Throughout the years, buzzwords in the industry have brought about questions regarding SEO and internet marketing and things have gotten pretty complicated. Some of the questions come from clients that are familiar with SEO, but the majority of questions come from prospective clients wading through the SEO junk pile and trying to decipher which companies are actually legit and which companies aren’t. One of the most common questions we get regarding SEO and keyword rankings today is, “Why did my SEO stop working”?
The answer to this question is complicated because each site with “bad” SEO has its own unique set of problems. Sometimes the content on the site is spammy. Sometimes the site hasn’t been updated in a long time and has fallen into disrepair. Sometimes the site’s backlink profile is full of spam.
There are a plethora of reasons why a site might not be doing well in the search engines. Maybe your “SEO friendly” domain name isn’t considered so friendly anymore or your site has been utilizing spammy SEO techniques that are now penalizing it.
We often spend the first month of an SEO campaign undoing the spammy SEO that other fly-by-night companies have done. When we get a client that has never had SEO we usually get awesome results quickly. The clients that have been burned by two or more crappy SEO companies before they hire SEO Hermit are sometimes a lost cause and we have to start over. There are many reasons your SEO might not be working the way it should, but the most popular are listed below.
Reasons Your SEO Stopped Working:
- Spammy SEO Techniques
- Stop and Start SEO Campaigns
- Stronger Competition
- Heavy Reliance on a Single SEO Technique
Spammy SEO Techniques
The answer to the question “Why did my SEO stop working” must involve another question: Was your SEO ever really working? Just because your site showed up on the first page of Google for a specific keyword doesn’t necessarily mean your SEO strategy was effective.
Google’s algorithm changes called Panda and Penguin are no joke. They are very effective tools that Google implemented to reduce spam in the Google index. Some sites got caught up in the filter by accident, but 99.9% of the sites hit by Panda and Penguin deserved the drop in rankings. If you lost rankings on a keyword, there is a chance that you were hit with a filter or penalty. Your SEO didn’t stop working, it was never working in the first place! What you likely saw were the effects of a spammy approach at SEO and Google caught on. It was bound to happen eventually.
Stop and Start SEO Campaigns
Nothing throws up red flags to the search engines like a start and stop SEO campaign. What is a start and stop SEO campaign? The best way to describe it is when a business hires an SEO company for a few months, gets results, then quits the SEO campaign. A few months later, once the keyword rankings start to slip a bit, they hire another SEO company for a few months until the results are suitable and then they quit again.
This is a sure-fire way to kill your domain and your rankings. Google can easily spot when an SEO campaign begins and when one ends. Ironically, traditional SEO is actually against Google’s Terms of Service by nature. Though Google lets it continue, they are fighting obvious, spammy SEO techniques like never before. To a layman, it is difficult to understand how Google can recognize start and stop campaigns and why they can cause harm, but our internal studies show that this can and often does cause significant harm to a domain.
It’s no surprise that SEO and internet marketing have become more and more competitive over the last decade. SEO is a very powerful tool to drive traffic and new clients to your business. It should come as no surprise that other businesses are competing for the same keywords and often the competition is so fierce that rankings change wildly from year to year.
If you haven’t used spammy techniques for SEO or fallen into other SEO traps, it may be the case that the competition has stepped up their game. It’s one of the most common reasons rankings slip. In fact, it’s not a matter of your own site slipping, it’s just that the other guys are climbing!
Heavy Reliance on a Single SEO Technique
One word: BACKLINKS! Everyone knows backlinks are the key to success with Google. Or are they? Our studies show that backlinks were king until late 2012. Google then made a significant transition in how it treats backlinks in early 2013. Though we cannot report what our study revealed to us regarding how backlinks work today, we do know that Google is not treating all backlinks the same. In fact, it has become very good at evaluating your site’s good vs. bad backlinks.
This is why relying on a single SEO technique is extremely dangerous. If you were king of the rankings two years ago by solely using backlinking strategies, you might be getting trounced today. Remember that Google doesn’t particularly like SEO and the manipulation of its rankings (mainly because it has spammed-up the index). Today’s Google wants to see a slow and steady approach with variation and strategy when it comes to SEO. If you are relying purely on backlinks or spam you will eventually be ousted by the Google gods.
How to Recover Your Rankings
“Now that I’ve lost my rankings, what do I do?” This is almost always a follow-up question to the first question and the answer is difficult. In our opinion, it depends on how badly your site has been spammed. If there are thousands of spammy backlinks, articles, profile pages, forum posts, and blog comments you will be hard-pressed to rescue your domain from eternal filtering and penalization.
It can be done, but you would end up paying for months and months of work. That money could be used to start fresh. Unless you have an extremely valuable domain name, it is probably in your best interest to start fresh with a new domain. No one wants to hear this, but in today’s SEO landscape it is often the best option. This is why it is extremely important to use a legitimate, white-hat SEO company. The results might take longer to achieve, but once you get results you will keep them.
We pride ourselves on customer service, intelligent SEO strategies, and results. Our approach is different than other SEO companies and we rarely follow the lead of the “experts” in the industry. We do our own research and build our own strategies. We are innovators and our ability to reverse engineer search engines keeps us ahead of the competition. If you’ve been a victim of spammy SEO techniques, give us a call so we can help. We can give you real answers and a real strategy to get your site back in the good graces of Google, Bing, and Yahoo!