The Greatest Challenges & Threats in SEO - Searchlite

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This month's Searchlite intro written by SEO Analyst & Copywriter, Skye Sonnega.


The leaves are changing, pumpkin patches are bustling, and the first signs of frost are in the air. Did someone say… spooky season? Yep, it’s October, and big surprise, the search world is moving faster than ever!

It’s been an exciting past month for Uproer. Did you know four of our employees graduated from St. Olaf College? To get filled in on the inside jokes, we felt it was only right to take a team trip down to campus in Northfield, MN. We enjoyed dinner down by the Cannon River and took in the gorgeous fall weather. 

people walking towards building.

Speaking of college, Uproer's Abby Reimer wrote an article on navigating the transition from school to work. While it is an exciting time, we know that it can also be completely nerve wracking. Abby asked team members to share what they learned from entering the workforce. Read their responses here!

Ever wondered what fellow SEOs are saying about the biggest threats in the industry? Do you want to learn how to write a signpost article like a champ? We have some great picks this month to help you stay up to date on the ever changing world of SEO. Let’s dive in!

Greatest Challenges & Threats in SEO 

by Shelley Walsh, for Search Engine Journal

Key Takeaways: 

  • While budget cuts were the main source of struggle for SEOs in the past 12 months, clients eventually treated the decreases in customers and traffic as an opportunity to invest more heavily in SEO strategies. 
  • The 2021 Google Algorithm Updates have caused significant disruption in SEO strategies. Google has also put more emphasis on the “health” of a site, which makes it even more difficult to execute a well-rounded SEO strategy within budget. 
  • SEO results are getting exponentially better, which could be semi-related to the 40% increase in global internet traffic levels. 

Why it Matters:

The challenges and threats addressed in these survey results do not reveal impending doom for the industry. While challenges will always exist when trying to navigate the inner-workings of search engines, the demand for SEO has never been higher. With the world moving more online, the need for SEOs has become increasingly more prevalent. Finding and training talent that can navigate and predict these threats is the next big step for any agency or in-house brand focusing on SEO.

Core Web Vitals are a Measurable Ranking Factor 

by Johannes Beus, for Sistrix

Key Takeaways: 

  • Page experience is now officially a ranking factor
  • That said, it doesn’t appear to be a big ranking factor
  • Addressing Core Web Vitals could measurably impact rankings, especially for sites that score poorly

Why it Matters:

Our stance has largely been that Google’s Page Experience update has received more hype than it deserves. While we’re big fans of improving user experience by way of faster, leaner sites, we’ve been skeptical of just how big the impact Core Web Vitals would be on rankings.

According to Sistrix, the impact is measurable but not huge. Interestingly, sites with poor Core Web Vitals lost more visibility (3.7%) than sites with good Core Web Vitals gained (1%). In other words, there are likely diminishing returns after a site’s Core Web Vitals go from bad to average. If your site has poor Core Web Vitals scores, consider investing in the improvements needed to go from bad to decent. Doing so could offer a modest boost to rankings and even improve conversion rate.

Signpost Articles Can Point Users in the Right Direction 

by Jessica Girardi, for Uproer

Key Takeaways: 

  • Signpost articles are hubs that can house multiple high search volume spokes. They engage users in a way that’s similar to a textbook, where a blurb of information is present and users can navigate to helpful information that can create a full picture of the topic.
  • Signpost articles have been proven successful in multiple instances, especially for learning and education websites. They can be useful in rebuffing the Maker SERP Squeeze - H/T to Russ Jones.
  • If you’re using a traditional hub and spoke model, you’ve already got the bones of a strong signpost article format.

Why it Matters:

Content can be hard to wrap your head around, especially as a content producer. When creating long form guides or how-tos that work for everyone, the goal is to get the user to the end of the suite of content, but without Signpost articles that collate these essential pieces, you have to rely on smart, creative internal linking, which isn’t always eye-catching. You run the risk of users seeking information about your product or service elsewhere. Trying out signpost content is a great way to connect users to your content and ease the process of internal linking.

