SEO Consulting & SEO Troubleshooting for Common Issues

SEO Consulting – weCreate

As an SEO consulting and services provider for nearly 15 years, we’ve seen it all. We commonly receive SEO-related questions from clients and prospective clients, and we thought we could share some of what we’ve learned over the years.

If You’d Rather Have a Call Than Read a Q&A

If you’re ready to learn, then read on!

SEO Troubleshooting questions and answers included in this article from our consulting team:

Click the links to skip to sections!

  1. Why SEO Seems So Complicated
  2. What do I do with low-performance content?
  3. What is Google’s biggest factor in ranking?
  4. How do I know if my website has the authority to rank?
  5. How many keywords can I rank a page for?
  6. My homepage has recently dropped in ranking for keywords – what can I do?
  7. What type of SEO content should I include in my pages or articles?
  8. Does Google Still Use Meta Keywords?
  9. How do I find good backlinks?
  10. Can I use AI to write my SEO content?
  11. Will Google penalize my site for bad content?
  12. How can I troubleshoot SEO issues?
  13. What’s the difference between local and nationwide SEO?
  14. How do I keep up with algorithm updates?
  15. What’s the future of SEO, given the prevalence of AI?

1. Why SEO Seems So Complicated

Search engine optimization is the process of getting ranked higher in search engines like Google for the terms that your prospective clients are searching for. SEO seems complicated because there are many possible reasons why your website doesn’t currently rank for these terms. We’ve been able to reduce the complexity and help clients hone in on the most important points. Some of the most common issues we would find with troubleshooting include:

  • Incorrectly guessing which keywords your customers will search for
  • Lack of website authority
  • Improperly placed keywords or lack of optimized content
  • Too little content on pages
  • Too much online competition for the keywords you’re using
  • Too much keyword usage or “keyword stuffing”

2. My blog receives low-quality traffic that doesn’t convert well. Should I eliminate it?

It is very common to see low conversion rates from blog traffic, but there are some easy ways to improve these conversion rates. Most clients who actively blogged previous to working with us had articles with great information, but they completely forgot about optimization. Here’s a blog title from a client with a large online hardware sales company:

“How To Avoid Cracking Concrete When Using Anchors”

The keyword choice generated traffic, but the person searching for these words likely was not interested in buying concrete anchors. A better way to construct a title to attract a converting audience would be:

“Best Concrete Anchors To Avoid Cracks”.

SEO Consulting Recommendations:

  • DO begin your SEO title, Meta Description, and H1 with a keyword set that someone looking to buy would google
  • DO keyword research to ensure the keyword you are using has search volume
  • DO go through all of your old blog articles and revise keywords used as needed
  • DON’T assume that a huge amount of traffic to an article is doing anything for your sales
  • DON’T leave your profit-producing keywords at the end of your title
  • DO ensure you have a call to action or featured products available for sale near the beginning of your article.


3. What is Google’s biggest factor in ranking?

Assuming your website has the authority to rank for your selected keywords, your goal should be to construct a well-developed page on the topic. We define “a well developed page” as one with more and better information than the websites currently at the top of search results for the selected keywords.

SEO Consulting Recommendations:

  • DO ensure your article or page has at least 600 – 1200 words
  • DO provide a short summary of the article with a few bullet points near the top
  • DON’T confuse Google about which keywords the article is supposed to rank for by using too many variations in your major SEO areas (SEO title, meta description, headings).
  • DO incorporate photographs with alt-tag keywords
  • DO incorporate data, numbers, charts, and infographics


4. How do I know if my website has the authority to rank for my keywords?

If you are trying to rank for the term “Nike Shoes”, chances are your website lacks authority. You can assess the situation by googling the term you want to rank for, picking the top three organic listings, and then running those sites through a program like Majestic, Moz, or AHrefs. You then compare the authority score for your top organic competitors to your own.

SEO Consulting Recommendations:

  • DO place effort on building high-quality backlinks
  • DO have paid access to an SEO research tool like those mentioned above
  • DON’T pay a low-class link-building service since you’ll most likely end up with a bunch of spammy links that hurt you more than help.


5. How many keywords can I rank a single page for?

While many factors exist, including competition, site authority, monthly search volume, and more, we find it a good rule of thumb to give search engines clarity on the keyword the page should rank for. We used to have great success with a dual keyword set in the SEO title like: “Zinc Die Casting | Aluminum Die Casting”, however as things have progressed over the last few years, it’s becoming apparent that we would be much better off having two pages, one for Zinc, and one for Aluminum.

