Google’s John Mueller tells a frustrated site owner sometimes there’s no SEO solution that will make a site rank better in search results.
This is stated on Reddit in a reply to a tread titled: “If I hire an SEO expert service would they be able to find out whats wrong with my website and help me improve it?”
The site owner provides further details in the thread, saying they lost all traffic to their website over six years ago.
“I just blog, I don’t do any coding or anything, I don’t do link building either,” the site owner writes.
Seeing as how they’re not actively employing any search engine optimization techniques, they’re wondering if an SEO professional could help bring their traffic back.
In a response the site owner may not want to hear, Mueller says SEO won’t help in all cases.
What Do You Mean SEO Won’t Help?
Considering the website in question lost its traffic six years ago, and it still has’t recovered, Mueller says SEO might not help.
That’s not because of Google penalties or technical issues, as they can be remedied with SEO.
Mueller suggests this website’s strategy may now 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.”
A website’s strategy may grow stale for any number of reasons, many of which are outside the site’s control.
As Mueller says, life evolves significantly in six years’ time. That’s long enough for topics to lose relevancy and information to become outdated.
If a website publishes content that people no longer care about, no amount of SEO is going to help it.
The same goes for websites that sell old products, as Mueller gives an example of a website selling VHS tapes.
A site could be following every SEO best practice, but it doesn’t matter if no one’s looking for 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 uncommon for Googlers to dissuade people from seeking assistance with SEO, which makes Mueller’s comment on the Reddit thread notable.
This is an important angle to consider at times. If a site keeps losing traffic despite your best efforts, is it an issue with SEO or is the world moving on?