In our previous article about why your proactive link building may not be working, we uncovered 10 reasons you might not be taking the best approach. Spending time and money on links for them to build zero authority is extremely frustrating, and through that article, you should be able to identify at least 99% of what you may be doing wrong.
Link building is, of course, a crucial component of SEO, but not the only one. Content and on-page optimization make up the bulk of the rest as far as applying proper SEO to your website. So today, we’re including 10 reasons why your content or on-page efforts may not be producing the results that you want. Combined with link building, you essentially have a reliable guide for troubleshooting a lackluster organic result to all of your efforts.
Posting content that doesn’t have search volume
This one may be among the most straightforward but is often overlooked. People tend to write about what they know and what they’re comfortable with – which is fine, but can suffer from either being far too broad (where search volume may not be the issue, but you’re competing with hundreds of other pages) or far too specific. If you have a list of ideas for content, it is important to also verify these topics with a few tools if you can, such as Answer the Public and SEMRush. That way, you can see if the keywords you’re focusing on with the content has volume, and you can get ideas for additional keywords and topics you can cover to potentially get more exposure.
Not observing basic on-page optimization
This is another “no-brainer,” but it’s hard to be consistent with the on-page optimization you should be doing with each page (even I’m thinking about what I should go back and do after this blog is done). Some tools like Yoast and All-in-One SEO will give you some of the on-page guidance you need to more or less successfully optimize a page, but a tool isn’t going to be able to cover everything for you. You’ll still need to be mindful of keyword density, internal/external links, EAT standards (more time-consuming, so save this for your top tier articles and blogs), H-tags, and solid meta information.
For more information about the right approach to doing on-page SEO for your content, I’d recommend the following podcast: https://seoisdeadandotherlies.podbean.com/e/episode-57-the-seo-guide-for-beginners-part-4-on-page-seo/
Not meeting word count or refreshing existing pages appropriately
I find the idea of “aiming” for a word count somewhat of a pitfall. Anything that prevents a piece of content from reaching its full potential because of rigid, pedantic standards has never benefited any blog or page I’ve worked on. It’s important that you write your content until the topic is fully covered to the best of your ability, not when you hit your “800 word” goal.
When I started as a copywriter at a digital marketing agency almost 10 years ago, the goal in mind to write a topic was 350-400 words, barely scratching the surface for the majority of topics I was covering. Most of us can’t imagine providing quality information in such a tight word count window. Over time, that number rose to 500, then 600, then 800 and beyond. It wasn’t because people in general figured out how to write more. It was because users and search engines were simply not considering short-form content to be an authority on the topics users were searching.
It’s not uncommon for articles to go beyond 1500 words on fairly niche content. I know that people are concerned about attention spans and getting to the point; but, I believe if your content is well thought out and helpful, it’ll engage your reader from start to finish.
As far as refreshing existing pages, older websites still suffer from having older topics with low word counts, inaccurate information, and broken external links. Over time, your competition has written more timely and thorough content about the topics you once covered. It is important to stay relevant by doing content refreshes. Consider doing them annually for your most important topics.
Not fitting new pages into the site architecture/placement in sitemap
With most websites, we can rely on blog posts to enter the appropriate part of the website and automatically wind up on the feed; however, the same can’t be said about pages. Pages need their own sense of purpose and need to fit into the architecture of your website manually via parent pages and internal linking.
If you create a new service page, does it go under an existing service page if it is granular? If you create geo-pages, are you dropping the links to them as service areas in the footer, or do you have an “areas served” hub page? Separate from blogs, your pages for other topics have to be consistently considered in the scheme of your entire website.
Core Web Vitals starting to have an impact (and other algorithm updates)
Moving on to deeper aspects of technical on-page SEO that could have a huge impact if not addressed, we start with Core Web Vitals, a huge integration into Google Search Console and Google Sitespeed Insights. There’s plenty of documentation out there about how to reoptimize your website for Core Web Vitals (unfortunately, not too many plugins at the moment), so it’ll likely be a handoff to your webmaster.
