval and when you have that you get results,
SEO is not working on my site – Here is the fix
So if you believe that SEO is not working on your site then first read my SEO Guide for 2018 and also pay attention to my Do SEO yourself article as well. Make sure you cover the bases. But don’t get yourself into an I must optimize everything in sight mode. Just simplify what you are doing and give yourself time to create content. The SEO algorithm is just a list of optimizations that you can make that helps Google understand what your content is about. But it is the content that is key and the keyword research that goes along with it.
You have to know what is being searched and create content around those searches. If you are answering search queries then Google will notice. You need small wins for long keyword phrases to get you a starting place. Build it up slowly and be super consistent creating good long-form content.
Quick SEO optimization tips to beat the competition
So let’s use this article as an example. My main keyword phrase is “SEO is not working” what can I do to help me beat the competition for this keyword?
The first thing I would do would be to work in the related search phrases that Google showed to me when I did my super quick keyword research so that my article was extremely relevant.
Next, I would visit the competition and see exactly what they have done in their title to see if I can better it. I would then check the length of the articles. If the competition has written 1500 words then I will shoot for 2000. If they have added 2 images I will add 3 or 4. I will just give Google more than they have.
If there are lots of Videos showing in the search results for my keyword phrase then I might look for related videos that I can add or I may implement the image idea in my title so for example, SEO is not working on my site – Here is the fix [with images] but of course if you use the with images idea then you have to actually have images on the article.
SEO is not working on my site – Takeaways
SEO really is not the holy grail for search results. We are told it is, we are also lead to believe that is difficult to do but if you have read the articles I have linked above your understand that SEO is only as hard and as time-consuming as you make it. Likewise with Keyword research. Yes, it is something that you need to get right, but it is something that you can do very quickly. The important takeaway from this article should be that it is all about the content. You need to provide the answers to the searches made as long-form content and be super consistent in doing so. And then be patient, be very, very, very patient.