Why has SEO become so challenging?

Aside from the issue of trust in some SEO agencies, there must be an underlying reason why it is becoming more and more difficult to rank front page of Google.  Let’s dig a little deeper so that you can find out why most SEO agencies are struggling more than ever to deliver ROI results and how you can get really good at finding top SEO Canberra agencies that will deliver results.
First and foremost, it’s not always at the fault of the agency. SEO has become a mainstream marketing activity for most businesses, so if more of your competitors are now doing SEO, it’s expected that SEO and ranking front page of Google is going to be more difficult. In some cases it can be very difficult to really know if results are possible, but as mentioned, only in some cases. If an agency is upfront and honest from the start and advises there are some unknown risks, then it’s up to the customer to go head forewarned.  The only other risk left is the amount of time required to achieve desired results which is difficult to predict accurately. However you will see clearly the progress and trajectory of traffic and keyword rankings and know if your SEO agency in Canberra is on track to success.
As long as you are aware that SEO is an investment that brings reward both in new customer’s longer term (without paying for clicks) and the asset value added to your business by appearing top 3 for your top converting keywords; then you should be fine. Always have a buffer zone of at least 3 to 6 months either way.  Sometimes results are achieved much quicker than estimated and sometimes longer and in most cases achieving results does not mean the end of SEO. If there is more opportunity to continue increasing traffic and sales enquiries from new long tail keywords and increased ranking positions from existing keywords, then your SEO investment should be reviewed each month or each quarter to assess the opportunity cost of stopping SEO.  Below is the most important question you should be asking when considering how long to continue SEO for.

“What opportunities will be missed if we stop SEO now”, and not “how much longer do we need to pay for SEO”.

So far these are surface level issues on why SEO doesn’t appear to be working or why people stop SEO. Often it’s a communication breakdown on upfront expectations with

  •   how long it will take
  •   unpredictable or unknown variables
  •   how much more opportunity will be missed if we stop SEO.

Let’s now dig deeper and see the real reasons why SEO is becoming more difficult than ever before.

  1. Large SEO agencies and Algorithm updates.

Many larger SEO agencies have created processes for their production teams who specialise in specific areas of delivering the SEO service and this makes it difficult to adapt when Google changes their algorithm.  For a large SEO agency to completely retrain, upskill or even ask entire teams to innovate a new solution to a new algorithm update, can be very difficult. Often there isn’t a solution and old SEO techniques can mean an entire production team can become obsolete overnight.  The flexibility for a large SEO agency to adapt and evolve quickly to changing algorithms is extremely difficult. Back in 2014, a Google update occurred that shook the SEO community who relied heavily on a particular type of link building as their only source of building links consistently.  Literally overnight the news of this update created panic for SEO agencies who only knew one or two ways to build links. Their only choice? Continue applying outdated methods until we find a new method and don’t tell our clients. They couldn’t just stop what they were doing, they had too many staff who needed to be paid and clients couldn’t just all stop paying until we find a solution.  Unfortunately, this lead to one of the largest spikes in SEO penalties the industry has ever seen. While many SEO agencies were still implementing outdated SEO techniques, Kick Media had an ethical obligation to stop selling SEO to all new and existing clients until a solution was found. It only took us a few weeks to find a new method and we were also not relying on one method of link building at the time, so it wasn’t a risk for us.  A few months later we still had not launched our new SEO technique, why? Well a new service emerged in our industry which was keeping us very busy and was the most important SEO activity at the time. Link Removal. With so many customers trusting overseas SEO companies in india and large SEO agencies locally who continued outdated techniques, the amount of companies with SEO penalties was huge and the only requirement to get them back on track was link removal. So that’s what we did and we perfected the service of doing link removal very well.  So well in fact that we had built a reputation as the link removal experts. Does this mean you should avoid all large SEO agencies? No, it just means that the bigger the agency doesn’t mean better results, you just need to know the next few steps to ensure they can adapt to future SEO algorithm updates.

  1. Are the owners or partners or managers of the business “SEO Experts”

Do the leaders of the agency innovate new methods and solutions for SEO?  Are they
respected SEO experts and authorities amongst industry peers?  

