Freelance SEO Services

Why SEO Fails.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a crucial facet of digital marketing, yet it often fails to deliver expected results, leaving many businesses perplexed. This article delves into the common reasons behind SEO failure, shedding light on the pitfalls that prevent websites from achieving top search engine rankings. We will explore how unrealistic expectations, strategic missteps, and technical inadequacies contribute to SEO underperformance. Through this examination, readers will gain insights into avoiding common errors and enhancing their SEO strategies for better search engine visibility and success.

Common Issues to Diagnose

The noindex button exists for developers, as they wouldn’t want Google to crawl and site that isn’t finished. In some instances I’ve come across, some developers forget to untick the button!

If using WordPress > Settings > Reading > noindex?

Technically, if you had bad relations with your web developer/ marketing agency, they could have ticked that button out of spite to rank your rankings…which is extremely unethical and poor taste.

If you don’t have a working xml sitemap, Google cannot find your pages on your website to rank them. It’s also best practice to setup a GSC account and tell Google that you have a site you want to rank (but if it’s a good website, Google will automatically do this…it will just take a lot longer to rank!)

Buying bulk links, keyword stuffing and black hat techniques can all get your site penalised by Google (meaning they will purposely not rank your site, until these are fixed). Every SEO campaign that I do, I will review your sites link quality and assess if any need to be noindexed to ensure your website is not percieved as spam by Google.

This is a BIG one! So you’ve got a clothing brand and you want to sell your t shirts. There’s absolutely no way you’ll ever be able to rank for the keyword ‘t shirt’ as you’ll be going against every conglomerate clothing brand ever…

What my job as an SEO specialist is, is to find an angle, a niche which can separate your t shirt/ business from the competition.

E.g. Maybe you sell ‘uv protection t shirts’ that is a niche industry, separating your products from the massive companies, essentially removing your competition.

In every industry, there is always a niche. Let’s discuss yours sometime?

The Pitfalls of Unrealistic Expectations and Impatience in SEO

Setting Realistic SEO Goals

The journey to SEO success is often marred by unrealistic expectations regarding the time frame and magnitude of results. Effective SEO requires a clear understanding that significant improvements in rankings and traffic growth are gradual and cumulative over time.


The Impact of Impatience on SEO Strategies

Impatience can lead to premature changes in strategy or abandonment of SEO efforts altogether. Recognising that SEO is a long-term investment, essential for sustainable online growth, is crucial to prevent disillusionment and ensure continued effort and resource allocation.

So before investing, please ask for realistic expectations. With increased budget, you are likely to see improvements faster. But overall the time scale all depends on:


  • The type of keywords you go for
  • The competition of your industry
  • The current state of your website (has your website been about for a while with some current SEO, or are you starting from scratch with a brand new website?)


I’ve seen keywords rank nearly instantly with high and low domain authority websites, and conversely it can also take months to achieve the desired ranking, which all comes down to the goals that you set. Typically, it takes between 3-6 months before the SEO work starts to take into effect. With each month of SEO work compounding results each month.

Strategic Misunderstandings and Outdated Practices in SEO

Tactical vs. Strategic SEO Thinking

Many SEO failures stem from a tactical approach that focuses on short-term gains rather than a comprehensive, long-term strategy. Strategic SEO involves a holistic view, considering market trends, audience behaviour, and continuous content quality improvement.


The Pitfalls of Outdated SEO Techniques

Relying on outdated SEO practices such as keyword stuffing, hidden text, or buying links can not only diminish the effectiveness of your SEO efforts but also risk penalties from search engines. Modern SEO requires adherence to current best practices that prioritise user experience, content relevance, and ethical techniques.

Technical and User Experience (UX) Issues Impacting SEO

Navigating IT Challenges

Technical issues like slow website load times, poor mobile responsiveness, and complex site architecture can severely impact SEO performance. Search engines favour sites that provide a smooth, fast, and accessible experience across all devices and platforms.

The same goes for Facebook marketing. Do you think these companies will want to send their visitors/customers to a poor user experience? No, because it will reflect badly on them.

Content and Keyword Strategy: The Pillars of SEO Success

The Role of High-Quality Content

The cornerstone of effective SEO is high-quality, relevant & useful content that meets the needs and interests of your target audience. Failure often occurs when content is thin, poorly researched, or doesn’t align with user search intent, leading to low engagement and poor rankings.


Navigating Keyword Challenges

An overemphasis on keywords, particularly through practices like keyword stuffing, can harm SEO. Conversely, neglecting keyword research and targeting can result in missed opportunities for ranking in search results. A balanced approach, focusing on long-tail keywords and content that naturally incorporates these terms, is essential for successful SEO.

