5 Warning Signs that Show You Are Doing SEO the Wrong Way.

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VIEWS: 17782 Views CATEGORY: SEO READING TIME: 10 Min To Read UPLOADED ON: 03 Oct 2018

At Small SEO Tools, we've somehow developed a unique way of sharing pleasantries with our users and company partners.

We’d often say:

“Hey, how's your SEO going?”

That's synonymous with saying “how's your day going?” or “how's business going?” or something like that. Please don't blame us; we are an SEO-specialized company, after all! Sure, millions of people have used our SEO and content tools to achieve remarkable results in their online marketing, but we've also had people answer that question with responses like:


  • “Not good”

  • “I'm not getting as much love from Google as I'd like.”

  • “Hi SST. Thanks! Our organic traffic is dropping. What you say?”


Of course, you can expect these kinds of answers because SEO (search engine optimisation) is a highly technical and requires practical efforts to pull through.


For those struggling to get results, we've found that there are five stages of a failing SEO strategy (or some warning signs that indicate your SEO is going all wrong). We often describe these stages as the five negative milestones of a bad SEO strategy, which means if you're experiencing any of those, your SEO strategy is at a vital negative measure based on the stage where you are on a scale of 1-5. The good thing is that these dead-end stages or warning signs are usually noticeable and avoidable, too. That means you can do something to avert them and forfend your SEO and business from completely petering off.

Today, we'll share those five stages with you and show you the possible causes and precisely what to do to bring your search presence out of of the mess. Let's start:


(“Not even a page of my entire site is on Google”)


This is the worst stage of a failing SEO strategy and the worst situation anyone can experience with their optimisation.

Your website is not found on Google or any other search engine.

Possible Causes


Search is pretty technical. Here’s what may be preventing your site from showing up in search results:

  • Search engines have not yet indexed your website. This is because your website is new and doesn't have any inbound links.

  • Your website has “no index” tags. The index value of an HTML robot's meta tag stops search bots from crawling and indexing your web pages.

  • You told search engines not to index your site. For instance, WordPress comes with a built-in feature that allows you to instruct search engines not to index your site. This feature is automatically enabled when you launch a new WordPress website.

  • Your website has been penalised and removed from Google. Google can temporarily or permanently remove sites from its index on the web. This happens if it believes it is obligated to do so by law, if the sites do not meet Google’s quality guidelines, or for other reasons.

What To Do

  • If your website is new, just wait a little longer and Google will automatically index it. Some newbies often try to manually submit their sites to Google, but that is not necessary in the new era of SEO as search engines can find your site on their own. To quicken things up, start building links. With links, Google is likely to find it sooner. Crawlers follow that link and it leads them to your website.

  • Run a test to check for any noindex tags that may be running on your site.

  • If you are using WordPress, go to Settings > Reading > Search Engine Visibility and disable the box that says discourage to allow search bots crawl your site.

If your site is blocked from Google’s index because it violates their quality guidelines, Google may alert you about this on Google Search Console. Whatever it is they tell you is the problem, work on resolving it. You can modify your site so that it meets their guidelines and then submit it again for reconsideration. You can also run a sitewide SEO audit to check for any SEO problems.



(“Just a few of my pages are showing up on the engines”)


After the problem of not being visible in search at all, the next stage you may likely find is not ranking for industry keywords.

Possible Causes

  • You're not optimizing your content for appropriate keywords.

  • You've been sandboxed. This means, your domain or page hasn't been deindexed or penalized, but the traffic you are getting from Google suddenly drops dramatically. This can be as a result of a temporary or minor penalty on your site or an unfavorable updates of the algorithm. If it's a penalty, it may be automatic through the Google algorithm or manually applied by a Google Quality Engineer.

  • Your website isn’t optimized for search crawling. If you've been running a website or blog without paying attention to search engine optimization within your site (that is, on-page SEO), this could be a problem.

  • Poor off-page optimization. You might be doing SEO, but not enough of off-page optimization.

Your keyword market is very competitive. Usually, the existence of authoritative websites who have a strong grip on top keywords doesn't make much room for newcomers to rank for those keywords.

What To Do


  • Do proper keyword research and create content around the keywords.

  • Start configuring your website to rank by doing on-page optimization. This includes meta tags, URL Structure, body tags (H1, H2, H3, H4, etc.) keyword density, image SEO, internal linking, external linking, etc.

