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The Five Whys Of SEO

The Five Whys is a technique to get to the root of a problem. Instead of treating symptoms, with the “Five Whys” technique you will be able to discover why problems are happening, and how to prevent them from happening again.

Developed by Japanese inventor and father of the Toyota Corporation, Sakichi Toyoda, it aims to easily break down problems into a five step process to uncover an effective counter measure to the problem.

“Counter measures” are used in place of “solutions” as “counter measure” stop the problem for arising again, while “solutions” merely deal with symptoms.

This technique is still used by Toyota, and has been adopted by corporations and management and quality control experts all over the world.

The Five Whys works well for SEO, because almost all SEO issues can be broken down to a few root causes.

To use the Five Whys technique, first you must identify the problem. Once the problem is identified, the counter measure can be discovered.

As a thought experiment, let’s consider “Company A”

“Company A” provides management training to Fortune 5000 businesses, and relies heavily on organic traffic to its site for sales.

One, year, revenues are down, and they can’t figure out why.

Problem: Lower revenues.

Why? Organic Traffic is down.

Why? Our rankings have dropped on Google.

Why? Our competitors have overtaken our positions on Google.

Why? Google considers their content more relevant to searcher’s queries

Why? Our content is out of date

Counter measure: Update current content, or create more up to date content.

Or, instead, what if Company A couldn’t even get any traction in Google.

Problem: Not enough organic traffic

Why? Our competitors are on the first page

Why? Google considers them authorities in our niche

Why? Their content is satisfies searcher’s queries

Why? It provides in-depth answers targeted to the keywords they searched for

Why? The hired a professional SEO company

You can see how utilizing the “Five Whys” technique can quickly cut through the heart of a problem to find effective ways of countering it.

One problem with the “Five Whys” technique is that it can be somewhat limiting. Once started, it naturally leads the user down one path, when multiple paths could be considered. Therefore, it is best to us the Five Whys techniques and thought experiments in a group, or in a setting that facilitates A/B testing.

However, or quick and effective diagnoses of SEO related problems, the “Five Whys” will provide the best jumping off point for any organization or SEO agency.

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Jeff Killian
 

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