If you are increasingly frustrated about the decline in your search rankings and search engine traffic, you are not alone. Here are some possible reasons why:
1. You hired the wrong SEO company.
If you do any kind of research on SEO you will be familiar with the buzzwords "blogging," "content marketing," "social media" and the like. Those terms will be used against you by unethical SEO companies. They might have a nice website, and offer those services by name, but that is absolutely no indication of whether or not they can deliver targeted traffic and leads. Knowing that, however is no defense against a smooth salesperson who is offering a complex service that is an enigma to most non-technical business people. How do you choose a service provider then? I would recommend doing so completely based on a referral from a trusted source who has actually used SEO services in a similar industry to yours. If you don't know anyone now, there are probably professional networking opportunities in your local area that can get you together with the right people.
2. You are paying for advertising that is counterproductive to SEO efforts.
The biggest headaches I've had recently when working on clients' rankings have been fighting marketing companies they hired who use crawlable call tracking numbers on their directory listings. I won't mention any names... ok I will: YP. And to be fair Yelp too. Having a consistent NAP (business Name, Address, and Phone) across your Internet business listings is extremely important to good local search performance, "Mis-match NAP / Tracking Phone Numbers Across Data Ecosystem" has been named the second most important negative ranking factor in 2015 by a panel of SEO experts. Even so, marketing companies will use these call tracking numbers that damage your rankings, so they can attempt to show you the value of their services. They will not only change your business phone number to their call tracking number on their websites, but also on their partner websites, which can be as important a listing as Yahoo directory. I even had "a Google user" try to change my client's Google My Business listing phone number to a YP call tracking number. I wonder who would do that?
3. You aren't implementing the SEO recommendations.
If you have an SEO audit done, or are getting regular analysis and recommendations from your SEO specialist, AND you are currently not ranking where you need to be to pull in valuable traffic, you should consider approving all recommendations, or continue to be a "cellar dweller" in your target SERPs (search engine results pages). Search is extremely competitive, and if you have a lot of work to be done, you need to get to it.
4. You don't have the budget.
This is probably the main reason that #3 is an issue - you have a limited budget for SEO. Often natural search traffic is looked upon as "free traffic" (kind of like "free money"). That may have been somewhat true 10 or more years ago, but today SERPS are highly competitive and you can be sure that if there is a money search term out there, people are spending to get their websites to rank in it. SEO isn't a magic bag of tricks that if you know them, you can effortlessly apply to a website and rocket it up in the rankings. Although thorough knowledge and experience of this complex subject is required, so is a lot of hard work and elbow grease (AKA billable hours).
5. Google doesn't want you to.
Google has been taking over the natural results for years. Why? If your business doesn't rank well organically, there is a much greater chance you will pay for their Adwords program. Adwords is how Google makes money. Algorithm changes in the past few years have been pushing large directories up, and individual business websites down. Until a few months ago, being in a map pack was your best bet at getting some Google traffic if you were a small business. Then they trimmed down the 7 packs to 3 packs (also called snack packs, or crap packs, depending on who you are talking to). Now there is talk that the snack packs will become sponsored, meaning that most small businesses will need to pay to play on Google (that is, pay Google, not your SEO company).