Search engine optimization is always changing. Best practices when you revisit your SEO strategy shift with every new algorithm update, and variations in competition, search patterns, and even social activity can all dictate the need to go in a different direction.
Unfortunately, lots of marketers take a “set it and forget it” approach to SEO. As a result, they often find their campaigns are successful for a while, but then traffic gradually drops off (or occasionally disappears overnight).
How do you know if you’re keeping up or falling behind?
Here are five signs you need to revisit your search engine optimization strategy immediately:
#1 You Experience a Sudden Change in Search Position
If you had a first-page search position on Google for an important keyword or phrase, and suddenly find your company is buried on the fifth page, or worse, that’s a clear-cut sign your search campaigns need some rapid improvement. Unfortunately, many business owners and marketers will wait and hope that things will get better before taking action. Usually, that just compounds the damage and makes things worse.
#2 Search Traffic Dries Up Overnight
If you’re used to getting dozens or hundreds of visits from Google every day, and those potential customers suddenly disappear, then it’s time to call an SEO expert right away. It could be that you’ve done something to end up on Google’s blacklist, but it could also mean that search patterns have changed and the terms you are targeting aren’t as relevant to customers anymore.
#3 You Notice a Competitor Sneaking up on You
If another business in your industry suddenly appears in the search rankings out of nowhere, and could potentially be stealing customers from you, then you might want to reassess your campaigns to ensure you stay ahead of them. It’s easy to become complacent with search engine optimization, but the minute you stop working to attract new visitors, you make it easier for others to surpass you online.
#4 You’re Worried Google Will Catch Something Wrong
In the last couple of years, Google has gotten very good at cracking down on copied or scraped content, broken links, keyword stuffing, and other website issues that searchers hate to find in the results. If you have any problem areas on your website, but haven’t seen a drop off in search traffic yet, don’t assume you are safe. It’s only a matter of time before these issues end up costing you in a big way.
#5 Conversions are Dropping Off
Marketers tend to think of search engine optimization as amounting to nothing more than where you rank on Google, but the ultimate goal is to find new customers over the web. Achieving a high search position is just part of a bigger goal. Knowing that, you should keep a close eye on your conversion ratios. If they are decreasing, that could be a sign your SEO campaigns are targeting the wrong kinds of buyers. And really, that’s almost as bad as having no search visibility in the first place.