SEO Consulting Recommendations:

  • DO keep strict track of specific keyword sets, and reduce the number of keyword sets on an individual page
  • DO create new pages with unique content using keyword variations


6. My homepage has recently dropped in ranking for keywords — what can I do?

This is a purely empirical theory, but we’ve been incorporating it into campaigns with great success. Google has been de-prioritizing homepages for service-based keywords and focusing service keyword traffic on internal service pages. The homepage, conversely, takes the vast majority of brand searches.

SEO Consulting Recommendations:

  • DO ensure that your site has enough service pages aside from the homepage that encompass your service (or product) based keywords
  • DON’T rely solely on your homepage for your highest competition keyword set, as we used to do
  • DO ensure that you provide text hyperlinks to service pages from your homepage


7. What type of content should I include in my pages or articles to help them rank?

A well-developed page of content should include the following elements. The higher the competition for a keyword, the more of these elements it should include:

  • 600 – 1200 words of content. Higher competition topics may require as much as 3,000-5,000 words
  • Provide the search engine with a snippet to preview at the beginning of your article
  • Interactive content like videos or slideshows with metadata included
  • Break up your content with interesting visual elements instead of having a massive block of text.
  • Provide desired calls to action or opportunities to interact with the site
  • Provide links to other resources on your site
  • Provide ONE OR TWO outbound links to highly regarded websites if there is valuable additional reading the visitor should see. Ensure these links open in a separate window or tab so you don’t send the visitor away.
  • Include charts or numbered data if relevant

General Recommendations:

Content that ranks well is going to take effort. If you’re feeling lazy, write on another day where you feel more inspired. If you can get inside the mind of your target audience, and provide them with thorough, unique, and valuable information, your content will rank well.


8. Does Google still utilize meta keywords?

Years ago, one could signal to google the keywords a page should rank for by placing these keywords in the HTML in the form of meta keywords. Now, search engines will determine the correct keywords by looking at visible front-end data.

SEO Consulting Recommendations:

  • ALWAYS include keywords in your SEO Title
  • ALWAYS include keywords in your meta Description
  • ALWAYS include keywords in your H1
  • ALWAYS Repeat keywords twice for every 500 words in the body copy


9. How do I find good backlinks?

Every few years, SEO service providers hear talk about backlinks being a thing of the past. Let’s talk about why this is not true and shouldn’t be true. A backlink is simply a “vote” of credibility. If a national association dedicated to your industry is linking to your website, then that vote should count! Conversely, if you own a manufacturing facility, and the local sports team is linking to your website, that vote shouldn’t count.

Furthermore, a credible and mature organization should be a part of industry associations and be listed as a resource in various places on the web. A brand-new organization with little impact will likely not be listed in these locations. Your links tell search engines that you’ve been around and you matter.

SEO Consulting Recommendations:

  • DO utilize a program like Majestic, Moz, or AHrefs to analyze competitors and see where they are getting their highest power backlinks
  • DON’T focus your strategy on guest posting. This type of link usually offers short-term value
  • DO join industry-specific associations and organizations that provide member listings and links to member websites
  • DO investigate suppliers, distributors, and partners of your organization to see if there exists a place on their websites that you might fit in (think testimonials, partner pages, links of interest pages)
  • DON’T think that backlink building means linking to other websites from your site – that’s backwards!


10. Can I use AI to write my SEO content?

We’ve performed some testing with AI-generated content and concluded that AI content is not great to post on your website. Some of our tests resulted in a complete failure of the article to be indexed. We use AI to come up with outlines and to generate ideas from time to time.

SEO Consulting Recommendations:

  • DO use AI to perform preliminary research on topics and to spark creativity
  • DON’T place unedited AI content on your website


11. If I have content on my site that does not convert well, will Google penalize my site?

The short answer to this question is: No, Google won’t penalize your whole site due to a few low-performing pieces. On the other hand, if a large portion of your site is made up of spammy, repetitive content, there is a good possibility your whole site will be de-indexed until you remove or replace the content and request a manual review.

