When you run an SEO campaign, you want to see real rankings and results. Real rankings mean position improvements for the most important keywords as well as getting your business to rank for keywords that it didn’t rank for before.

SEO is not just about rankings, however. After all, rankings won’t contribute to the revenue your business generates or the profits you make. For this, you need results and for most businesses, this means leads and/or sales.

If you are not getting real rankings and results, your SEO campaign is failing, and you need to fix it.

How to Get Real Rankings and Results From SEO

You will find that top-rated search engine optimization experts are well-equipped to identify where a company is going wrong with SEO. They’ll look at on-page and off-page SEO and, more often than not, the gaps and issues will be glaring.

You need to know what’s wrong too, particularly if you have engaged an SEO agency but are not getting the real rankings and results that your business needs.

To help you understand why your SEO campaign is failing, here are the eight most common causes as well as what you should do to fix them.

Reason 1. Not Understanding the Target Audience

Many people, including some agencies that pitch themselves as SEO experts, approach search engine optimization as a technical challenge.

Google, however, tells us repeatedly that all it cares about are its users and giving those users search results that are as relevant and helpful as possible.

So, while SEO has technical elements, it all starts with people. That means understanding your target audience.

  • Who is your target audience?
  • Why do they need the products/services you offer?
  • What will motivate them to start a search on Google?
  • What is the buyer journey? More specifically, what are the different questions or queries they will type into Google search at various points on that journey?

If you can’t answer the above questions in detail, you will struggle to implement an effective SEO campaign.

The Fix

The solution to the above is to spend time defining your target audience (or ideal customer) and learning as much about them as you can.

Reason 2. Targeting the Wrong Keywords

Keywords are at the center of all SEO campaigns. Therefore, an SEO campaign that targets the wrong keywords is doomed to failure.

Some of the main problems with keyword targeting include:

  • Keywords that are overly generic
  • Keywords where there is high competition
  • Branded terms for your competitors
  • A lack of focus on long-tail keywords

The Fix

Review your keywords to ensure they are optimized. As always, focus on your target audience and ideal customer, thinking about the phrases they will use when searching in Google for the products or services you sell.

For example, if you are a local business, you should target keywords that include a location rather than the more general version. So, instead of targeting “plumbers”, you should target “plumbers in ”.

Poor Quality Content, Title Tags, and Meta Descriptions

Content is king is an overused phrase, but it doesn’t change the fact that the quality of the content on your website is directly related to the effectiveness of your SEO strategy. If you have poor-quality content, you will get poor SEO results.

Title tags and meta descriptions are important in SEO too. If these are also poor-quality, your results will suffer.

Finding the Best SEO Company Online

Examples of poor-quality content include:

  • Thin pages with very little content
  • Duplicate content where the text is copied within your website or from a third-party website
  • No keyword optimization in the content
  • Poor use of header tags
  • Duplicate meta descriptions or no meta descriptions at all
  • Page titles that are not optimized
  • Etc, etc

The Fix

If you have poor-quality content, you will need to review, update, and replace it, increasing the length of the content on each page of your website while also optimizing keyword use, page titles, meta descriptions, and more.

No Internal Linking Strategy

Internal linking is such an underrated parted of SEO that even some agencies neglect it. However, it’s effective and helpful, plus it’s relatively easy to implement.

It is particularly important if you publish blogs or have other helpful or informative content pages on your website, i.e. pages where the primary goal is not sales or marketing.

The Fix

Add internal links to your website, ensuring you vary the pages you link to and the anchor text you use.

Low-Quality Link Profile

Google doesn’t just look at the number of backlinks when analyzing your website – it looks at the quality too. Your website will suffer if you have lots of low-quality backlinks, particularly if all or most of your links are low-quality.

Examples of low-quality backlinks include:

  • Links from low-quality websites
  • Links that all look the same
  • Anchor text that is not varied enough
  • Links from link networks


The Fix

  • Disavow low-quality links
  • Focus on creating high-quality content that people will link to naturally
  • Analyze your competitor’s backlinks for ideas as well as potential link sources
  • Use social media to increase the reach of your content to earn natural backlinks from quality sites

Poor Mobile Experience

Having a website that looks okay on mobile devices is no longer enough. Instead, you need a website that also delivers a good user experience. This means:

  • Everything must work
  • The site should load fast on mobile
  • The navigation elements should be easy to use
  • The site should look professional and attractive

The Fix

If your website offers mobile users a poor experience, you will need to review it, focusing first on the issues highlighted above:

  • Make sure everything works
  • Optimize the site for speed
  • Improve the navigation
  • Ensure it looks fantastic

Poor User Experience Overall

Following on from the last point, anything that causes a poor user experience will impact your SEO performance. There are lots of signals that Google looks out for to determine user experience, and it’s getting better at this all the time. So, optimizing your site for user experience is essential.

The Fix

Here are some of the most common user experience problems you should address:

  • Improve the speed of your site
  • Ensure you have an easy to understand website structure
  • Ideally, a visitor should be able to access the main pages on your site within one or two clicks
  • Use breadcrumbs to give visitors an additional and helpful navigational tool
  • Design attractive and intuitive menus

Not Giving the Campaign Enough Time

This one all comes down to expectations. If you expect results in a few days or a few weeks, you are going to be disappointed with any SEO campaign.

SEO campaigns take time to show improvements in real rankings and results.

The Fix

Review your expectations and give the campaign more time to take effect. During this time, make sure you regularly review performance using Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and any other SEO tool you have access to.

Avoiding the Pitfalls

Your SEO campaign can be dented by any of the above common issues. If two or three apply to your business, you will struggle to see any significant success. By addressing these problems, however, your SEO campaign will begin to improve.