10 Biggest SEO Challenges And How To Overcome Them

SEO is all about ranking on the first page of search engines for keywords that drive customers to your business.

But where you rank on the first page could be the difference between making $10,000 to $100,000 a month.

According to a study conducted by Chitika a few years ago, it found that the #1 listing on Google’s organic search result got an average of 32% of the traffic.

Chitika Google position study

Imagine your target keyword receives 10,000 monthly searches, it means you could be getting 3,200 visits per month if you rank #1 for that keyword alone.

Don’t get super-excited yet. Ranking #1 for any worthwhile keyword comes with a lot of tough challenges. Overcoming these challenges is your job as an internet marketer.

In this article, you’ll discover the biggest SEO problems and the best ways to tackle them.

So what are the biggest SEO challenges today?

SEO Challenge #1: Getting A Natural, Editorial Backlink With Optimized Anchor Text

Moz did a study to find if backlinks remain the most important ranking factor on Google.

What they found was interesting:

They found that 99.2% of all top 50 results had at least one backlink pointing to the website, and 77.8% of top results had at least one external link pointing to the page.

Google relies on links

Google relies heavily on links when ranking websites.

You have a slim chance of ranking high on Google without backlinks.

Now that you know backlinks are important to ranking on Google, the challenge is that you can’t just go out there and start getting any backlink. You could easily get penalized by Google if you do that.

So what should you do?

Go for high-quality, hard-to-get backlinks. These are links you get from high authority sites in your niche.

Examples of high authority sites are Forbes, Huffington Post, Mashable, and the Wall Street Journal.

These sites have been providing quality information on the web for a very long time. Google automatically trust any website that gets links from them.

Google favors this type of link because it’s not so easy to get.

So how can you get editorial links from high authority websites?

You’ll have to be creative, funny, unique, timely, helpful, and sometimes, controversial to get this kind of link.

You should develop relationships with writers who regularly publish on these authority websites.

If you can get their attention and help them in some way, there’s a high chance that they will link to your site in one of their articles.

How can you help writers on authority sites?

It could be writing a complete interesting article and giving it to them for free.

It could be helping them find a source for their next story.

It could be commenting on their articles and providing valuable feedback.

Think of something that could help you get their attention and build a relationship with them. This is the easiest way to get links from authoritative websites in your niche.

SEO Challenge #2: Outranking A Competitor With A Stronger And Natural Link Profile

Let’s assume your target keyword is “forex broker” and you want to rank number one for that term on Google search results.

How can you do it?

Note that the keyword “forex broker” receives an average of 6,600 searches per month and advertisers are willing to pay as high as $14.30 per click for that keyword.

high competitive keyword

By typing this keyword into the Google search engine, you’ll see established sites like FXPro, Investopedia, and Alpari currently ranking on the first page.

These sites have strong backlink profiles, and it would be difficult to outrank them, but it is possible.

Google SERPs for the keyword

The first step is not to directly compete with these established sites for the keyword “forex broker.”

Instead, you should find lower competitive keywords that are related to Forex. Doing this would help you get some valuable traction in the Forex niche.

You could focus on competing on long tail keywords like “best forex broker for beginners” and “best trading platform for beginners.”

The second step is to check their page backlinks. Tools like Ahrefs and Majestic would help you with this.

If the numbers and quality of their backlinks are something you can match, then you can proceed to compete.

For example, if your competitors have an average of 100 backlinks from 50 referring domains. If you think you can do more than that within a period of time, then you should compete with them.

By gaining more backlinks over a period of time, you’ll be able to oust your competitor from the number 1 position on Google.

The third step is to check your competitors’ on-page SEO strategy.

Do they have the target keyword in their titles and meta descriptions?

Do they have the keyword in their H2 tags?

Do they have the keyword in their image ALT attributes?

Sometimes, your competitor may not be aggressive targeting a keyword. You can take advantage of that by making your on-page SEO better than your competitors.

