Patrick Dawson

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Found: The Top Reasons Why SEO Doesn’t Work [7 Expert Tips]

In this post, we’re going to cover the top reasons why SEO doesn’t work, and provide tips to improve your keyword rankings & traffic.

Using these tips, you’ll be able to focus on SEO best practices and avoid wasting time on SEO techniques that no longer work.

If you’re ready to find out how to fix SEO issues and boost your site’s traffic, this post is for you!

Let’s get started..

Why SEO Doesn’t Work

As we dive into this topic, we should first clarify the two main types of SEO problems. 

The first is when your posts never make it to the top of the SERPs, and the second is when you get to page 1, but you’re still not getting any traffic.

This might have you thinking Why is SEO so confusing? but the reality is that SEO isn’t that complicated.

Does SEO still work?

The short answer is yes. But often, SEO is presented using too many technical terms, and the focus is put on specific techniques instead of best practices.

The organic search results are typically displayed with the best (and most relevant) pages at the top. 

If you focus on creating the best resource for your keywords, writing compelling headlines, and matching the user’s search intent, everything else will fall into place.

SEO is not a checklist.

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7 Tips To Boost Your SEO

For these tips, I’m going to assume you understand the basics of SEO. 

I don’t need to tell you that long tail keywords are important for targeted traffic. We don’t need to cover how receiving a backlink, or an editorial link is good for your site.

I’m going to focus on the top 7 reasons why SEO doesn't work (or might not seem to be working for you), and show you how to fix them.

Why SEO Doesn't Work Infographic

1. Follow Reliable Sources

All too often, I see SEO advice being given that is years out of date, doesn’t work, and in many cases will do more harm than good. 

Specific techniques will change over time, and that’s why it’s crucial for you to find reliable sources on this topic. A reliable source practices what they preach, and is constantly updating their advice based on what actually works today. 

Do a few searches using SEO terms like backlinking, keyword research, etc., and see which websites consistently land on the first page. Those sites are probably a good starting point..

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2. Use Effective Tools

In addition to bad advice, another reason why SEO doesn't work could be from using bad SEO tools that yield poor results. 

The Google keyword planner is good if you’re buying ads, but mediocre at best for keyword research. There are also plenty of great tools that help you write SEO optimized content, either inside WordPress or externally. 

Test out several tools and compare the results. The perfect tools for your needs are out there, and often, the best tools aren’t free.

Recommended Resource

RankMath Pro WordPress Plugin

3. Wear The White Hat

Many years ago, you could simply spam your keyword within your content, build low-quality backlinks (comments, non-related sites, profile links, etc.), and get good results. 

Times have changed, and using these Black and Gray Hat techniques will do more harm than good. Now, your content has to be great, first and foremost. Keywords and links still matter, but it’s all about being relevant. 

Spend more time creating excellent content, rather than spending all of your effort on gaming the system.  

4. Take A Holistic Approach

SEO isn’t separate from your content. It has to be integrated within it. There’s no single task or technique that will give you the results you want.

On-page, off-page, and technical SEO all need to be addressed. Create systems that ensure you spend the necessary time working on each of these areas.

It’s also important to extend this to cover things like your overall brand identity, which helps line up your content with your site’s purpose and voice.

5. Write Better Headlines

What’s the point of reaching the top of the search results, only to have everyone skip over your article and choose something else? Writing better headlines helps address this. 

A catchy headline is clear, concise, and compels action. 

The decision whether or not to read an article is based entirely on the headline, and that decision happens in a fraction of a second. Give your content a fighting chance to be seen. 

6. Remember Search Intent

You may reach the top of the search results, only to discover another reason why SEO doesn't work; it doesn't automatically provide search traffic.

There are 3 main reasons why someone performs a search:

  • Informational: They want a definition or more info about a topic
  • Navigational: They want to find a specific site, person, song, etc.
  • Transactional: They want to solve a problem (i.e. product or guide)

Use the related search questions and terms to find out why someone is searching for that keyword, and then make sure your content lines up with their search intent.

7. Have Patience

SEO needs time to work; weeks, months, or maybe even longer. Focus on creating great content and using SEO best practices, and then move on to the next piece of content. 

It’s fine to regularly check back to see how that content is performing, just remember that you’re not likely to see the improvement from day to day. 

What you can do in the meantime, is active promotion. Set the SEO in motion, and then switch over to some promotional strategies that will bring you traffic, shares, comments, and links now.

Final Thoughts

Search engine optimization is not something you do once. To get the results you want, it has to be revisited again and again

Over time, you may find content ranking for different or additional keywords. Make a few updates to optimize that content for those new keywords, and while you’re at it, reread the article and see if anything else needs to be updated.

And remember, a successful SEO strategy is less about specific techniques, and more about implementing basic SEO principles and best practices.

What about you?

What SEO tip has worked best for you?

Let us know in the comments section below..

  • Following reliable sources is so important. Blind lead SEO blind in many cases. Follow top pros who drive Google traffic to learn from the best. Excellent post, Patrick.


  • Always use ‘white hat’ tactics. That’s the best tip. I got burned early on by trying questionable techniques – the black hat stuff worked for a little while, but wasn’t worth it in the end.

  • My best SEO tip is the one you have at #7: Have Patience. SEO takes time, especially the newer your blog is, so waiting a few weeks to pass judgment on whether or not a technique works will save you a lot of headaches.

  • Your headline needs to stand above the competition. Spend time on that before worrying about SEO. It only matters if they click through to your article.

    • Quite right, George! SEO may get your article in front of a potential reader, but the headline is what can make or break your success.

  • Ron Givons says:

    Hi Patrick is Rank Math better than Yoast?

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