The Short & Long Term Ranking Impact of Removing Long & Fluff E-Commerce Category Descriptions 

by Glenn Gabe, for G-Squared Interactive

Key Takeaways: 

  • This case study finds that long-form “fluff” content on ecommerce category pages, a popular SEO tactic for many years, loses out to better-quality short-form content.  
  • Glenn recommends a testing approach, rather than taking down all of your long-form content at once.
  • Be aware that you may need to wait until a broad core algorithm update to evaluate the effects of your shorter category page content.

Why it Matters:

Despite Google broadcasting to the contrary, SEOs have seen success for years with the “more is better” approach to content optimization. However, this case study highlights the opportunity cost of blindly following that assumption.

Usability should be a top priority for any ecommerce company (and not just an SEO priority). Long-form “fluff” content may be less valuable to your business than short-form content that your audience actually engages with. That engagement might drive bigger SEO gains than the sheer quantity of content on the page. Test for yourself!

The Impact of Accessibility on SEO 

by UserWay

Key Takeaways: 

  • Prioritizing accessibility provides better site structures.
  • Improvements in accessibility must go beyond ways that improve SEO ranking. 
  • AI-powered software is a great tool but not the only way to ensure accessible digital experiences.  

Why it Matters:

Many touchpoints of life have moved virtually. Ensuring that digital spaces are accessible is vital not only for the user experience but your ranking as well. If a site reader can not navigate your pages, you are not prioritizing your information. Why does that matter? Having poor site navigation not only excludes consumers but also exposes the need for a strong SEO strategy. It's important to remember that Google crawls like a human; accessibility prioritizes information making your relevance clear.

Other Interesting Stories:

Free Tool(s) of the Month: 

Use the Panguin Tool for free to help determine whether your site has been impacted by all Google algorithm updates. This tool allows you to view your GA data overlaid by historic algorithm events to create an interactive timeline of site performance.

Skye Sonnega

Skye Sonnega

Skye got her start in SEO and digital marketing while interning for a startup in 2020. At Uproer, she pioneered the SEO Analyst + Copywriter position and is the company’s first internal copywriter. After transitioning to a more SEO-focused position, she is passionate about finding ways to improve the way Uproer approaches content production.

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SearchLite - Don't Sleep on Category Page Content

This month’s SearchLite intro was written by Content Manager, Skye Sonnega Hey everyone, We recently livened up this dull Minnesota winter with two fantastic additions to the Uproer team! Eric Davison joined as a Senior SEM Analyst, and Jenny Hudalla joined as a Content Specialist. These folks are bright, hardworking, Minnesota-local, and coming in

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Sr. Manager, SEO & Operations

Dave Sewich

Dave made an accidental foray into digital marketing after graduating from the University of Minnesota Duluth and hasn’t looked back. Having spent the first part of his marketing journey brand-side, he now works with the Uproer team to help clients realize their goals through the lens of search.

When not at work, you’ll find Dave staying active and living a healthy lifestyle, listening to podcasts, and enjoying live music. A Minnesotan born and raised, his favorite sport is hockey and he still finds time to skate once in a while.

Dave’s DiSC style is C. He enjoys getting things done deliberately and systematically without sacrificing speed and efficiency. When it comes to evaluating new ideas and plans, he prefers to take a logical approach, always sprinkling on a bit of healthy skepticism for good measure. At work, Dave’s happiest when he has a chance to dive deep into a single project for hours at a time. He loves contributing to Uproer and being a part of a supportive team but is most productive when working solo.

Founder & CEO

Griffin Roer

Griffin discovered SEO in 2012 during a self-taught web development course and hasn’t looked back. After years of working as an SEO consultant to some of the country’s largest retail and tech brands, Griffin pursued his entrepreneurial calling of starting an agency in May of 2017.

Outside of work, Griffin enjoys going to concerts and spending time with his wife, two kids, and four pets.

Griffin’s DiSC style is D. He’s driven to set and achieve goals quickly, which helps explain why he’s built his career in the fast-paced agency business. Griffin’s most valuable contributions to the workplace include his motivation to make progress, his tendency towards bold action, and his willingness to challenge assumptions.