Just be mindful that there are always a number of technical things at play that could be bogging down your efforts.
Inadvertently cannibalizing your own content
As websites grow more and more massive with content being added consistently, topic ideas can sometimes stretch thin along with the accountability of the content being created. When you start to go down the same path with topics and optimization, you run the risk of content cannibalization, a form of sabotage that inhabits any page on your website from rankings for their respect keyword.
For example, let’s say you made a practice area page called “2nd DUI” and you optimize it for “2nd DUI Lawyer.” Then later on, you write a blog called “How is a 2nd DUI different from a 1st DUI”. Decent subject matter, and could be optimized differently. But, if the meta title on the blog post is also “2nd DUI Lawyer,” you’re essentially telling Google that both pages are important for the keyword, putting both pages at risk for not ranking at all.
Content not passing plagiarism checks
When you delegate your content to other people, you’ll either have it done in-house or by a freelancer or agency. In most situations, copying content from other places is something that may not cross your mind at all; but, you’d be surprised how poorly people rewrite content from other websites. That being said, most people don’t simply copy and paste big blocks of content to use – they’ll attempt to take pieces from multiple websites and rewrite them to a degree of uniqueness. The issue is, some writers don’t realize how little rewriting they’re doing. If you were to run a CopyScape on them, the degree of uniqueness would not be enough to pass a plagiarism check.
You can run it in bulk for your website to occasionally see if your content is unique – the only way Google will see that it’s fresh and give the page merit. On the other side of the issue, it’ll also allow you to see if there are other websites lifting your content without proper attribution.
HTTPS and Some Technical Reasons
To piggyback lastly on more technical aspects in addition to Core Web Vitals from a webmaster standpoint, HTTPs, canonicalization, and dozens of other technical SEO issues are handled by mostly, well, an adept SEO. The impact for any single technical reason isn’t often a make or break, but they certainly add up. That’s why it’s important to have a technical SEO audit your website occasional if your current SEO team or agency is very capable at what they do.
You can also use tools like https://www.deepcrawl.com/ to generate reports on the best way to tackle some of the more technical aspects of your website. While you’ve seen automated site auditors from the likes of SEMRush and Moz, or even Yoast, with perhaps a paid version, a technical analysis will go a long way on minor issues that have been lingering in a major way.
Mobile-friendly is still infinitely important, especially with the Core Web Vitals update that gives plenty of great looking websites a staggering 3 or 4 out of 100. You’ve been hearing how important it is to be mobile-friendly for ages at this point, and most website Content Management Systems, and they are inherently mobile-friendly.
Or are they?
Run an analysis with Google right now: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
The results are much less forgiving than they used to be.
Attempting to rank pages for too many keywords
I think this is a great one to leave it at, since doing content seems to always be a tough balance:
- Write enough content to be an authority, but not too much where you lose your reader before you make your point.
- Write about a specific topic to rank it competitively, but not too specific where there’s no search volume.
- Observe all of the important factors that go into on-page optimization and EAT standards, but don’t take away from the creativity you use to write great, engaging content.
- Write long-form, informative articles covering subject matter, but don’t attempt to optimize it for all of the topics you cover.
If you’re creating a geo-page for one city, you wouldn’t try to put in another city and optimize it for two cities on one page, would you? The same goes for topics. If there’s plenty of information out there on one topic or keyword already, attempting to include that keyword and another one in an attempt to rank for both on one page is very difficult to do.
Improve Your Content’s Performance
At Market My Market, content is a priority for our SEO clients, and something we love doing each and every day. Adding fresh content to your website — whether in the forms of blogs or pages — serves several purposes, including establishing you as an authority in your industry, providing material to share on social media, and adding pages to your site that Google will index, which attracts more traffic to your website. Adding content to your site regularly can also help with link building.
We provide quality, thoroughly-researched, and unique content for clients across several industries, including legal. Contact us for a free consultation.