When it comes to making a site rank better, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller admits that sometimes SEO might not be the means to do it...
The time was 7th July, the place was Reddit or more specifically a thread created by a frustrated site owner entitled “If I hire an SEO expert service would they be able to find out what’s wrong with my website and help me improve it?”
A read through the initial post reveals the problem in a little more depth.
The poster states that over six years ago now, they lost all traffic to their site and, sounding like a person at the very end of their tether the owner goes on to say:
“I just blog, I don’t do any coding or anything, I don’t do link building either.”
Mueller stepped up with a response that the site owner may not necessarily want to hear because his response was this...
SEO won’t help in all cases.
A wake up call for those who think SEO is always the answer
It isn’t, not always. Looking at the facts from this particular example, the site lost traffic a considerable time ago (six years) and still hasn’t recovered, the Google advocate says that SEO might not help.
The cynical among us might assume the reason to be Google penalties or technical issues but both those factors can be remedied through SEO.
Mueller offered a different reason, that the site’s strategy itself may be obsolete:
“One of the things to keep in mind is that it’s possible that there’s just no SEO solution. 6 years is a long time, and the web + Google News + everything around it has evolved quite a bit.
Sometimes it’s not a technical issue, sometimes it’s not something you can fix by just “buying a bunch of links”, sometimes it’s just that the site strategy is now obsolete.”
Noteworthy words of advice
It is a brave point to make but a valid one; a website’s strategy may stagnate for a number of reasons, many of them outside the owner’s control, times change and life evolves. It is easy to see how information can quickly become outdated or how topics lose their relevance.
If a site is sharing that information or those outdated topics, or even selling old products (Mueller mentions VHS tapes as an example) even the best SEO in the world isn’t going to help if no one is bothering to look at it.
“You can have a fantastic website, make it super-fast, have “high authority & trustworthiness” (however you want to define that), but if you’re selling VHS cassettes, you’re going to have a bad time. It’s more obvious when there’s a physical product involved, but if content is your product, it applies just as well.”
It’s a rare thing for one of Google’s own to dissuade anyone from seeking help with SEO; this makes John Mueller’s comments noteworthy and an important factor to keep in mind.
If a website continues to lose traffic, is it down to the well trodden reasons linked to SEO, or is the modern world simply leaving it behind..?