SEO is a demanding field of work. It taxes professionals because there are no immediate tangible results. The core SEO job is very organic and time-oriented. What you do today may bring you results sometime next week. This lack of instant gratification makes professionals edgy because most times they do not know if they did the right thing. Waiting for the results of their task can be quite daunting. These challenges apart, there are many grouses that SEO professionals have to contend with. In this post, I will outline some of the most irritating problems that I have faced in my career as a digital marketing professional who specializes in SEO.
SEO Problems – #1: What Affects Rankings? Seriously?
Whenever you check out SEO guidelines, tips, tricks, whatever, you come across all these best practices. Many do not even know what it means, but they keep using it in their conversations! Anyway, best practices are ideal methods that you should follow. These include avoiding manipulative web links, spam links, building light websites, proper keyword usage and strategies, etc. There is a long list. The problem is that despite following each of these practices to the T, websites fail to make a mark on the SERP scene. Result: SEO professionals get frustrated and angry! To add to their anger, they find many websites not being diligent to the best practices and yet getting away with higher SERP clout. The question, therefore, is, what actually affects SERP rankings? I mean, seriously!
SEO Problems – #2: Why SERPs Fluctuate Unreasonably?
This is the second most irritating grouse for me. I follow every rule in the book, improvise judiciously, exercise caution and grab some favorable SERP slots. What do I find in a couple of days? I have lost them to a competitor, someone who’s website analysis revealed a much weaker SEO mechanism in my research. It took me some time to accept the fact that Google has its own way of working. I make some changes in the website, Google does the same in their algorithms. Not every update is splashed all over the online media channels. My competitor is also doing tweaks internally. Taking all these variables into consideration, they have edged me out and nosed ahead. Instead of seeing red, you have to keep up your analysis and testing.
SEO Problems – #3: My Competitors are Spamming and Still Ranking!
When I do my research and find that my competitors are using spam and manipulative links and still hitting high SERPs, I flip my top! Is Google on a nap? Why can’t they spot what I can? Undoubtedly, these thoughts are bound to cross your mind as a SEO professional, no matter at what stage of your career you are, experienced or otherwise! There is a bit of understanding required here. Spam links and their ilk can come from any quarter. It may not always be plugged by the competitors themselves. A quick look at your own backyard and front-yard may reveal some spam links from your website as well! The point is that Google knows it too. It is not holding the competitor’s website responsible for these links that have cropped in from somewhere. And that is why there is no penalty in their SERP ranks.
SEO Problems – #4: Google is Partial towards Big Brands
This is one grouse that I felt is true very strongly, much like other SEO professionals that I know. It seems that no matter what you do, big brands will always go ahead of the competition curve. If you are competing against a giant in your domain, you are unlikely to win on an open battle, not if Google is the referee! With experience, I have learned two things: one, big brands have a strong offline presence and that rubs off a lot online. People click on their links because they recognize the brand name. Google is bound to offer what users want to click on! You cannot hold them at fault there. Two, to beat big brands in the SEO arena, you have to do things differently. For example, big brands are bound to have a vice-like grip on the generic keywords in your domain. You may find it tough to grab SERP spots there. What you can do is look at the long-tailed keywords. These are not targeted by big brands because they deem it beneath their interest! Pick those up and spread out your influence. Also, find out topics in your domain that big brands never talk about, for whatever reasons. Highlight them and write about them. That will get you attention from a different group of consumers.
The Final Word
Google is the bedrock of SEO, as far as practicable. You have to work in it, not without. SEO professionals will do better to understand, accept and accommodate its whimsicalities, if it can be called so! The job is to always look to find a way around it, not abandon it out of irritation.