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5 Reasons Why Your Search Engine Optimization Isn't Working

Updated on December 29, 2015

What Is Search Engine Optimization? And Why Isn’t It Working For Me?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of maximizing (optimizing) the traffic flow to your website and helping it place better on the SERPs (search engine result pages).

Chances are, if you have been on the web long enough, you have seen talk of SEO in some way shape or form.

Especially for bloggers, search engine optimization has become the bread and butter for many who are trying to stake their place on the World Wide Web.

Unfortunately, the web is filled with bloggers, content writers, and companies whom are all trying to one up one another’s SEO techniques, while still getting shuffled to the side.

Are you one of them?

If you are, then you might be interested in checking out why the most popular search engine optimization techniques are not working for you and what you can be doing better.

Where Do You Fall Short In Your SEO?

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Guaranteed Search Engine Optimization

First of all, if you are under the impression that you are guaranteed results from your SEO efforts then you need to shake that off now. SEO is finicky, so much so, that the only thing that SEO can really guarantee you is a better chance at generating more traffic for your site.

What does this mean for you?

This means that you should practice SEO to help secure more views, shares, and quite possibly a better place on the SERPs, but it also means that you should be mindful that it requires time, patience, and a bit of Internet savvy to get the job done.

the Skyscraper Technique

One method for increasing the chances that your content is read over someone else’s is through the Skyscraper Technique. Many bloggers that have had success with it will boast increasing readership by the thousands. While this may not be true for everyone, it is a useful technique that can prove beneficial in turning your search engine optimization results around.

At its basis, the Skyscraper Technique asks you to:

  1. Search for popular, linkable content
  2. Take the idea for that content and make it better
  3. Manually create backlinks for said content

Utilized by the SEO guru himself, Brian Dean, over at Backlinko, the Skyscraper Technique takes duplicate content and asks you to make it better, original, and uniquely yours to increase traffic. If you're interested in learning more about this method, take a look at one blogger's three case studies on the Skyscraper Technique to see how it worked for him.

Duplicate Content

Yes, the web is filled with dozens if not hundreds of posts all relating to similar subjects. However, there is a difference between creating helpful, mostly original content and blatantly stealing the information from another writer or site. Google, much like your high school and college professors, is not a fan of plagiarism. Even when you think that you are getting away with something, it is likely that you are not. Duplicate content not only tempts you to get your content or site flagged, but it also turns your content into white noise. Just think about it, even if you are writing what you consider to be great content, it does not matter if it is not original. Consider the number of articles dedicated to things like “the 10 Best Wedding Gifts” or “How To Build A Fire Pit”. If you write something that is, for all intents and purposes, the exact same thing, then how do you expect to have your work stand out? Original content that is better than content that is similar to yours is more likely to earn you views and therefore shares.

More Is Not Necessarily Better

Have you been using keywords in your writing? If so, then first let me take the time to applaud you. Keywords are a necessary part of SEO so it is good that you are using them. However, keywords that are being used incorrectly can have an adverse affect on your search engine optimization techniques and even, in the worst case scenarios, get your site flagged by Google. Especially when working on web content, keywords that are plugged too often and too obviously can harm your chances at getting a decent place on search engines. Likewise, clunky keyword phrasing can leave you with clunky writing, which is unappealing to readers, which in turn makes it less likely to be shared. Instead, try using the practice of “less is more” by finding low competition and high-ranking keywords that will set your writing apart.

Social Media IS Important

—So stop thinking otherwise.

Social media, despite what Google might say about follower count and Tweets, has a direct impact on the number of views and shares that you get. Because social media is about, well, sharing, it can have a huge impression on where your articles will end up placing on SERPs. If you are among those who does not see the point in social media, only sees the benefit in some, or only really understands a few, then it is high time that you change that. Making sure that your pages are linked throughout your many social media accounts will allow followers to link and share your pages throughout the web. Not only that, but social media serves as a better user experience for your followers and can give you more credibility as an author.

On Page SEO Checklist

  • Are you using low competition and high ranking keywords?
  • Have you included those keywords in your URL?
  • Do your images have ALT tags that utilize keywords where necessary?
  • Is your content strong? Have you used the skyscraper technique to make it better?
  • Did you format your content with H1, H2, and H3 tags?
  • Are the titles optimized for SEO?

Optimizing Off-Page But Not On-Page SEO

Search engine optimization is categorized in two different ways: off-page and on-page. Off-page, much like the name implies, occurs away from the site. This includes things like social media, backlink building, and anything that might occur away from your site directly. In contrast, on-page SEO occurs on your site. This involves your keywords, URLs, ALT tags, content, formatting, titles, and more. The problem with creating an SEO strategy is that most people stop at keywords and focus instead on link building. Are links to your site important? Absolutely! However, one good look is worth a hundred backlinks, and one solid piece of content can be the difference in having that backlink published in the first place. Instead of ignoring your on-page SEO try taking some time to focus on making your page as solid as possible, which will make your content more searchable and shareable.

Not Utilizing Anchor Text

Have you ever tried to use links on your website but find them coming up short? Internal linking is a great part of SEO that gives your page validity. However, much like with everything else regarding search engine optimization, anchor text must be used correctly to get the best results.

First things first: what the heck are anchor texts? Anchor texts are the words you, the reader, click on to reach a different webpage. This includes things like “click here”, “read more”, and “visit us”. But can you guess what those three examples have in common? They are poor examples of anchor text. Anchor text should be used smartly and come naturally while writing. An example of good anchor text would be something like: “San Diego is home to 15 of the best hiking spots in the country,” with “15 of the best hiking spots” being the hyperlink to a separate webpage.

Take a look at your anchor text and see if this is something you could likely fix to help increase your SEO utilization, now.

Pop Quiz

Where in the above text did I utilize my anchor text?

Let me know in the comments!

There are over 200 factors that Google uses to place your content on the web. This along with hundreds of bloggers means that you need to work to find the results you are searching for.

What search engine optimization tips do you have to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 23 months ago from Oklahoma

      Great tips!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 23 months ago from The Caribbean

      Internet savvy is what I do not have, so I don't even know whether I succeeding at the SEO strategy. Articles like this are somewhat helpful. Thank you.