Small business owners today know the value of a good website in promoting their products or services. A website that is well designed, informative, and user-friendly can go a long way in helping a business succeed. Simply having a website, however, doesn’t cut it. To draw visitors to your site, you need to have a good search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) strategy.
But SEO and SEM are not static entities. As Google and other search engines change their algorithms periodically, your strategy needs to change with them.
If you outsource your SEO and SEM to a marketing agency or consultant, they should be able to tell you what’s working and what isn’t. However, there are also some signs that you can look out for yourself that indicate it may be time to make some changes to your strategy.
The Difference Between SEO and SEM
SEO and SEM are two different but related concepts. SEO is the process of making sure your website appears as high up as possible on search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords. SEM, on the other hand, is a form of paid advertising that allows you to buy your way to the top of SERPs.
A good SEO strategy helps increase organic search traffic to your site, while a good SEM strategy can help you get more clicks on your ads and improve your quality score, which in turn can lower your costs per click.
7 Key Signs You Need to Improve Your SEO and SEM Strategy
If you plunked down a good chunk of money for an SEO and SEM strategy but haven’t seen the results you were hoping for, don’t despair. It may just be that your current strategy needs some tweaking. Here are seven key signs that it’s time to reassess and improve your SEO and SEM efforts:
1. Your website traffic has plateaued or is in decline
Organic website traffic drives most small businesses. If you’ve noticed that your website traffic has suddenly stopped growing or has begun to decline, it’s a clear sign that something is wrong with your SEO and SEM strategy.
Although website traffic is just one metric, it’s a good indicator of the health of your site and business. If traffic is down, it could be a sign that potential customers are having trouble finding your site or that they aren’t impressed with what they see when they do find it.
2. Your website isn’t ranking for relevant keywords
The whole point of having an SEO and SEM strategy is to get your website to rank high in SERPs for relevant keywords. If you’re not ranking, or you’re buried on page 10 of the search results, then something is wrong.
The keywords you’re targeting need to be ones that are actually being used by people who are interested in your product or service. Using tools to ensure that the keywords you’re targeting are relevant and have a good search volume is essential.
3. Your website doesn’t appear in local search results
When people search for businesses like yours, they often include their city or region in the search. For example, someone might search for “plumber Atlanta” or “sushi restaurants Van Nuys.”
If your business doesn’t appear in local search results, you’re missing out on a lot of potential customers. Remember that the search algorithm favors websites that are relevant and useful to your target users. Tailor your SEO and SEM strategy to reflect this by including geo-targeted keywords and other local signals.
4. Your click-through rate is low
Your click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who see your listing in the search results and click on it. A low CTR is a sign that your title tag and meta description are not effective in enticing people to click through to your website.
You can improve your CTR by including targeted keywords in your title tags and meta descriptions, and by making sure your listings are as informative and appealing as possible.
5. Your website isn’t mobile-friendly
If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re leaving a lot of potential customers and traffic on the table. Continually assessing and improving your website’s design and user experience is necessary to stay ahead of the curve and keep your site visible in SERPs.
6. You’re getting a lot of hits from low-quality websites
Links are an important ranking factor for SEO. But you don’t want just any old website linking to yours. The quality of the website that’s linking to you matters just as much as the quantity.
A link from a high-quality website like Forbes or the New York Times will carry a lot more weight than a link from a low-quality website. Links from low-quality websites can actually hurt your ranking, so it’s important to monitor your backlink profile and disavow any links from spammy websites.
7. Your conversions are low
If you’re not getting a lot of website visitors, that’s one thing. But if you are getting traffic and it’s not converting into leads or sales, that’s a sign that there’s a problem with your website.
When people come to your website, they should be able to easily find what they’re looking for. Your website should be well-designed and user-friendly, and your call-to-action should be clear. If you’re not sure why your website isn’t converting, try A/B testing different elements on your website to see what works best.
A rock-solid SEO and SEM strategy is essential for any business that wants to succeed online. Even if you have a great website, if no one can find it, it’s not going to do you any good. Familiarizing yourself with the danger signs listed above can help you catch issues early and fix them before they become a big problem—ensuring that your website stays visible and accessible to your target audience.