5 Reasons You're Seeing Lousy Results From Your SEO Strategy

5 Reasons You're Seeing Lousy Results From Your SEO Strategy

Search engines have one job and one job only: to find the best answers to user search queries. Even when you have the best content around, something as small as missing title tags could cost you a top SERPs position.

While content still remains king, SEO is much more than that. In fact, Google uses over 200 ranking factors, and any of them could be key to unlocking your website's growth. The first step to successful SEO is to have a working SEO strategy.

What Is an SEO Strategy

An SEO strategy is a plan detailing how you will organize your web content by category to help users and crawlers find it more easily, increasing its chances of appearing in search results. It's an SEO blueprint for your website that maximizes its chances of top ranking on search engines.

A good search strategy combines different aspects, such as on-page SEO, off-page SEO, technical SEO, link-building, user experience, site performance, and content strategy. Any SEO strategy aims to delight site visitors with an exceptional user experience.

An SEO strategy guides all your content creation and marketing efforts. In addition to the basic stuff such as keywords and backlinks, you've also got to think about competitors in your niche, your target audience, and changing content quality requirements.

Why YOU Need an SEO Strategy

Scattered and disorganized content is hard to find and index. It also dilutes your SEO efforts, making it that much harder to rank in your niche. 

With an SEO strategy, you have much better chances of rising out of obscurity and beating your competition. Here are some of the benefits of having a good SEO strategy:

  • You can invest your money, effort, and time to get the best returns
  • An SEO strategy informs and guides how you organize content on your website
  • It's a framework for your content creation and marketing efforts
  • It syncs with other promotional tactics such as social media and paid advertising
  • It defines your goals and how you measure and track SEO performance
  • Strategising ensures that your SEO practices are up-to-date

But, even when you've given it your all and done everything right, you're still not guaranteed top SERP rankings and high-volume traffic. We've all gone through the familiar feeling of frustration and despair, and sometimes it feels as if the gods at Google are demanding a sacrifice.

But more often than not, it turns out that we've overlooked some small detail, and a small tweak here and there finally does the trick. See if you can figure out what you need to do based on the following five reasons commonly associated with poor SEO results.

Five Reasons You're Seeing Lousy Results From Your SEO Strategy

Did you know that 7.5 million blog posts are created daily? Five million of those are WordPress blogs, the implication being that it's incredibly hard to stand out in all that noise. Whatever your niche is, your biggest challenge will be standing out from the competition.

One way to do that is to create content that's way, way better than your competition. Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko, created the Skyscraper Technique, which involves finding out what flaws the competition has and using that knowledge to build something better.

It's almost impossible for most sites to hit 100% of the 200 ranking factors. As it turns out, the following five factors are where most websites tend to fail. Check if you're missing out on any of them.

#1. Your Website Isn't Mobile-Friendly

A magnifying glass looking into a phone

Google is now moving towards a mobile-first indexing strategy, which means its crawlers will use your site's mobile version for indexing and ranking. That makes sense, given that 61% of search queries here in the US come from mobile devices. 

Further, Google owns 93.68% of the mobile search engine market. Without prioritizing mobile responsiveness, your SEO and content strategy would be useless.

When it comes to mobile-friendliness, Google considers factors like:

  • Mobile usability, meaning users have a positive mobile experience as they interact with your site on mobile screens
  • No intrusive elements, such as popups that fill the screen or images that obstruct text
  • Support for Core Web Vitals, a set of metrics that measure user experiences such as page speed and user interaction
  • Security features such as HTTPS and encryption

Mobile-friendly and responsive websites are those with which users can interact and navigate easily. If your website is more mobile-friendly than your competition, Google loves that. In fact, mobile-friendliness is now a ranking factor for Google's algorithm.

#2. You're Not Creating High-Quality, Sharable Content

A man looking at pieces of digital content

High-quality content is the foundation of any SEO strategy. Google states that thin content creates a "frustrating user experience," which is why it frowns on affiliate sites. 

