Search engines want to provide pertinent results to users looking for specific terms. In the simplest terms, your site is ranked on search engines based on the sentiment toward it and the site's relevance in relation to what users are searching for. Optimizing your site to fit these general criteria is an ongoing project, and PR pros provide the creative drive for SEO programs.
For all the planning, sometimes SEO strategies don't work. With so many moving parts, it can be hard to determine exactly where you have gone wrong. So what can you do when you have done your SEO homework but still aren't seeing the results you're looking for?
- You don’t have any content. There may be content on your website, but it's not in the particular area you want to rank in. Targeted content is important.
- Your content lacks focus. Content is available on your site, but it's not focused. This is especially problematic for corporations with many stakeholders—by the time your content gets through channels like legal, the point of your content can be lost.
- Somebody stepped on something. When the search engine tries to index your website, the relevant information isn’t available. For example, small snippets of code—such as code that turns your back button into a refresh button—can get you penalized in terms of SEO.
- Your SEO guy took too many risks. This is an issue of increasing complication. You want to be on top of the newest tactics, but you don't want to get penalized for using some of the more nefarious ones. Tactics for SEO change all the time, and search engines change their algorithms to fight against them.
- You aren’t popular. Well, not you—just your website. Popularity is the key to SEO.
- Your authority isn’t recognized. The signals that the search engines are looking for such as links to your website from trusted, reputable sources aren’t available. Search engines can’t recognize that you’re the authority on what you do if these signals aren’t properly sent.
Fix these six problems and you'll be on your way to better SEO.
Follow Brian Greene: @bwilliamgreene