Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t something any business can ignore. It’s vital that your ideal customers can find you in the search engines.
Without traffic and customers, you really don’t have a business. However, SEO isn’t always straightforward and it does come with its own set of challenges.
In this article, we will list the biggest SEO challenges this year.
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1. Constantly Changing Algorithms
We’re going to start with the ultimate in SEO challenges.
Google and the other search engines are constantly experimenting and altering their algorithms. They do this so that they can continue to provide searchers with the best possible content related to their search.
Some changes are also made to keep ahead of anyone who would try to cheat their way to the top of the search engines.
You can’t control what the search engines do, but you can control how you react.
Keep a constant eye on the latest trends and changes, then you know what’s coming and what you can do about it.
It’s also worth waiting once an algorithm changes to see how it affects you and if Google is going to keep that change. Sometimes they do reverse changes once they’ve tested them.
The main thing you need to do for success with SEO challenges is to always write top-quality, highly relevant, well-keyworded content that’s tightly targeted to what your audience wants to see.
As long as you continue to do that, you’re going to ride out most algorithm changes.
Why? Because most of all, the search engines want to provide that kind of superior, relevant content to their searchers.
There are over 1.9 billion websites (and rising!) on the internet at the time of writing. Luckily, not all of them will be your direct competition.
However, you will have new companies entering the race for the number one spot in the same space that you’re in. That’s in addition to the competition you already have.
Not only that, but you can bet your competitors are reacting to everything you do and trying to out-optimize you. Everyone wants that number one spot, or they at least want to be ahead of their nearest competitors.
You can’t sweep away the competition, but you can keep tweaking and testing.
Optimize here and there to get the best results you can. And as we said above, quality content always wins.
3. Core Web Vitals
User experience is becoming a bigger ranking factor for search engines.
With the introduction of core web vitals, Google is increasingly looking at the usability of every page as a ranking factor.
Currently, they’re looking at how quickly your page loads, interactivity, and visual stability.
Given that many people won’t even wait a few seconds for a page to load before they move on, it’s no surprise that how quickly your site loads is a ranking factor.
What Google is looking at with interactivity is how responsive your interactive elements, such as web links and buttons, are.
With visual stability, they’re focusing on the individual elements that make up your page and whether they move and show any instability after loading.
This may not be an easy fix to do yourself if you’re a business owner that doesn’t know a great deal about web design.
But you can hire a quality web designer that understands how to optimize your website for user experience and for the search engines’ new focus on core web vitals.
4. Keyword Cannibalization
We understand that you have certain keywords you want to rank for. It’s tempting to use them in as many places as possible on your site, but you do need to be careful.
One of the serious SEO challenges is keyword cannibalization, where you’re using the same keyword on several pages.
The search engines see these pages as competing for that keyword and they then have to decide which page(s) they will include.
To fix this, track your keywords carefully with a keyword tracking tool. Ensure that you’re not using the same keyword over and over again on multiple pages.
5. Internal Redirects
If you’ve altered your site quite a bit since you first built it and moved or deleted pages, you’re likely to have multiple 300-range redirects.
A 301 redirect tells the browser to redirect from the old page to the correct new page. This shows your visitors the right content instead of a page not found error.
What happens with a redirect is that there is a slight delay, called latency, before the new page is displayed.
As we’ve seen above, page load speed matters as a ranking factor. Even small delays add up, especially if you have a lot of 301 redirects.
To correct this problem, go through your site and keep only the 301 redirects you have to have. Delete the rest. This should speed up your site and help with your rankings.
6. AI Generated Content
The quality of AI-generated content has come a long way. Some of it really does sound as though it could have been written by a human.
But using AI-generated content is still a bit of a minefield.
You can’t simply generate content with AI and then use it as it is. You will find that some of it isn’t grammatically correct or at all well written, and some of it makes no sense at all.
Not only that, but many AI content generators are limited in what they generate. They only have certain phrases and paragraphs that they repeat over and over again when someone puts in a keyword or phrase.
If you use poor-quality content, you will be penalized in the search engines. If you use clearly AI-generated, obviously duplicated content… well, we’re sure you can imagine.
Not only will you not impress the search engines, but you won’t create a great impression for your visitors either. If visitors can see that you have very similar content to other competitors, they’re going to assume that one of you copied the other.
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t use AI-generated content, but you do need to do it well.
By all means, use AI content for inspiration and to give you ideas. It can be a great way of quickly getting a page full of content that you can then edit and make your own.
That last bit is the key. Do make it your own. Rewrite it and use your own phrasing and stories. Add your own keywords and make your content unique.
You’ll then have no problem with duplicate content or any claims of plagiarism.
7. Titles Tags and Meta Descriptions
When writing your title tags and meta descriptions, it’s possible to also fall into the same keyword cannibalization trap we mentioned above.
If you use the same keywords in your title tags and meta descriptions on several articles, you are creating competing pages.
However, it’s not just about competing keywords. You need to use a unique title tag and meta description for each page on your site. If you duplicate these, you’re causing confusion for website visitors and search engines alike.
If you have a large site and a lot of very similar products, it can be really difficult not to make them all sound the same. But if you want great rankings, you do need to put in the effort.
Hire quality content writers if you don’t have time to do this yourself, and ensure you have varied, original, and attention-getting title tags and meta descriptions for each page.
8. Duplicate Content
We’ve already touched on this a little, but it deserves a section of its own as it is important.
This can be a problem if you use content syndication to increase your reach. It can also be a problem if you run an eCommerce site with many similar products as we said above.
The other way duplicate content can be a factor is if you sell your products on your own website, Etsy, Shopify, eBay, and others. Using the same product descriptions on each site is duplicate content and you could be penalized for it.
There are several solutions to this.
One is to ensure that your product descriptions are at least slightly different on each site. You also need to ensure that any similar products on your own site have different descriptions.
While their only real difference may be the color or size of the product, they all still need a unique description.
For content syndication, what you need to do is post your content on your own site first and then wait at least a week before you syndicate it.
This gives the search engines time to index your content and confirm that this is the original or canonical copy. Any other sites with your content will then not be treated as the original.
To help the search engines, you can also use the rel=canonical tag to confirm that your content is the original copy.
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SEO is of such huge importance to any business and it’s so important to get it right. You don’t want any SEO challenges to be sending customers to your competitors.
Handled correctly, you can optimize your site for SEO and gain an advantage over the competition. You can appear higher in the search results and create a better impression and experience for visitors when they do land on your site.
One other way to increase your SEO results is to learn about and implement Semantic SEO.
Click on the link and learn how to please your audience (and Google) with higher quality content and keyword clustering.