Google's business model involves providing quick, satisfactory, and engaging answers to user queries. If you're still banking on content mills and keyword-stuffing tactics to generate traffic and rank high, you're way off the mark.

To Google, quality content is content that is worth sharing. The latest updates from Google have doubled down on the need for high-quality content, but how does Google's inanimate algorithm find quality content?

The answer is shareability. The biggest indicator of content quality is how people interact with your website. If people talk about it, share it on social media, quote or link to it, that's winning content.

Here's what it means to create truly high-quality content for your audience:

  • Understand your audience and create content that solves their problems and answers their questions
  • Create content that readers can understand and relate to, in their lingo, and mirroring the same search terms they might use
  • Keep your content helpful, informational, and engaging, not salesy—the objective is to build relationships
  • Create content targeted at every stage of the sales process
  • Create quality content consistently to establish your brand's credibility, reputation, and trustworthiness

Above all, quality content requires you to go the extra mile. You'll need to invest in experienced copywriters, perform original research, create whitepapers, invest in video, and generally be willing to think outside the box and go farther than anybody else to get attention. 

At the very least, make sure your content adheres to Google's E.A.T. standards—Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. Meet E.A.T. quality and target your content towards users, not search engines, and you're on the right path.

#3. Your Content Isn't Optimized

An original piece of content next to an optimized piece of content

Failure to optimize content for SEO can make your website less visible to people and Google's crawlers. Content optimization means giving your content the best chance of ranking high, attracting traffic, and engaging users.

Content optimization is a very wide field, but here are some of the most important content optimization practices you need to keep in mind:

  • Add visuals such as images and videos to make your content richer and more engaging (and don’t forget the alt text)
  • Create catchy and descriptive titles, headers, and subheaders
  • Include your target keyword and its variations in the title, title tag, H1 tag, as well as H2 and H3 tags
  • Use your keywords in key areas such as the first paragraph, final section, and in the main body of the content
  • Create descriptive alt texts for images and videos with your keywords
  • Write a meta description and title tag
  • Customize the URL to be shorter and more user-friendly
  • Organize your content by clusters
  • Make your content evergreen
  • Add internal links and external links to authoritative web pages

While you’re at it, remember to make your content readable by using short, simple sentences and paragraphs. Similarly, break text into scannable, sharable bits by using lists, tables, and infographics wherever you can.

#4. You're Lacking Backlinks

Two woman holding a link icon in a circle

Backlinks are one of the most important promotional strategies when it comes to ranking. They are a clear signal that other users find your content useful and valuable enough to link to—a kind of vote of confidence.

The more backlinks you have, the more chances your site has of ranking higher. However, earning high-quality backlinks is incredibly difficult. Many businesses and marketers end up opting for shady, black-hat backlinking tactics such as soliciting and buying them.

The key to backlinks is that you have to earn them. The most valuable backlinks are followed links from highly authoritative sites, while links to potentially spammy sites can end up doing more harm than good.

The way backlinks work is that your website gains or loses domain authority by association. For example, a link or mention by the New York Times tells Google that your website is reliable and credible. 

Google analyzes your site's link profile to assess the quality and relevance of your site. It considers factors like the authority of the linking page, the total number of backlinks, the context of the backlink, and how organic the anchor text appears to be.

There is a whole link-building world full of white-hat and black-hat tactics. To save you some time, however, the most important backlinking tactics you can implement right now include the following:

  • Find your brand mentions on authoritative websites and ask them to add a link
  • Connect with prospects in your industry who write about your product and ask them to link back to your site
  • Conduct research on your competitor's backlinks and mentions, then replicate them
  • Become a source by creating your own case studies, white papers, and original research
  • Contribute your expertise by giving interviews and guest posting on reputable websites
  • Build free tools such as calculators or industry-relevant templates
  • Publish guides and free e-books
  • Find broken links to other websites and reach out to them to link to your site instead
  • Promote your content, especially on social media

If you want to learn more about backlinks and how to get more of them, we highly recommend learning from Backlinko.