The fourth step is to see how your competitors are building links and try to replicate those links to boost your web pages.

Are your competitors guest blogging?

Are they sponsoring events or conferences?

You have to start doing that better and more than your competitors.

The fifth step is to scan your competitors’ social accounts and monitor their mentions.

Search for their names on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to see how they are participating in discussions.

You can join those discussions for the purpose of driving traffic back to your site and getting more social shares.

SEO Challenge #3: Generating Unique Content For A Large Ecommerce Site

Let’s assume you have an e-commerce site like Zappos. With thousands of products, each product needs its own page. So, you’ll have to write a unique description for each product on your site. This is a big SEO challenge.

Zappos SEO challenge

Creating unique content for each product is a tough task. Some products are related and could use the same description, but don’t copy and paste the same description for similar products.


If you do that, the site would be at risk of Panda, a Google penalty which penalizes sites with duplicate and thin contents. Each page on your site must have its own unique content.

How do you deal with this challenge?

The best solution is to hire experts who are knowledgeable about the products.

Experts can quickly write unique descriptions for each product. They know the products inside out compared to an SEO who knows little of the product and how it works.

Hiring experts would enable you to concentrate your effort and time doing things you know how to do best.

Another simple solution is to combine similar products into a single page. This is even better as it saves you time and resources.

Here’s a perfect illustration of what I’m talking about on a Zappos product:

Zappos SEO

As you can see, Zappos lets you select different sizes of a clothing item on the same page. This is better than creating separate pages for different sizes of the same item.

SEO Challenge #4: Pushing Down Negative Results About Your Business

Back in 2014, Matthew Woodward wrote about his dissatisfaction with WP Engine, a managed WordPress hosting service.

The post garnered over 500 comments on his blog. It was well received, and many bloggers moved their sites away from WP Engine as a result of the post. It was a big blow to the reputation of WP Engine.

negative review

A negative review like this could prevent you from hosting with WP Engine.

Back then when Matthew published the negative review on his blog, it ranked high on Google. I can remember coming across the post a few times while searching for something related to web hosting.

But today, when you type the keyword “WP Engine review” you won’t find Matthew’s article on the first page. The SEOs at WP Engine did a good job pushing down the negative review in search results.

When you plug “WP Engine review” into the Google search box, this is what you’re likely to see:

positive review in serps

As an internet marketer, you must push up positive reviews about your business and push down negative reviews.

How can you do that?

There is 2-step process you have to follow:

  1. Create a lot of positive contents about your brand
  2. Get a lot of backlinks to your positive contents

By following this 2-step process, you’ll quickly push down negative results about your brand.

Another thing you can do is to contact writers who wrote the negative reviews and get them to remove their negative contents about your business. This could be giving them incentives or providing them with better service to get those bad reviews removed.

SEO Challenge #5: Creating Unique Contents That Easily Generate Links And Stand Out In SERPs

These days, it’s hard to talk about SEO without mentioning content marketing.

In fact, the days of aggressive link building is over.

These days you need contents to build valuable backlinks.

Here’s proof from Google Trends:

content marketing

Google Trends show that the phrase “link building” is slowly dying while “content marketing” is increasing.

To rank high on Google, you need to create unique, high-quality contents that make link building easy. Therefore, SEOs need to incorporate content marketing into their skill set.

SEOs need to know how to recognize a high-quality content when they see one. An SEO should also know how to create better high-quality contents.

A high-quality content should be original and different from everything else out there.

A high-quality content should have a strong headline and be actionable.

A high-quality content should also be engaging and thought-provoking.
If your content isn’t making readers leave comments on the page and share it with their friends, then it’s not a high-quality content.

So, as an SEO, you should regularly be creating contents influencers, readers and linkers would want to see in your niche.

For example, Brian Dean wrote a complete list of 200 Google ranking factors. Before this post was published, no one was able to write up to 200. Many tried and stopped below 110.

