It’s nearly impossible to run a business without being online these days. Regardless of the size or nature of your work, it’s important to cover all of the basic online essentials to ensure the success of your business. Start with a simple website, create accounts on all the major social networks, hire someone to create content, and hire someone else to manage your SEO. SEO mistakes are easy to make and are costing you traffic.
Those last two points are infinitely more important than the first two. You need a writer or content creator to give your brand a voice and you need an SEO expert to make sure that your voice is heard. Preferably, you need a professional marketer who knows what they’re doing. However, such experts are usually unaffordable for small businesses.
As a solopreneur or bootstrapping small business owner, you probably wear multiple hats. You’re in charge of marketing, operations, accounting, and customer service, simply because you don’t have the resources to hire others. That means you’re probably also managing SEO all by yourself, which can be a difficult task unless you know what you’re doing. Do some research before you begin to widen your knowledge, like watching informative videos such as the Ignite Visibility SEO movie.
In order to help you with your SEO managing, here are the most common SEO mistakes you’re likely to make and how to avoid them:
Not Keeping Content Relevant
RankBrain has changed the game. If you are not entertaining, emotional, and educational then you are going to get killed by RankBrain. RankBrain focuses on machine learned user experience.
It’s easy to forget the basis on which all search was developed. When Google came onto the scene in the late-1990’s, they said their intention was to bring the most relevant content on the web to the forefront. Two decades later, the search engine dominates the internet and their mission remains the same. User Experience is becoming a huge SEO factor.
Content needs to be engaging and for something to be engaging it needs to be relevant. Timely, well-written, and well-researched content is likely to win the most views online. This is also true on social media platforms, where it’s important to catch new trends and respond to them immediately.
One of the biggest SEO mistakes most new businesses make is to create generic content that they can rinse and repost later. Instead, focus on short-form content that doesn’t take too long to create and can be posted right away when a new trend emerges. Also, focus on cornerstone content. Content that you can continually update and share with new and old readers numerous times. Check out this “first post on this blog” as an example of cornerstone content.
Cheating With Black Hat Techniques
In the early days of the internet, it was remarkably easy to cheat the system and get your content to the top of Google’s search engine. Black hat techniques to play the system are the biggest threat to Google, and it has spent billions of dollars trying to eradicate it. Now with machine learning and automated algorithms, most mega platforms online will weed out your website if you use these techniques.
Avoid keyword stuffing, scraping content, hiding words on the site, using a private blog network, or copying low-quality content. Anything that seems mildly unethical or dubious is best avoided when you’re trying to get your website to stand out and be seen as an authority. It is almost impossible to undo these SEO mistakes. Black Hat techniques will get caught and your site will no longer rank.
Overloading Your Website With Ads Or Content
Too much of anything is never good for a website. You must understand that a lot of your visitors and potential customers visit your site on their smartphone or through a slow connection. Most online visitors are also very impatient. You have to catch a visitor’s attention quickly and make the experience seamless.
To keep your website nimble, don’t overload it with images, gifs, videos, or animations. Also, avoid stuffing your site’s content with a set list of keywords. Keyword stuffing was an easy way to get your search rank up a decade ago, but it is digital poison now. Google’s new Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) technique can apply artificial intelligence to figure out what a blog post is about without the need for keywords. Meanwhile, most search engines will label your site ‘spam’ if you stuff the content with too many keywords. Keep it simple and neat for best results. For best results, create a lightweight website that’s great to use and fun to explore.
Picking The Wrong Keywords
Keywords are the essential basis for your entire online marketing strategy. This is a common SEO mistake. Understanding how keywords work and why they’re important is crucial for any online marketer. Perhaps the worst mistake you can make is to pick the wrong keywords before you start creating content. If you spend time and money on creating content for the wrong set of keywords, you’ll never get the ROI you need.
Business owners may think they know what keywords they want to market online, but customers may be using different words to describe their products or services. Paying attention to how your customers think and the data from search engines is crucial. Use tools like Google AdWords KeywordPlanner, Google Trends, SEMrush and Moz Keyword Explorer to discover the best keywords before you start planning and generating content.