#5. You Aren't Using the Right Tools to Measure Your Rankings

A woman next to a piece of content with a magnifying glass

SEO is a game of data analysis and continuous optimization. If you're using the wrong tools and performance metrics, it will be next to impossible for you to realize where you stand and what you need to do to improve. 

SEO experts realize that there are many vanity metrics that could mislead you when it comes to measuring ranking performance. For example, it might be easy to rank high for niche, long-tail keywords but perform dismally on the keywords that really matter.

The best SEO tools help you with technical and on-page SEO, such as finding orphaned pages, broken links, server errors, and pages missing meta descriptions. The more powerful SEO tools can significantly reduce the work you have to do to keep your site polished and ready. 

SEO tools also help you dissect competitors, create a foolproof SEO strategy, and spot keyword opportunities. Some of the most popular SEO tools include:

  • Ahrefs - boasting the second largest crawlers after Google, Ahref's site audit tool is highly coveted and is one of the most recommended SEO tools by experts
  • Google Search Console - this free tool is a staple for any SEO experts and site owners and is a capable monitoring and reporting tool
  • Moz Pro - Moz has one of the best SEO tools after Ahrefs, providing full-service SEO analysis and auditing functions; the Moz toolbar is particularly useful for competitor research
  • SEMRush - these are a bunch of SEO tools that are mainly loved for their ease of use and highly accurate ranking assessment; they also have a domain vs domain analysis for site comparison, even with your competitors
  • HubSpot Website Grader - this is a powerful website analysis tool that you can use to analyze the performance of any website and get suggestions on how to improve it
  • SEObility - mainly used to analyze compliance with current SEO guidelines and identify potential areas of improvement, such as site speed

There are many more tools, some free and most paid, that you can use for SEO research at all levels. If you're unsure where to start, stick to the free Google Search Console and work your way up.


SEO strategy is a roadmap to your SEO ranking goals. It's a detailed plan that dictates all your efforts, including content creation and marketing. Without an intelligent, data-backed, effective SEO strategy, your website won't achieve SERP rankings no matter what you do.

If your SEO strategy doesn't seem to be returning the results you want, you need to take an objective look and find out what you're missing. Better still, conduct a full SEO audit and come up with a new plan.

SEO keeps on changing (Core Web Vitals was launched in 2022), and we expected more changes in 2023 as well. We expect the BERT algorithm update, rise of voice search, and looming phasing out of ad cookies to keep things interesting for the next few years.

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Frequently Asked Questions

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) strategies are related but distinct. SEO focuses on optimizing organic search results through techniques like keyword optimization and content creation, while SEM involves paid advertising to increase visibility on search engine results pages. While they share common goals of improving online presence, they employ different methods to achieve them.

A healthy SEO strategy balances building relevance with building authority. Relevance is achieved through keyword optimization, content quality, and user experience, ensuring that the website aligns with search intent. Authority is built by acquiring high-quality backlinks and demonstrating expertise in the industry. A harmonious combination of relevance and authority enhances a website's visibility and ranking on search engines.

Yes, several effective SEO strategy templates are available, providing a structured approach to optimize websites. These templates typically include sections for keyword research, on-page optimization, technical SEO, content creation, and performance tracking. Utilizing a well-designed SEO strategy template can help businesses systematically implement and track their SEO efforts for improved online visibility.

Yes, businesses with multiple locations benefit significantly from implementing a local SEO strategy. Local SEO ensures that each business location is accurately represented online, with optimized Google My Business profiles, location-specific keywords, and local backlinks. This strategy enhances visibility in local search results, attracting customers in each specific geographic area and contributing to overall business success.

Yes, Steel Croissant is a specialized SEO strategy agency that focuses exclusively on developing and implementing effective SEO strategies.