SEO Troubleshooting Guide

Do you know how many RANKING SIGNALS Google is monitoring before it decides how to rank your website? If you do, skip the next couple of paragraphs. If you don’t, think about it for a minute. There’s obvious things like the actual CONTENT. The written words on the page that describe the business, product, place etc. Content is a very important on-page signal. How about HEADINGS? Headings come in various sizes with differing levels of prominence. H1 is the BIG ONE. Then there’s H2’s, H3’s etc. So we’ve got content and headings… that’s TWO signals….

Let’s think of some more. IMAGE NAMES, if you have an image of a broken watch and the image is called “DSC000101.jpg” how is the poor old Googlebot supposed to know what the context of the image is?But if it’s called “broken-watch-01.jpg”  better. Sensible, SEO friendly image naming, without getting too spammy.

That’s 3 from about 200 SEO Ranking Signals

Google monitors in excess of 200 signals when deciding how to rank a website ! If you really want to know what all the 200 Google ranking signals are then please take a look at Backlinko website. Brian Dean has been kind enough to write them all down.

Understanding the sensitivity and balance of these signals is vital when troubleshooting an SEO blockage. At SEO Goggles there is nothing we like more than a challenge. To us your ranking failure is a red flag and we won’t rest until we’ve found that blockage, flushed it away and watched your organic traffic recover.

How long will it take to fix a website?

With over 200 signals to think about, it could be some time until we have a breakthrough. However, we generally find at least one signal that needs immediate attention within our first audit. We don’t look at all 200 signals in our regular SEO Audit, unless the client has NO BUDGET. However, the longer we work with a client, the deeper we dig down to the real minute ranking signals.

Sometimes the difference between first and second place in Google is obvious. The gap between the search engine qualities of SITE 1 may dwarf those of SITE 2. Other times the gap between the two might be minute. It could be the difference of TOO MANY H1’s on a page appearing a bit “spammy” to Google, or a few dozen backlinks from some suspicious link directory that your old SEO agency bought for you in 2011 and have forgotten about……

However big or small your SEO problem, if you need some assistance promoting your website in Google then please get in touch with SEO Goggles today. Your Google ranking problem could be my next challenge.

Find it – then Flush that Blockage

Genarally it doesn’t take us long to identify a couple of major contributing factors that are holding your website down on page 3 or 4 of Google. Our approach is steady and careful. Find a couple of issues, recommend an remedial action plan, monitor the implementation of that plan then, hopefully, track the improvement in rankings.

However, with over 200 signals to take in to consideration, it’s sometimes something elusive that is holding your site down and it can take months to get to troubleshoot a serious SERP blockage.We start with the BIG ONES like meta titles, headings, keyword density, originality of content etc.

We then look OFF-SITE and look at the quality of your backlinks, anchor text etc. It’s a long process, but there is ALWAYS A REASON why your website is failing to rank. It’s generally not ONE thing, but we’ve seen some occasions when it is simply one MAJOR mistake. We’ve seen some howlers. No names, of course, but issues like:

Examples of DISASTROUS SEO Errors encountered during Audits

  1. Zero Original Content – the website is nothing more than a mosaic of content scraped from other websites
  2. Duplicate Meta Titles – every page should have a different meta title. We have seen sites with over 400 duplicate meta titles. Please have a look at my Meta Title SEO Audit
  3. Canonical References all the same – a canonical reference is used when you have similar pages but want to tell Google which one, in your mind, is the MOST IMPORTANT. We had one customer with every page referencing the HOMEPAGE as the canonical for each page?
  4. Robots.txt – this file tells the GoogleBots where they can go and what they should index. Imagine how well you’d rank if your Robots.txt told the GoogleBot to NO-INDEX the whole site? Disaster ! But just ONE LINE of text in one single file