Have you been doing search engine optimization (SEO) for your website for 6 months, but still aren’t seeing desired results? Don’t lose hope! Here are 7 tactics you can try if your site isn’t ranking despite ongoing efforts.
SEO can take time to make an impact, but 6 months of effort should produce at least minor improvements. If you aren’t noticing your target keywords moving up the ranks or increased organic traffic, something in your strategy likely needs to be reworked.
I’ll share 7 smart SEO troubleshooting tips to help get better results, even if you feel stuck in the same place rank-wise. With some adjustments and extra effort put into problem areas, you can get back on track towards that coveted first page listing.
Conduct an In-Depth Competitor Analysis
Research what your top-ranking rivals are doing SEO-wise that may be giving them an edge. Look beyond just their content themes and topics; analyze technical elements like:
- On-page optimization
- Internal linking structures
- Page speed
- Link building strategies
- Schema markup
Compare their approach to yours to identify where the gaps are. Fixing deficiencies can give you a needed boost, so don’t ignore the competitor completely outpacing you.
Check for Algorithm Penalties
Have you violated Google’s webmaster guidelines lately without realizing it? If so, manual or algorithmic penalties may be preventing you from ranking well.
Run your site through various free detection tools like Google Search Console, Moz’s Link Explorer, SEMrush’s Site Audit tool, etc. Scan carefully for messages about manual spam actions, hidden text/links, or other shady SEO tactics.
If penalties exist, remove violating content fast and file reconsideration requests. Lifting penalties can take a while, but allows your cleaned-up pages to regain rankings over time.
Refine On-page Optimization
On-page SEO establishes relevance and authority to influence rankings. After 6 months, do your pages still contain:
✔ Comprehensive, well-researched 2,000+ word content?
✔ Target keywords in strategic places like:
- Page titles
- Section headings (H2, H3 tags)
- Opening paragraphs
- Image file names/ALT text
- Meta descriptions
- URL slugs
✔ Properly formatted HTML headings (don’t skip H1 straight to H2)
✔ Effective internal linking to pass relevance between related pages
✔ Optimized page speed by minimizing HTTP requests, enabling compression, etc?
If you skimped on any of these on-page elements, strengthen them ASAP. Optimize each page targeting a main keyword phrase for best results.
Build More Quality Backlinks
Link building should run continuously alongside other SEO efforts. Backlinks indicate other reputable sites consider your content authoritative enough to reference.
Shoot for at least 80-100 referring domains (not just a couple links) after 6 months. Reach out for backlink opportunities like:
✔ Industry roundups/lists
✔ Relevant blog posts from mid-tier sites
✔ Interviews on popular niche podcasts
✔ Contribute quotes to mainstream media publications
✔ Get cited as an expert source by reporters
✔ Guest blog posts with high domain/page authority sites
Choose link prospects wisely – spammy or low-quality links can actually damage your rankings. Most importantly, ensure referral content exists as natural recommendations of your expertise/content, not paid posts or artificial links.
Fix Technical SEO Snags
Sometimes page rank struggles stem from preventable technical difficulties like:
- Site indexing issues
- Duplicate pages or content
- Pages blocked to search bots
- Broken backlinks causing 404 errors
- Site down time from server outages
- Invalid structured data markup
- Slow page load speeds
Dig into your site’s technical health to diagnose and resolve vulnerabilities dragging you down. Tackling these tech problems directly eliminates huge ranking roadblocks.
Keep Producing Epic Content
Don’t stop creating awesome content that deserves rankings, even if you don’t see quick returns yet. Demonstrate your commitment to readers by publishing new, relevant blog posts and videos multiple times per month.
Incorporate target keywords within naturally flowing content focused on answering people’s questions around your topic. Lengthy, comprehensive posts generally fare best in search.
Stay persistent – you may just need a few more excellent, share-worthy articles to tip the scales with Google.
Seek Professional Help
If you still aren’t making progress after exhausting the above tactics for a few months, consider hiring an expert SEO consultant.
A seasoned specialist can spot issues you might’ve overlooked and suggest alternative strategies based on extensive ranking experience. While pricey, their insights and oversight just might shake up stagnant results.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions around struggling with rankings after an initial 6 month SEO period:
How long until I can expect to see results from SEO efforts?
- Major ranking improvements often take 6-12 months. Build patience and persist in your optimization and content efforts.
What if Google dropped my rankings after an update?
- Algorithm updates cause flux, but ratings tend to stabilize after a couple months. Keep producing quality content targeting searcher intent rather than playing SEO tricks.
Is more link building always better?
- Focus first on earning links naturally from reputable sites actually interested in your content – quality over quantity. Avoid buying links or aggressively manipulating anchor text ratios. Moderation is wise.
Should I change domain names and start SEO over?
- Before such a drastic move, first troubleshoot other ranking factors like on-page optimization, content, and backlinks. Domain authority transfers over time. Stick it out if your domain isn’t overly problematic.
Give these 7 troubleshooting tips a dedicated effort before fully giving up hope after 6 months of SEO struggles. Optimize technical flaws, freshen content, diversify backlink sources, and dig into your competitor’s winning tactices. With targeted adjustments to underperforming areas, your site can regain its search visibility and start climbing upwards.
Stay determined even if progress seems slow initially – the long game of SEO inevitably pays off for websites providing genuine value to their readership. Consistently useful content paired with smart promotion will earn recognition in relevant search results over time.
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About The Author: Kunal Pandit is a marketing professional with over 20 years of extensive experience in the telecom industry in India. Holding an MBA degree from Symbiosis, Pune, Kunal has occupied senior management positions in sales and marketing domains. For the last three years, Kunal has been successfully running his own digital marketing and business consulting company.