By making the list up to 200, Brian’s post received a lot of links and social shares. He was able to turn his blog into a business that makes 5-figures per month as a result.

SEO Challenge #6: Promoting Your Contents To Influencers And Linkers

Simply creating high-quality contents is not enough to crack the first page of search engines.

You need to promote your content to influencers and linkers. This is a major challenge for many SEOs.

The truth is if you’re not promoting your contents, there’s absolutely no way it will get those valuable links you want.

So how do you promote your content to get links and shares?

There are many ways to do this:

You could ask an influencer for a killer quote you can include in your content.

Another effective strategy for getting links and shares is to mention influencers in your post and let them know after the post is published. This would help you get the attention of influencers who may share it with their followers on Twitter and even link to it in their blog posts.

SEO Challenge #7: Building Brand Recognition In An Industry

Let’s assume you want to buy prescription eyeglasses, so you turn to Google and type “prescription eyeglasses” into the Google search box.

When Google returned results, you can see sites like Frames Direct and 39dollarglasses.com.

Then deep down on the same search result, you can see brands like Ray-Ban and Warby Parker.

Tell me, who would you patronize?

I haven’t heard of 39dollarglasses.com and Frames Direct, and it’s unlikely I will buy from them.

Ray-Ban has spent years building their brand. Warby Parker is right up there too. I think I can buy from these brands because I’ve heard of them many times before.

You can use SEO to build up your brand and get your name out there and build a winning brand.


It’s by creating valuable contents that target your ideal customers.

You must also ensure that you’re doing this on a consistent basis.

Brand building with SEO

Pick a topic that relates to your business, and write dozens of contents around that topic.

For example, Neil Patel is regarded as one of the to internet marketing consultants. Neil has been creating valuable contents on a regular basis on the Quick Sprout blog for over eight years now.

In fact, he started another marketing blog at NeilPatel.com.

By regularly publishing high-quality contents, Neil was able to build his personal brand.

SEO Challenge #8: Using Social Media To Boost Your SEO Efforts

Today, link building alone may not deliver that first page rankings. And if link building alone lands you in the number one position for your target keyword, it only tells Google that something isn’t right with your backlink profile. That immediately puts you at risk of a Google penalty.

Normally, a page with a lot of backlinks should also have some real social shares on Twitter, Facebook and maybe Instagram.

Therefore, a solid presence on social media is very important for your SEO strategy.

This is a big challenge many marketers face:

They find it difficult to combine their SEO efforts with social media.

Social shares may not directly influence rankings, but it tells Google a lot about your backlink profile.

If you want to build a natural backlink profile, do yourself a favor by becoming active on various social channels where your target audience hangs out.

Make an effort to grow your follower base on Facebook, Twitter and others that are relevant to your business.

Sites that have social pages with high-quality followers rank better in search results.

SEO Challenge #9: Implementing The Right SEO Tactic

There are over a hundred SEO strategies on the web.

Brian Dean published “21 Actionable SEO Techniques You Can Use Right Now” on the Backlinko blog.

SEO techniques

That blog post was interesting and educating. But what Brian didn’t say in that post is that you don’t need a lot of SEO tactics to succeed in SEO.

You only need to rely on a few SEO strategies to achieve success with SEO. Jumping from one SEO strategy to another is a sure recipe for failure.

Choose one or two SEO strategy and focus your efforts on making them work for you.

SEO Challenge #10: Working With A New Domain Name With Zero Links

The last biggest SEO challenge is building a website from the scratch with a brand new domain name.

New domains lack trust and authority that is required to rank on the first page of Google.

It doesn’t really matter if your website is well-optimized and has an amazing website design, search engines won’t automatically give you a stamp of approval.

What should you do?

You should gradually build high-quality links and create fantastic contents over and over again. Then you should be willing to wait for at least six months before your site starts seeing a lot of traffic from search engines.

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  1. GAURAV KUMAR June 13, 2016
  2. Anil Agarwal July 4, 2016