If you are landing on this page “Well done (to a certain degree) as you will be an advanced SEO who has built successful websites. BUT been hit hard with sudden ranking drops“.

Too many times you hear search engine optimisation specialists say “This is not really an SEO factor because I have never had to do XYZ”.

Or EEAT SEO is not important because I rank with only good quality content plus backlinks (this is a blatant spread of misinformation as we see on a weekly basis Google Search Console penalties for “author transparency” and other EEAT signals).

Or Google has stopped unnatural link penalties because now are good at ignoring spammy backlinks (this is a blatant spread of misinformation as we see on a weekly basis Google Search Console penalties for “Unnatural Inbound Links Penalty” and it is usually highlighting backlinks you think might be good quality).

The truth is many SEOs will never see an issue with Google penalties because they do not rank for a keyword big enough for Google to pay attention to their website.

I will explain why I need to coin this phrase for the SEO community.


The meaning behind “IT IS ONLY A PROBLEM, WHEN IT IS A PROBLEM – AND THEN IT IS TOO LATE” is you need to be proactive in preventing problems.

In today’s digital world you are presented with so much information to help you be proactive in your judgments.

You can learn from other people’s mistakes and try to stop them from happening to you.

Here are some proactive strategies to prevent you from being penalised by Google:

Do not leave the above to chance as if you wait too long, it is very difficult to recover websites when hit with a manual action penalty.

Why Did I Come Up With This Phrase?

I needed a phrase to use in the SEO community to prevent people from sharing SEO myths or misinformation.

Nowhere on the internet EVER has ever used the phrase – “IT IS ONLY A PROBLEM, WHEN IT IS A PROBLEM – AND THEN IT IS TOO LATE” until now.


Here are some examples of why I needed the phrase “It is only a problem, when it is a problem – and then it is too late”.

Disavowing Backlinks

SEOs say disavows do not work – when they probably just have never stress-tested this enough to understand disavows do work great.

Every website has a level of toxicity it can get away with, which changes from niche to niche depending on your competition.

For months and months, you could be building harmful guest posts that give you short-term ranking boosts and traffic boners.

But overnight your rankings and traffic drop because you build your toxicity above a benchmark deemed unnatural.

There is no problem building these links until BANG you get penalized and then it is too late.

Name one link-building agency apart from Searcharoo that builds links and actually looks at toxicity? You can’t and that is a big problem with the industry.

The backlink industry is obsessed with DR which is manipulated so easily and many customers are buying spammy PBN links and thinking they are getting quality guest posts.

Here at FatRank we strongly recommend a quarterly link audit service to be carried out by Backlink Doctor. Try them out today.


SEOs say EEAT is a myth – when anyone who has been penalised with raterhub hitting their site will know its real.

Check out our updated guide on EEAT SEO and future-proof your website by ticking all the boxes needed for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

The EEAT google quality rater guidelines are regularly updated and we strongly recommend hiring a specialist EEAT SEO company to assist you to improve your website.

Quality Content

Creating quality content for the users to enjoy will provide behavioral signals to Google that boost your rankings.

The SEO industry has become obsessed with GPT3.5 artificial intelligence content and using AI writing tools that they are building a website on quicksand.

The advancements of ChatGPT are incredible but many AI detection tools can detect AI content and plus quality content is about providing information gain.

It is great using these superb content optimization tools like surfer, marketmuse, frase, or page optimizer pro but in the wrong hands, you are just creating copycat content.

Raise the bar on quality by adding additional context to the content, unique images, and unique videos and actually be better than the competition.

Content Pruning

The content pruning debate is still one of the best debates in private SEO masterminds today.

I regularly attend SEO mastermind retreats like the Manchester SEO meetup and Chiang Mai SEO masterminds, which discuss the subject of content pruning.

The arguments are “do you prune content getting no traffic” or “do you keep the content as it is part of topical authority”.

The horrible but best answer is “IT DEPENDS”.

If the content is adding no value, receiving no clicks, and is not an important entity within your corpus set of keywords then 100% delete the web pages.

We have many content-pruning case studies that carry out a full content SEO audit and removing your worst-performing web pages increases your overall domain traffic.


Trying to build the brand name on the internet via Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media platforms helps diversify your traffic.

We found a direct correlation between higher brand searches helping domains long term to rank.

There are ways to manipulate brand names being added to the autosuggest and using CTR manipulation tools, but the best techniques are actually trying to build a real brand online.

It can be costly to grow brands online but all websites should be treated like real businesses.

Reactive SEO vs. Proactive SEO

The main difference between Reactive SEO vs. Proactive SEO is the difference between considering situations before they arise to prevent a Google penalty.

Proactive SEO considers all outcomes and takes preventative measures to eliminate any crazy drops in traffic or rankings.

Reactive SEOs are the ones who wait until it becomes a bigger problem and then the costs to fix the problem are tenfold.

When attending SEO masterminds you regularly hear:

“An ounce of SEO prevention is worth a pound of cure”

The prevention attitude allows you to build long-term digital assets that allow you to sleep at night knowing you are not one step away from sudden drop in rankings.


Anyone looking to use the phrase “It is only a problem, when it is a problem – and then it is too late” then I would appreciate you crediting the source here.

Let’s all try to stop the spread of misinformation or at least say “In my personal opinion I have found ……. , but I have not properly tested this”.

The misinformation spread on search engine optimization is a growing concern and so many SEOs are purchasing the wrong type of backlinks and listening to SEO myths that simply do not work in today’s algorithms.

I could list a million SEO myths being spread by so-called SEO experts who are not testing things properly long term.

A key takeaway is what might work for you this month, could be causing you long-term penalties.

IT IS ONLY A PROBLEM, WHEN IT IS A PROBLEM – AND THEN IT IS TOO LATE is here to make you think twice about an SEO hack that might work short term because further down the line these hacks do get found out and it becomes a much bigger problem.