You believe you understand SEO very well. You’ve spent a lot of time and money learning your craft and have witnessed many successful SEO projects meeting their goals. You feel invincible like you could achieve any SEO project goal. But lately, over the last year or so, you’re seeing more and more of your projects stuck on page two of Google. When someone brings a project to our attention that is stuck on page two in Google, we begin by doing a full Technical SEO audit and cleanup before doing anything else.

The worst part about this is that you are implementing the very same strategies that have gotten you success in the past. Now it is not working as well as it used to.

I think we have all got too tangled up in SEO in applying and adding pieces to the SEO puzzle. What we are witnessing more and more these days is that Google is looking more for reasons to not rank a webpage high in the search engine. I like to think of this as SEO is like a car. The on-page SEO is really the design and efficiency of the engine, the off-page SEO or backlinks are the fuel. The new developments from Google are synonymous with the brakes. It doesn’t matter how good your engine is or how much fuel you have, if the brakes are on, you are not going to get very far.

So what are some of the things that can hold your website back, the things that keep the brake on?

Here are some of those causes:

  • Toxic or low-quality backlinks
  • Keyword cannibalisation
  • A high percentage of weak or irrelevant links
  • Excessive 404 errors
  • Slow loading speeds
  • Pages not displaying properly on Mobile devices
  • A high percentage of de-indexed backlinks
  • Weakly optimised on-page SEO
  • Lack of expertise, authority and trust
  • Sitemap errors
  • Page quality discrepancies
  • External duplicate content
  • Excessive broken links

These are just some of the things that if present, may cause a webpage to be stuck for months on page two. What makes things more confusing is also the time element. If the page you are trying to improve visibility for is young, it may not be mature enough to compete with other aged webpages. If you have implemented positive SEO signals to a specific page, it may also be that you need to give Google time to process and reward you for your efforts.

When you get stuck on page two, patience is required and it’s also worth performing a technical SEO audit to make sure your webpages and website as a whole are of high quality.