Top 10 SEO Challenges

With a fast-paced rate of updates, algorithm changes and new techniques coming in, SEO can be a pretty tricky game to keep up with. 

SEO comes with its challenges, so it’s important to be aware of them and make sure you’re prepared. Don’t be too put off, it’s not difficult to work with the challenges. Implementing a strong SEO strategy on your website will be a game-changer for your business. Period. 

Below are some of the challenges we’ve come across on our SEO adventures, with tips on how to overcome them. 

Google Updates

The dreaded GU word. Google updates. It may surprise you to learn that Google algorithm updates actually happen around 500-600 times a year. But it’s the big ones that we usually take the most notice of. These can happen several times per year, but there is no set pattern with them. 

Perhaps some of the most notable updates in recent years include Panda (2011), Penguin (2012), Hummingbird (2013), Mobile (2014), RankBrain (2015), Medic (2018) and Bert (2019). We love the animal named updates, it makes them a lot less scary! 

Ultimately, the secret to success with Google updates is research and preparation. Often Google will release snippets of information on the major algorithm updates long before they occur, so there is always plenty of time to get ready. Whilst on the subject, a major update is coming this May – the Google Core Web Vitals Update.

Unexpected Keyword Drops

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, drops can cause a little panic. Keyword ranking drops are often easily solved, but naturally, they are a nuisance and can make you feel like your hard work has been damaged. In fact, there is little in SEO that is more discouraging than a keyword drop. 

However, all is not lost (most of the time). Before you drop everything yourself, analyse the results and try to understand why the drop might have happened. What keywords have gone? What pages do they link to? Are there any patterns? 

Once you have established where the changes have happened, consider what other factors may have been an influencer. Have your links changed? Has your website been penalised? Is your website being indexed properly? There are many other factors such as speed, UX, CRO… the list goes on. Research and investigation are required, then you can work to build back what you lost.

Expecting Overnight Results

One of the biggest challenges SEO whizzes experience from an external point of view is patience. We all want quick results and in the modern world, we’re not used to waiting. But SEO is a long term strategy and to do it properly, you have to expect things to take time. 

On the whole, industry experts recommend a period of around 3-6 months before you start seeing results from an SEO strategy. This is an average, but you have to remember that SEO results continue to grow over time. For example, the results from a 12-month strategy should be more significant than results from a 6-month strategy. 

Other Digital Marketing Platforms

With SEO being a long term strategy, many people believe they should favour other platforms that get them overnight results. However, tunnel vision is not the approach when it comes to implementing a digital strategy. Social media and paid advertising are brilliant ways to attract conversions fast, but they should be paired with SEO if you want a website that will perform effectively long term. 

Technical SEO

There are many variations of SEO, of which the techy side is one. Unless you’re an all-rounder, you will most likely require the help of a professional web developer along the SEO road. Technical contains covers a broad spectrum of things, including:

  • Sitemaps
  • Website speed 
  • JavaScript indexing
  • Structured data 
  • HTML and CSS
  • AMP

(The list goes on). Technical SEO often challenges those working in the industry and our advice is don’t guess. Many a mistake has been made through ‘winging it’ and the effects can be massively detrimental to your website and SEO campaign. Do your research, get professional training or seek expert advice. 

Staying Up to Date

The ever-changing world of SEO can make it challenging to stay up to date at all times. Not only are Google algorithm updates coming out every five minutes, but new tools, techniques and methods are emerging at a speedy rate. An effective way to stay in the loop with industry news is by subscribing to email updates from industry giants such as:

Being Convincing

One of the hardest battles as an SEOer is convincing other people (and sometimes yourself) that it actually works. Stay strong! You’ll hear questions like ‘Why aren’t I seeing results?’ and ‘Why am I not ranking number one for everything?’. 

Our advice is to stay consistent. Lay out the facts, explain the methodology and provide encouragement that results will come in time if they stick with it. Providing stats, data and other successful SEO campaigns helps. Some people just don’t have the patience and can’t grasp the concept, but others will be glad they stuck around. 

Managing Expectations

Following on from being convincing, managing expectations can be a tricky task in SEO, both for you and the person you might be selling an SEO campaign to. As we mentioned previously, we all want overnight results, but SEO is a long term strategy. Managing expectations is important to be able to roadmap goals and forecasting. 

If you are carrying out hundreds of SEO tasks and not seeing quick results, it can be easy to get frustrated and give up. But don’t give up! Set out a 3-6 month plan for your SEO campaign and make a realistic estimate on the results you would like to achieve. 

Choosing the Right Tools

Investing in the right tools will help you no end when carrying out an SEO campaign. The cost might seem heavy at first, but the results will be worth spending. Without the right tools, you won’t be able to efficiently carry out and report on your work. 

There are plenty of great options on the market, but you have to make sure you invest in the right CRM, CMS, keyword ranking trackers, competitor research tools, traffic software tools and backlink analysis as a minimum. They’ll make your life a lot easier and provide you with the flexibility to scale your SEO campaigns.

SEO Competition

It might seem obvious, but as with anything, there will always be competition in SEO. Unfortunately, you are not the only person carrying out an SEO campaign in your industry, but that doesn’t mean you can’t strive to be the best. 

Analyse your competition. What are they doing? Where are they succeeding? What might they have missed? Carrying out competitor analysis reports on a regular basis and keeping tabs on your ‘enemies’ will aid your SEO campaign to be the best it can be. 

Make sure you do whatever your competitors don’t so that you can get in there first. Some of the main areas you can cover  with your SEO competitors are:

  • Competitor analysis reports – map out where you excel and where you can improve
  • Do your keyword research
  • Create engaging and unique content crafted for your audience
  • Build a strong internal and external linking profile
  • Offer an optimised, speedy, easy to use website

There you have it! Wasn’t that bad, was it? SEO will have its challenges, but the rewards to be had will always outweigh the stumbling blocks. If you need a little help with the lumps and bumps, our SEO team are here to help. Get in touch today!