Is It Really An SEO Problem?

From time to time, we get emails from friends and prospects asking us about their websites and why their websites don’t rank so well in search engines.

Many people assume it is an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) issue.

Photo credit: Johnathan Nightingale

They usually want to “fix” the SEO problem.

But is it really an SEO problem or is it something else? Many times, it is a combination of factors.

Seriously, you can focus on SEO all you want (and the easiest way to get right on the first page of Google is just advertise using Google Adwords and there you go, right at the top) but what’s really the main problem?

Here’s some email advice we gave Anita when she asked us why her company website wasn’t doing too well.


Dear Anita

An SEO problem is not always about the keywords and search terms.

In most cases it is the overall website that has problems plus it concerns marketing because your website is basically your marketing tool that helps customers differentiate you from the rest of the other websites offering the same products or services.

To answer your question why your website isn’t ranking well for the search terms that you need, you have to look at:
* how your website is built (its code, structure and overall architecture)
* if your website content is fulfilling the needs of your website users
* if each of your webpages include specific keywords not only within the website text but also in the page title?
* your internal links – are they done well?
* your images – do they have ALT and Title tags in order? Also, do they have captions?
* your calls-to-action?
* your compelling message about how your business is unique and can serve the customers who come to you?
* personality – does your website reflect the personality of your business?

Once you’ve done that, also check:
* how often are you updating your website and when you update it, are the keywords included?
* are you updating items that makes sense for your customers?
* how are other websites linked to you, if any?
* what ways are you using to market your website?
* how are you communicating with your customers?
* what campaigns do you have for them?
* what external PR work are you doing?
* how regularly do you tell customers about your website and what can they find there that’s useful to them?
* what is your analytics programme telling you about the people who visit your website? (what can you infer from these data to help you improve your marketing?)

To help you further, here are 3 other blog posts we wrote about this SEO issue.

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