SEO is the most important and the most effective digital marketing channel in your toolbox.

As a small business, you’re probably tired of hearing that, but it’s true.

When your search engine optimization is working, you’ll see a steady uptick of page visitors, every month you see more and more people finding your website and your page ranking continues to climb.

If your page ranking is staying stagnant or if it is actually dropping, this is a bad sign and means your SEO is not working.

If you’re seeing those kinds of results, it’s time to take a look at your optimization and what you might need to change if it’s not working.

If your SEO is failing you, here are some causes to watch out for and what you can do to turn your campaign around:

1. You’re working with the cheapest search engine optimizer you can find.

While this isn’t necessarily always true, it is often true: you get what you pay for.

Those who promise outstanding results for a tiny investment are probably not going to bring you the kind of results that you actually want and need.

Some may actually use black hat techniques which may give you an initial boost (enough to make you think that they are doing their job), but will ultimately end up with your website flagged or even removed from the search results.

Look for quality services; they may be more expensive, but they will also pay for themselves many times over.


2. You haven’t updated your SEO campaign.

SEO, like any marketing channel, needs to be constantly updated to make sure that it is compliant with the most recent changes to Google’s algorithm.

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If you haven’t looked at your campaign at all in the last twelve months, you’re probably way behind the times.

Updating your campaign should be a monthly (at least) routine.

If you don’t have time to work on your campaign that frequently, you may need to hand it over to a manager who can ensure that it gets the attention it needs.


3. You haven’t chosen the right keywords.

Even if you sell cars, “cars” might not be the best keyword for you.

First of all, there is going to be far, far too much competition for you to really find a foothold on the first, second, or third page of Google.

What you need, instead, is keywords that are actually targeted. This means choosing a keyword that your ideal customer is likely to search for.

Yes, they may just look for “cars,” but you are more likely to be able to top the search results if you target the people who are looking for “Fords in [your area].”

Choosing the wrong keywords is one of the number one reasons that SEO campaigns fail.

If you’re not doing proper keyword research before choosing which keywords to use, this could be seriously hurting your campaign.

It’s time to start doing research or handing it over to someone who will do the research for you.


4. You haven’t been building links.

Having properly placed links is one of the most important aspects of SEO.

If you don’t have a consistent linking strategy, you will not be seeing the kind of results you want to see.

The best way to remedy this problem is to start linking to other webpages and blogs.

Won’t this just send your readers away?

On the contrary—citing sources and linking to other blogs is a great way to improve your authority and to steal some juice from websites that already have a great standing on Google.


5. Your lack a social media strategy.

Social media and SEO go hand in hand.

Social media gives you a venue to market your blog posts, while your blog and website give you a place to encourage people to visit your social media profiles.

If you don’t have a social media strategy, you are probably not making the most of your SEO strategy either.

How effective your social media plan is and how much of a following you have are factors when it comes to ranking your website, so don’t ignore them.

Google uses your social media clout by seeing how often and where your links are shared.

If you’re not sharing those links to start with and getting them in front of your followers, no one else is going to share them, either.


6. Your content isn’t fresh or is no longer relevant.

While you don’t have to be constantly updating your website, you should be constantly updating your blog.

Stagnant content is a sign of dying website and because websites that are updated frequently are more likely to have relevant information (at least, in the eyes of Google), you’re likely to lose your spot to a blog or website that is frequently updated.

If you don’t have time to make sure that your SEO content is constantly updated, this is definitely a job for a freelancer or a web development company.


7. You’re chasing rabbits.

As important as it is to be up to date with your search engine optimization, it’s important not to get sucked into the rabbit holes of SEO trends.

When Google updates its algorithm, the internet will buzz with new strategies and techniques, most of which may work in the short term, but will fail you by the time the next update rolls around.

Stick with the tried and true methods and don’t try to do anything too fancy.

It’s much better to do what you know works than to waste time and money chasing a rabbit that will ultimately bear no fruit (to mix metaphors).

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