SEO Consulting Recommendations:

  • DO eliminate or revise poorly performing content
  • DON’T “spin” content, utilize the same focus keyword on multiple pages, or include duplicate content on your site
  • DO continuously review Google Search Console to identify and fix indexing issues


12. No matter how hard I try, I can’t rank for my top keyword(s). How can I troubleshoot SEO issues?

As we mentioned before, your SEO issues likely come down to one of two factors:

  1. The page you’re trying to rank doesn’t have the authority (backlinks) to compete in search results
  2. The page doesn’t provide valuable or extensive enough content to compete with competitor pages

Your troubleshooting steps should occur in the following format:

  1. With a clear understanding of the best keyword set to rank the page for, review the page in Google Search Console:SEO Consulting – weCreate
  2. Identify the current position (not the average position, which appears in the right-hand column) for the keyword by clicking on the keyword in the list and reviewing the current position from the chart:SEO Consulting – weCreate
  3. If the current position is somewhere in the ballpark of ranking (position 10-30), and the page has a competitive amount of content (more than the content on competitor pages that are ranking for the term), then your issue is probably page authority.
  4. If you only need a small bump in position (<10), then you may be able to get what you need by:
    • Increasing the usage of the exact match keyword set in the content and ensuring the exact match keyword is used in the SEO title, Meta description, and H1
    • Using the desired keyword set on the homepage of the website and anchor text link from the homepage to the page you wish to rank
    • Linking to the page from other pages on your website
    • Adding a few pictures with alt tags, a video, or some interactive content
  5. If you need a larger bump in position, you must take the following steps:
    • Significantly increase the word count and interactive content on the page
    • Identify a few outside backlink opportunities and link them directly to that page


13. How does local SEO differ from nationwide SEO?

The factors involved in nationwide SEO (authority + content) are equally important for local SEO. Your Google business listing (or Bing) relies on these same factors when your listing becomes visible for local searches. However, there are a couple of additional factors to take into account. You must also have reviews and proximity to the searcher.

SEO Consulting Recommendations:

  • DO solicit reviews from customers who have had a good experience with your company
  • DO ensure location-based keywords are in your SEO title, meta description, and H1 if you wish to rank locally instead of nationally
  • DO build separate business listings for secondary addresses of your company


14. How do you keep up with various algorithm updates?

You will drive yourself nuts trying to react to every zoo animal named update (see recent ones here). It’s much better to have a constant understanding of how your content is performing in search results, and when that performance slips, you take action. We’ve always taken the approach of “what would google do?” meaning search engine algorithms are created by humans, and those humans are looking for the best way to serve relevant search results to the searcher. Those search results should include credible companies who are sharing valuable information. So, what would you find online related to a credible company versus a non-credible company? A credible company has links and industry relationships, reviews, posts new content on their site and on social outlets and shares their expertise.

Here’s the big caveat: Those humans who make the algorithms also work for a for-profit entity, meaning, over time, we are seeing more and more evidence of search engines trying to make more money from search results. The evidence shows the increasing prevalence of advertising when performing product searches. Sure, you will still have 10 organic listings in the first pan of results, but they are sprinkled among a plethora of different ad formats. You may also notice that the organic results tend not to be sales landing pages but instead are long-form informational pieces.

SEO Consulting Recommendations:

  • DO create an SEO strategy for your company and stick to it
  • DON’T obsess over SEO rumors and updates
  • DO create long-form content on your website that answers questions, but ensure you have strong calls to action near the top of the articles or promote products and services you’d like to sell inside of that content


15. What’s the future of SEO, given the prevalence of artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence has dramatically reduced the opportunity cost for content creation, which means that more content is being posted than ever before, and more content = more competition for keywords. In the short term, the result is that you may see traffic reduction on pieces that had previously performed well. The mandate when performing SEO services is to continuously increase the value of the content they are posting so that purely AI-generated content doesn’t overtake their position. You might take the approach of “What can’t AI provide?” in an article and incorporate that information. In the long term, AI will likely replace the current function of search engines. AI will do this by providing a short answer to a specific question, sometimes without providing adequate credit to the company that posted it. In the case of searches for service providers or products, humans will learn to interact with AI and precisely define what they are looking for. Instead of providing a list of search results, AI will respond by producing the result it sees as the best match. Here’s an example:

Human: “Show me the best ISO certified industrial fabrication company on the East Coast with the ability to make pressure vessels.”

AI: Searches all indexed pages for fabrication companies whose listed address on their site matches states on the East Coast and whose site also mentions pressure vessels and ISO certification.

AI: “I’ve found two companies who appear to provide the services you are looking for and here is their phone number and a link to their contact form.”

SEO Consulting Recommendations:

  • DO provide specific granular information about your specialty areas
  • DO include all information on your website that your target market will be interested in
  • DO provide questions and answers on your website since, as the name suggests, queries tend to be questions, and AI will look to match the searcher’s question with the same question in a piece of content.

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