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5 Most Common Reasons Why Your SEO Attempts Aren’t Working


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5 Most Common Reasons Why Your SEO Attempts Aren’t Working

seo, search engine, search engine optimization, seo best practices

We all know that free search engine traffic rocks and that when you can master the “new rules” of SEO it’s possible to drive almost unlimited volumes of high quality traffic to your site.

But the sad fact is that the search engine landscape has changed massively over the last year or two and many of the old strategies that worked since the dawn of the internet are no longer effective.

Certainly there have been a few lucky sites that have surived unscathed but overall getting your site ranking highly in the search engines is a whole new game.

I must admit that I too suffered at the hand of Google and all it’s sweeping changes; many of my own sites crashed and burned – even those of exceptional high quality with hundreds of top-quality, white-hat links.

But now, after months of experimentation I’m back on top again and driving more traffic than ever before. In fact, once you work out what Google really wants these days, SEO is now arguably easier than ever before.

So let’s discuss those mistakes that I still see people making every day because they’re learning from old-fashioned, out-dated and ineffective courses. If you’re serious about wanting results online, these are the “warning signals” that you need to avoid at all costs…

Targeting The Wrong Keywords

The search engines are more competitive than ever so ranking for high traffic, “short tail” phrases can be incredibly challenging. That said, thanks to all the algorithm changes, many of the longer tail phrases are still wide open. So it’s here that I’ve been getting the best results.

All the best keyword research tools show you not just search volumes for each phrase but also detailed competitor breakdowns. Personaly I like to focus my energy on keywords that receive 500-3000 searches a month, with low competition figures. Doing so ensures that I can get at least a top 20 ranking within hours (or even minutes) of publishing new content.

Articles Too Short

Back in the day, the standard SEO advice was the break large articles down into smaller chunks and publish it on multiple pages – focusing each section on another keyword.

However these days my research suggests that longer articles are performing better. They generally offer more value to visitors (more indepth content), they require less link-building (because you’re focusing on fewer articles) and they appear for all sorts of long-tail keyword phrases meaning more traffic overall.

So give up on the crummy low-quality 500 word articles. Stop buying boring “fill in the blanks” articles from low-quality freelancers. Instead, put some real effort into creating useful, attractive, carefully formatted, image-rich articles of at least 1,000 words – and ideally more.

When it comes to creating content for the search engines, at the moment focusing your time on fewer pieces of higher quality content really is beating the old way of publishing hundreds of junk articles hands down.

Improperly Optimized Onpage Factors

Back in the early days of SEO, optimizing your onpage factors was rather hit and miss. However today there are a range of plugins that will do all the hard work for you.

Use them carefully and by combining their advice with your carefully chosen target keywords and your top-quality articles you’ll find that you dominate the search engines for every keyword you go after.

Lack Of Deep Linking

No matter what anyone says, link building is still important. But the way we build links has now changed. Gone are the days of exact-match anchor text – instead we need to make our link building appear as natural as possible.

One way to do this is to focus less time on building links to your home page, and more on building “deep links” – those that point to the individual pages of your website.

For every blog post I write now, I aim to build a variety of links to it from link round-ups, social media, guest blogging and so on.

In the old days of publishing hundreds of articles this was virtually impossible. But these days, publishing fewer articles that offer exceptional value it’s entirely realistic and I expect every article I write to now hit the front page of Google within a week or so of publication using this strategy.

Low Quality Link-Building Strategy

One final point why your site may not be performing well in the search engines is simply that you’re building low-quality links rather than high quality links.

Many of the old link-building advice really has no place in the new rules of SEO so give up on your mass social bookmarks, your spammed blog comments and your submissions to the free website directories.

Instead network with other high quality sites in your niche and go after those more difficult-to-build links. Focusing on high quality link building strategies – and then varying the text that points to your site – is now arguably the most powerful thing you can do to build your search engine traffic.

Richard is a technology blogger and founder of

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