Also knowing that since RankBrain has been introduced, keywords are uniquely different. Medium keywords are a better target. Thicker content that fully covers a subject get more action in the SERPS. Short content that was focused on one long tail keyword will get outranked easily.
Ignoring Technical Fundamentals
SEO content writing isn’t just about spotting the right keywords and using them to create good content. There is a technical framework for optimization that can help your site rank better on search engines. Your job as a digital marketer is to create content for human visitors and Google’s bots. This means understanding the importance of meta descriptions and title tags. Image tags are another key element of your website that bots can crawl through and rank your site for. You also need to pay attention to the anchor text used for backlinks and internal links.
There’s a lot to unpack here. Digital marketing is a deep sector that is constantly evolving. Take a short course or try to learn all the new developments in this field from a trusted source. Optimizing these technical details will improve your chances of ranking higher and boost the return on your marketing budget.
Forgetting Local Search Are Huge SEO Mistakes
If you’re an online business that caters to a global audience, you can optimize your site for a general keyword. However, most businesses can only reach out to customers within their city or locality. Local search is a lot more important for these businesses. Listing on Google Places and Merchantcircle is crucial for stores, hotels, restaurants, and yoga centers. Anything that requires a physical presence needs a local SEO strategy. Local is a great traffic generator and another common SEO mistake new website owners make.
Not Using Influencers or Social Media
Influencer marketing is one of the most enduring recent trends in digital marketing. Influencers can help you tap into your niche and get your message across from the voice of a respected authority. This means your business will gain an audience that is receptive and engaged. Social Media is huge for influencer marketing.
With the booming popularity of social platforms, search now has an entrenched social element to it. People rely on their friends and trusted influencers to make purchase decisions. Creating a working relationship with such power users is not easy, but it is worthwhile. Alternatively, you can post answers on HARO, Digg, Reddit, or Quora to gain credibility without having a power user by your side. This all helps become an Authority in your space.
Not Being Mobile
Not focusing on the mobile experience is an absolute blunder for most small businesses now. Don’t add this to your list of SEO mistakes. The number of mobile smartphone users is swiftly expanding. In the developing world, more people are getting online through their mobile devices than through desktops or laptops. Google’s recent updates ensure sites with a bad mobile experience suffer a downgrade in page ranks.
The world has gone mobile, and if you’re starting a new business you need to make sure your web presence is mobile-first. Try tools like Pingdom and GT Metrix to check your mobile site’s load times and responsiveness. Make sure your potential customers have an excellent experience regardless of the platform they pick to get in touch with you. Creating a seamless and inviting site for everyone will ultimately help you rank better on any search engine.
Final Thoughts On SEO Mistakes
Digital marketing is constantly evolving. Methods and techniques that worked a few years ago are probably outdated. Some of these techniques can also set your marketing efforts back by a few steps.
Hiring a professional to look after your site’s SEO is probably the best option for most entrepreneurs. However, recently launched small and medium-sized businesses may not have the resources to hire professionals. As a business owner, you’re probably handling digital marketing all by yourself. You need to avoid the most common pitfalls of SEO and online content marketing. Look at common SEO mistakes and avoid them.
Make sure your site is mobile, your content is fresh, the backlinks are authoritative, influencers are working with you, and your keywords are well-researched. Leverage all the online tools you can access to improve your site’s rank in local search engines. Analyze the data from online tools to pick the best meta descriptions, keywords, and title tags. Tag your images and list your site on Google places. Make sure your site is well designed and easy to navigate.
Your objective should be to design a site that is useful and engaging for human visitors and easy for Google’s search bots. By creating a high-quality site with all these features, you can push your company higher on search engines. Follow through and don’t make these SEO mistakes.
Will is the Executive Managing Editor at Feedster. Will and his team from Content HOW work with venture capital, marketing co-ops, and companies to attract and gain qualified leads.
His primary focus on developing a sales funnel for a company and finding out of the box / growth hacking style ways to convert and drive traffic.