SEO Strategy: When It’s Time To Change Course

changing course with seo strategy

Every single business, organization and person with a website can improve their search engine optimization game.

There is no summit (and that’s a good thing).

But what if your SEO efforts are simply not working? It’s a familiar story for many folks.

You pour huge amounts of time and money into SEO campaigns over months/years and have little to show for it.

Instead of a healthy, positive line in your analytics, you see a haunting horizontal one (or worse, diving).

Yes, SEO takes time. But, that doesn’t mean you have to stand around and wait for rain.

In this post, I’ll guide you through just a few signs it’s time to change course with your SEO strategy.

1) Declining or Flat Traffic Over Time

This is the most obvious place to start. While a no-brainer, it’s surprising how far removed many companies/individuals are from their organic search traffic numbers.

When was the last time you looked? You’re likely using Google Analytics and/or another website analytics tool. Start there. If not, you have work to do.

Look at your organic search traffic over the past 2 years (or however long the site has been live if less). What do you see while taking seasonality and other major factors into account? How about the past year? 6 months?

If organic search traffic is declining/flat, it’s time to ask yourself some basic questions.

  • Is my site actively cared for and updated?
  • Do we regularly publish and promote quality, demand-driven content?
  • When was the last time a technical audit or check-up has been done for my site?
  • What has changed in the general SEO environment during this time period? Competitor changes?
  • Have new technologies/developments been taken advantage of? (E.g. AMP)

Get answers. Ask more questions. Then, use the resources at your disposal to resolve any critical tech/content issues, improve upon what you already have and smartly build into the future.

Remember, good SEO isn’t about adding secret sauce later. It’s about building it in. Consistently educate yourself, execute change, test ideas and improve across your entire operation.

To get you started, if you’re convinced your SEO “sucks,” here’s a short and sweet resource to help you fix it:

marketing school banner

Neil Patel and Eric Siu give some of the most actionable advice around in their podcast, Marketing School. This episode discusses on-page SEO, keyword research and much more to help grow your organic search traffic.

 2) Low-Quality Traffic

SEO is about far more than driving visitors to a site.

For example, you can drive thousands of daily visits to a company blog, but if that traffic does not effectively move qualified visitors down your sales funnel, it’s more for bragging rights than anything else.

Is the search traffic coming to your site producing acceptable results? If not, again, it’s time to ask some questions.

  • What pages/content on my site convert the best? And what are the associated keywords driving organic traffic there?
  • What new topics can we go after and capitalize on?

If you don’t subscribe to any SEO software to help with this, a great first step in gauging your traffic quality is to use Google Search Console. Check out the “Search Analytics” section within “Search Traffic” and see what queries are bringing people to your site via clicks. If many of your clicks are coming from irrelevant queries compared to your core business, it’s no wonder the traffic isn’t producing results.

Next, check out your Google Analytics account for info on conversions, goal completions, paths to purchase, etc.

Begin an iterative process to continuously drive more SEO AND business results.

If something if awry, it should stand out pretty quickly.

3) Outdated Strategy

When was the last time you sat down to think through your SEO strategy?

Even if traffic is steady, have you adapted to new changes happening in Google and other platforms? The rise of mobile and voice search, for example?

If not, or you’re just getting started, let’s tackle what an SEO strategy is.

An SEO strategy is a formulated process and vision for producing results from organic search, including involvement from other teams and external parties.

While an SEO strategy can serve as a “north star,” smart SEOs approach the job like a scientist: hypothesizing and testing promising ideas. Therefore, making their strategy more of a living, breathing process rather than a stale document. Does your current strategy reflect this?

Furthermore, it’s important to ground yourself with some sort of overarching 6-12 month strategy to maintain focus and ensure you are working toward your unique goals.

It’s also essential to remember that SEO in an organization is a team effort. Your strategy is only as good as your team’s ability/willingness to execute.

Finally, here’s a great resource from Moz on SEO strategy in 2017 to get you started:


completing fixes to your seo strategy






In summary, your SEO strategy should be a dynamic, yet calculated part of your digital marketing efforts. Clear signs it’s time to change course are…

1) Declining or Flat Traffic Over Time
2) Low-Quality Traffic
3) Outdated Strategy

Bonus signs:

4) Disregard for User Experience and Journey
5) Lack of Focus on Mobile vs. Desktop
6) Pure Keyword Focus vs. Intent
7) Disregard for Search Platforms Other than Google, Foreign Countries (if applicable) and Other Untapped Areas

What other red flags do you see when it comes to SEO strategy?


Author: Ryan Hansen

I am an SEO and digital marketing professional based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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