What impact does time have on your local visibility? What happens when you stop looking for SEO? There are many things that can go wrong, and most of them are not good. Your position can change over time, just like any other thing. You may not be able to change your SEO setup in any significant way, but it exists in an environment where it can be changed without you being present.
It’s difficult to determine how much hull maintenance you should do. This is partly because it’s a combination of two different, but related questions that I get asked all the time.
- “Do I need to pay attention SEO stuff continuously?”
- “I’ve slowed down, and it seems to be showing in the rankings. What should I have done to keep up?
To each of the dueling banjos, my response is the same: You don’t need to dwell on details or make sure everything is perfect every day. Otherwise, you won’t have the energy or time to do the important stuff. If you allow certain problems to fester, they can become major problems that may consume your life.
In other words, you should be able to keep an eye on certain potential problems and not lose sight of others. This is possible only if you are aware of what to watch out for. Here are the types of dry mold that can affect your local rankings and ability bring in new business.
Big common problems:
- Broken backlinks or lost backlinks. These are inbound links that point to pages on your site that don’t exist, but were removed because of a membership or sponsorship, or any other reason. If you are unable to fix or restore the link, or if you cannot 301-redirect it, you will probably need to repeat the action that got you the link. Lost links could be a factor if your rankings have dropped over time rather than suddenly. A simple Ahrefs search will reveal what links you have lost and when.
- Lost or broken internal links. Perhaps you have renamed pages or moved them around, or simplified your site’s navigation. If pages lose too many links to other pages on your site or if the links they have from prominent pages are lost, their rankings could drop.
- Conflicting, deprecated or broken plugins (if you’re using WordPress). A caching plugin that fails to work can cause 5xx server errors, which can result in your rankings being wiped out within days. An SEO plugin (e.g. A plugin for SEO (e.g. Yoast or Rankmath, All in-One) that stops functioning can wipe out any title tags you have created or configured through the plugin. You should use as few plugins possible, but not too many. Keep any important plugins up-to-date and have a webmaster to parachute in, if necessary.
- Google Maps spammers out-of-control Google Maps isn’t very good at policing local maps, at least not in a proactive manner. It’s up to you, other honest businesses, and even competing spammers, to report and mitigate Maps spam. Otherwise it’ll just keep floating in a pool ( Caddyshack-style). Even if you keep your cool, there will always be spammy competition. If you stay away too long or zone in, their numbers could be too large for you to rank for jacksquat anytime soon.
- Broken Google Search console installation. Will this directly affect your rankings? But you won’t have crucial visibility-and-traffic data on your site when you need to troubleshoot, nor will you be able to use that intel for the kind of legwork that helps you get ahead over time.
- Automatic updates to your Google Business Profile. Google may change any information on your page, often with your consent. This information may not be accurate, or not in line with your SEO strategy. If you don’t know anything about it, there’s nothing you can do.
- Old reviews such as those where reviewers mention outdated names, services, or locations and not what’s new. It’s fine to have older reviews, even if they aren’t up-to-date. This is because it shows the track record of your company over the years. It can be a problem if you have only one review. You can confuse people and make it harder for new businesses to find you. In addition, you may not rank for terms that you might rank for. It seems that for niche or more specific terms, sometimes all you need to rank is a few Google reviews.
- Blog posts that naturally fade. You may have some localized organic rankings and even some Maps rankings because of a blog post with legs. Even visible blog posts with high traffic and a few links can fade after a few months to a few years. Although I don’t know why, I do have some theories. If you continue to add useful and appropriate links to hit posts, and if there are a few more inbound link opportunities to them every now and again, and maybe if the post is expanded or updated over time, it will likely keep it moving along.
- Use older and less precise Google Business Profile categories. Google frequently adds, modifies and removes categories. If a category is new, and it’s relevant for your business, you will likely want to use it. If you don’t, your competitors will benefit from the new category Google added.
- Competitors can override malicious Maps edits. Most of your competitors are honest and any Maps edits that they submit to your Google Business Profile are either rare or nonexistent and are not intended to harm your business. Sometimes, a competitor might try to put a sour taste in your eyes. You’ll need to know what happens so you can reject the edit and contact Google support.
- License lapses, hosting, registrar and SSL certificate. Failure to renew your domain name, SSL certificate or “https” status or licenses for plugins or other software could spell doom for your entire business.
- You may want to include your address information in your citations. Citations are automatically created based on information that a directory receives from another directory. Sometimes these sites may get your address and send it to other directories. This could be something you don’t want.
- Unsupported WordPress CMS or theme. SEO work won’t be able to go far if your website platform or theme goes unchecked.
- You or a third-party have lost permissions or access. If your login information is required to access your site, Google Business Profile, a local source of citations, or any other online property that requires login, it can either expire or you can lose it. You can’t make the changes or updates that you need when this happens.
- Plagiarists. Someone ripping off your content will usually not outrank you. On the rare occasion that you are ripped off by someone whose website has a strong link profile and is a “big-name”, then you will be out in the cold until you can do a DMCA removal. It can also be a problem if you have too many websites of different sizes and shapes lifting your content without any pushback. Even if each one is a threat individually, it can create a problem. They will rarely outrank you, but they might be on the same SERP. They will crowd you out, draw clicks, and infringe upon your rights in a way that is outrageous, egregious and preposterous.
- Broken links to your main site. There are some upsides and downsides to interlinking a few sites that you own. You must make sure that the links work or they won’t be able to help you.
- Slower crawl frequency from Google. Google won’t visit your site as often or as frequently as it used to. Google won’t know as soon if you publish something that could improve your rankings.
- Unused Google Business Profile Features. Google rarely adds features and often they are either ineffective, decorative, or retired after a few months. Google may occasionally introduce a feature that could have some influence on your Maps rankings. I’m thinking about “services,” products, and “offers.”
- No replies to reviews. I have never seen owners’ responses to reviews improve their rankings in a pinch. They don’t seem to help. But do you know how can help ranking? Getting more reviews. What is the best way to get more reviews? Appreciating customers or showing attention is a great way to get more reviews. It’s easy: Customers are more likely to leave reviews if they feel you’re paying attention. People who choose you based on your reviews and your responses are more likely to write reviews about you when they are in a position to. Reviews are the currency of the realm for them.
- Unwanted duplicate listings from citation sources. Often, you’ll find listings that you don’t need or want on different directories. They can come from many sources. If they aren’t on a site that isn’t popular, duplicate listings won’t be a problem. If they are on Yelp or Facebook, BBB, BBB or another site that is prominent in your industry, it may be a problem.
- No visibility in new directories. It has been a general trend that more local and industry directories receive a toe tag each year than a birth certificate. New sites do occasionally appear. Check out new directories that are relevant to your industry every now and again. If they begin ranking for terms youwant to rank (unless they’re paid-for and charge an insane amount), you should get on board. These directories can be useful in making someone’s life easier. They also tend to stay around long enough for them to become influential in your market. They won’t help you if they don’t list you, and you won’t be listed on them if your market isn’t looking for them.
Keep your cool. It will save you a lot of time and increase your chances of staying afloat.
Do you have any questions, first-hand experience, or points that I missed? Leave comments!