  • Get your hands dirty with off-page SEO, including building backlinks, social sharing, etc. Remember to target your keywords in your off-page optimization efforts.




(“My pages are showing up, but I'm not getting the traffic I deserve”)


At this stage, your content is visible on search engines and you're ranking for selected keywords. But the click-through-rate (CTR) isn't impressive.


Possible Causes


There's one key reason why your page may be getting low CTR even if it sits on page #1. And that is, non-persuasive title tag and meta description. In other words, even if your blog post is well optimized with the right keywords and your content is super helpful, if the result has a title and description that is not optimized to attract visitors, then your content will lose out on clicks.


What To Do


Legendary copywriter, David Ogilvy, noted that the most powerful part of any content is the headline, saying far more people read headlines than read the whole content. This holds true today and new research has found that 8 out of 10 people will read a headline, while only 2 out of 10 will click through.


The key to getting high CTR, and ultimately high organic traffic is to create truly compelling titles and descriptions that'll persuade searchers to click through.




(“I'm getting clicks but visitors are not staying on my site”)


If you've successfully optimized your title and description to garner enough clicks, that's great

But it may not be enough. You'd have to learn to keep visitors long enough and engaged on your site.


If users keep bouncing off your site immediately after clicking on the result, Google may think they simply don't like your content. The end result is usually Google “pogo sticking” your pages. Additionally, if your dwell-time (the amount of time people spend on your site after clicking on your SERPs result) is high, then you can more easily engage users and start building relationships with them.


Possible Causes


The possible cause of high bounce rates and low dwell time is LOW QUALITY CONTENT. If your headlines and content descriptions on Google promises users golden information but don't deliver the same in the main content when they click, the visitors will immediately click on the back button. Another possible cause is poor user experience, which can stem from factors like slow page load time, obnoxious layout, non-responsive design, difficulty in navigating the site, etc.


What To Do


First, head over to Google Analytics and check your site metrics to have an idea of where you are. Then optimize your site to reduce bounce rates by doing the following:


  • Add quality relevant images to your content.

  • Break up the block of text of your blog posts by leaving lots of whitespace for easy readership.

  • Make the opening of your posts interesting to haul readers in.


Additionally, optimize your site's user experience by doing the following:


  • Improve your page load time.

  • Make your design responsive and mobile-friendly.

  • Make it convenient for users to navigate your site and easily find what they are looking for.

  • Make your content super-useful to keep readers.




(“I get clicks and they stay on my site a while, but don't come back another day”)


After getting your site indexed, optimizing to appear more often on search, driving organic traffic, and keeping users on your site for a long time, you still have another stage in the SEO journey to win. It's optimizing your site to produce return visits.

SEO does not end with people visiting your website once.

An effective SEO strategy should incorporate the “aftermath” of visitors’ interaction with you website. You don't want people coming to your website once and returning no more. You want to keep ‘em. You want to be sure they come back again and again to read your blog until you build a solid relationship and reputation to the point where they'll easily trust you and buy or use your product or service.


Possible Causes


What leads to zero or low repeat visits?


  • Low quality content. If your content does not offer value to readers, they won't think of coming back another day.

  • Lack of strategies for getting first time visitors to return another day.


What To Do


  • Collect email addresses and then regularly send notifications to your subscribers for new blog updates.

  • Optimize your blog posts mainly for keywords with long-term potentials. Use Google Trends to find out the popularity of keywords and see if they're declining or rising in popularity.

  • Build a strong social media following and regularly share new posts with your followers.

  • Generally, create awesome content. Because when visitors sense that your content provides great value, they'll keep coming back for more.

  • Understand that SEO is quite wide. So try to get it all working together with the right SEO tools.




Search engine optimization is a great marketing strategy. It can help turn a small, unstable business into an established one. However, SEO is not all bed of roses. In most cases, the SEO issues that marketers and website owners face can all be categorized into the five stages discussed above.

To get your SEO to its prime, don't just stop at getting your site indexed. Work on getting your site to rank for expected keywords, getting enough organic traffic, getting people to stay long on your pages, and getting people to come back for more.


That's the full circle of a successful SEO strategy. Need more SEO tips? Check out the rest of our SEO blog posts or join us on facebook page of  Small seo tools and visit our Twitter page for the latest SEO updates.


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