Why is this so important?

The SEO industry is often very ego driven and in my experience staff members don’t like to give away their innovations so easily unless rewarded for it.  Unfortunate, but I have witnessed this enough times to know it is true. When an SEO agency is led by someone who is also an expert in SEO, they can rally a team more effectively to find a solution to a problem.  Elon Musk didn’t just hire rocket scientists, he learned first hand how rockets work and rallied his scientists to find landable solutions. While I’m no Elon Musk, as the CEO of Kick Media, I have had 12 years experience in the SEO industry and worked alongside some of the very best SEO experts. I then also hired one of best SEO experts I could find and made him a partner to help lead and innovate the way forward. Today we have one of the most impressive SEO strategies, processes and production teams in the country, driven by possibly the best SEO expert in the country, Chris Crawford.   We may not be landing rockets, but we are rocketing the traffic and rankings for our clients. Just see for yourself here https://kickmedia.com.au/case-studies/.

  1. Learn the number 1 secret in the SEO industry.

What is the number secret. Well you can learn about that here in our blog
The basic summary however is to ensure the majority of backlinks are relevant to your
Industry.   How? Ask your SEO agency if they are able influence the URL to include your top keywords and the anchor text to include mostly your brand name then a keyword, and for the sites publishing your backlink to be penalty free, have adequate traffic and rankings of their own.  If they can give you confidence in delivering just this, then you may have found a winning SEO agency.

  1. What about Onsite SEO

Well things have recently changed in the area of onsite SEO.  We now have access to analysis tools to achieve far better results than was previously capable.  Let me explain.
Since the early days SEO has been focused around adding keyword specific pages, metadata to all your pages, fixing broken links, redirecting pages, removing duplicate content and writing more relevant content than your competitors. While most of this remains true today, the Google AI also improved and began learning how to read text on a page with context of meaning about a topic, combined with rich media images and video to ensure website pages were relevant and provided a good user experience.
While the Google algorithm continues to refine how it determines a rich and relevant user experience, the biggest leap forward is in how we analyse statistical data of what types and how much content is needed for specific pages to compete for certain keywords in certain locations.  Onsite analysis has become so advanced that available tools now allow you to know with a high degree of accuracy exactly how much text, keywords, images, video and metadata is needed for each page to compete for the top 3 positions. How? A new blog is coming soon to explain all of this.  Keep watching here https://kickmedia.com.au/blog/

  1. Future proofing your SEO results

In some cases Onsite SEO alone can generate front page rankings, however unless you implement link building, results can be short lived. There are a few factors and considerations if you want to increase the ranking longevity of your SEO investment.

  1. Continue getting your brand mentioned and linked on industry relevant and trusted sites.
  2. Keep the rate of new links under 1% of your total traffic volume each month.
  3. Build social profiles linking to your site, GMB and other top level social profiles.
  4. Get creative on ways to increase your local brand search on Google.
  5. Continue writing blogs and new pages of content about keyword specific topics that have search volume.   
  6. Always monitor your site using SEMrush or similar tools for broken links and other errors and warnings.


It seems Google will always continue to update their algorithm to improve the user experience and to introduce new search functionality.  Some argue part of the reason is to always make it difficult for SEO agencies to manipulate the search algorithm forcing advertisers to pay for clicks and give up investing in SEO.  The truth however is that SEO agencies are too clever and will always outsmart Google in one way or another. So it’s a happy balance that Google seems to be maintaining to avoid over manipulation of page one rankings and stay at a level of difficulty that keeps businesses paying for clicks. But let’s face reality, Google has no other sources of income other than advertising, so it’s a safe bet that SEO will only continue getting more difficult. Could this mean eventually only the top SEO agencies will remain who are clever enough to continue outsmarting Google?  Maybe. All I know is that as an SEO agency, our sole focus is to never become complacent and always keep our finger on the pulse with new SEO research, testing, education and knowledge sharing in our SEO mastermind groups to find new ways to crush the front page of Google. And right now that is exactly what we are doing.