Link Building Missteps and Social Media Underutilisation

The Importance of Quality Backlinks

Successful SEO strategies heavily rely on building high-quality backlinks from reputable and relevant websites. However, acquiring low-quality backlinks or participating in link schemes can negatively affect your site’s search rankings and lead to penalties from search engines.


Integrating Social Media into SEO

While social media directly impacting SEO rankings is a subject of debate, its role in driving traffic, enhancing brand visibility, and contributing to a comprehensive online presence is undeniable. Neglecting social media platforms can result in missed opportunities for content promotion, audience engagement, and potential backlink generation.

Navigating Business and Agency Relations in SEO

The success of an SEO campaign can be significantly influenced by the choice of agency or partner. Collaborating with agencies that employ questionable tactics, offer unrealistically cheap services, or fail to understand the specific needs of your business can lead to suboptimal outcomes and SEO failures.

Also, with online services, how do you know who’s actually carrying out the work on your website? An SEO company may just be attaining the leads and using another company to do the work (whitelisting). 

That’s not the way I personally would like to conduct business. I’d like to face the person I’m speaking to and know that they’re the ones whose doing my work. I think it’s a bit unethical but hey, the digital world is sneaky.

Secret: You can find out by going on LinkedIn and seeing if they’re on it or not.

So next time you’re shopping around for SEO agencies and you’re getting schmoozed by the grinning and overly friendly SEO salespeople, ask yourself:

Why have they got such a big grin? Is it because they’re going to take all of my money?

Then wipe the smile off of their face and ask:

  • Can you swear on your grandmothers grave that you’re agency will do all of the SEO work and not whitelist? (Maybe a small portion is ok, e.g. working with copywriters, just make sure that they’re not going to take advantage of you and your budget.)
  • Why are you not on LinkedIn under the company you’re serving?

Aligning SEO with Business Goals

Effective SEO requires alignment between the strategies employed by agencies and the overarching business objectives. Failures often arise when there is a disconnect between what the SEO efforts aim to achieve and the actual goals and values of the business, leading to misdirected efforts and wasted resources.

The Critical Role of Analytics and Adaptation in SEO Success

Leveraging Analytics for Informed Decision-Making

Regularly analysing SEO performance through tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console provides crucial insights that guide strategic adjustments. A common reason for SEO failure is not utilising analytics to understand user behaviour, search trends, and the efficacy of different SEO actions.


The Need for Continuous SEO Evolution

The digital landscape and search engine algorithms are constantly evolving, necessitating an adaptable SEO strategy. Businesses fail in SEO when they stick rigidly to outdated tactics without responding to new search trends, algorithm updates, or shifts in user preferences.


Understanding the reasons behind failures is crucial for turning setbacks into strategic victories. From setting realistic expectations and embracing patient, long-term planning to ensuring technical robustness and outstanding user experience, every aspect of SEO demands careful consideration and execution. Effective keyword and content strategies, prudent link-building practices, astute social media integration, and the right partnerships are pivotal in navigating the SEO landscape successfully.

Moreover, the continuous analysis of performance data and the agility to adapt to the ever-changing search engine algorithms underscore the dynamic nature of SEO. By recognising the common pitfalls and integrating comprehensive, ethical, and data-driven SEO strategies, businesses can overcome challenges and pave the way for sustained online growth and success.


SEO can fail due to a variety of reasons including unrealistic expectations, inadequate investment in resources, poor strategy execution, neglect of ongoing SEO trends, and failure to align with user search intent.

The biggest problem with SEO often lies in its complexity and the constant evolution of search engine algorithms, making it challenging for businesses to maintain high rankings consistently. If you follow ethical practices, you’ll ensure that your websites rankings remain long in the future.

If your SEO is not working, it could be due to outdated tactics, poor keyword selection, technical issues on your website, or a lack of quality content that meets the needs of your audience.

SEO is difficult because it encompasses various elements like content creation, keyword research, technical optimisation, and link building, all of which need to work in harmony to achieve success in search rankings.

Numerous factors affect SEO, including website speed, mobile-friendliness, content quality, backlink profile, and user experience, each playing a pivotal role in search engine rankings.

A bad SEO score indicates that a website does not meet the essential criteria set by search engines for quality, relevance, and user experience, often leading to lower rankings and reduced online visibility.

People often fear SEO because of its perceived complexity, the opaque nature of search engine algorithms, and the time it takes to see tangible results from SEO efforts.

Bad SEO can result in search engine penalties, decreased website traffic, tarnished brand reputation, and loss of potential revenue due to lower search rankings.

About us

At Freelance SEO Services, we specialise in providing tailored, results-driven SEO solutions. Based in the UK, our team of dedicated professionals understands the unique challenges and opportunities presented by the digital landscape. We are passionate about helping businesses of all sizes enhance their online visibility, attract more traffic, and drive growth.

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