November 6, 2015
SEO is a complex work of art that continues to evolve as search engines get smarter. At this point, you know that it is the only proven method of bringing in customers, increasing awareness, and driving profits, so you embark down the road to success with keywords in hand.
Slowly, results begin to trickle in, and with your fully-optimized site you expect to dominate everyone in the industry in a matter of weeks. But then it doesn’t happen. Has all of your work been for naught? The good news is probably not.
Anyone in the industry can tell you that search engine optimization is so complex that even just a few mishaps here or there can cause a big drop in performance. Here are 10 must-avoid SEO mistakes to ensure that your campaign is as solid as a rock.
- Not delving deeper with analytics
It’s hard to survive on looks or talent alone. Your site may be great and you may have done everything perfectly, but if you aren’t delving into the details using analytic software, then you are doing yourself a disservice. Not only does the game evolve so much so that you need to stay on top of it, but there might also be things you are missing. For example, you could be missing out on keywords that convert better instead of ones that just drive traffic. A good SEO specialist and analytic software go a long way into seeing what works best and what should be focused on.
- Missing the little things
The big things aren’t worth it if you can’t appreciate the little ones. We all know keywords, we all know social media, content, and title tags, but there are so many little nuances that go into crafting this art that should you miss out on just one, you are leaving a lot of value on the table. Take for instance a website that doesn’t make use of sub-headers or inbound links. Just a few of these misses and your rankings will be lower than they should be.
- Ignoring local
Mobile technology has so permeated our daily lives that we now take searching on the go as we move around the city for granted. So much so that mobile search now outranks desktop in terms of usage. Being available at the fingertips of your customers when they use mobile is critical. Check out some of these stats:
- 50% of local searches lead mobile searchers to visit the store on the same day
- 97% of users use the internet when researching local businesses
- 70% of customers are more likely to visit a local business if it has information on social media
If you aren’t investing in local SEO, you need to be.
- Focusing in on the wrong keywords
We get so caught up in what are and what are not the right keywords that we often don’t realize when we are making a mistake. Some companies want to concentrate solely on large, global keywords that are highly competitive. This ends up costing a lot of time and money and doesn’t promise to bring in results even if it works. Some keywords just drive traffic and don’t convert customers, others don’t bring traffic at all. You want people who are looking to sign-up, share, and buy what you are selling. Having a high ranking for keywords is nice, but if they aren’t the right ones or are simply not attainable, then you should focus elsewhere.
- Ignoring internal links
As we mentioned before, one of the little things that can make a big difference is the linking strategy within your own site. It is easy to get caught up in link building elsewhere on the internet and forget that you have something right at home that needs care too. An internal link is simply a link that goes to one of your own pages. If you aren’t utilizing anchor text within pages on your site to link relevant pages together, then your SEO value is really going to plummet. For example, always put a link to a relevant service page into a blog or connect related service pages.
- Forgetting about image tags
Ah, images. They say that they can speak a thousand words. Well, we don’t care about that in this business. What we care about is that they help improve your content, your user experience, and your search engine rankings. Search engine crawlers can’t understand what pictures are showing. They need help. Use keywords in your alt tags so that crawlers can read them and find out what they are.
- Poor title tags and meta descriptions
You would think that the title used on the SERP to tell searchers what your website is about would be a high priority. Well, apparently it isn’t. We see so many companies ignoring the title tag and not putting any effort into writing a good meta description. Make sure your title tag reflects the keywords you are after and what your website is about, and make sure you have a unique one for each page. When it comes to the meta description, yours needs to succinctly describes what your website does. Take this meta description for a guide on how to write title tags for example:
“Properly written title tags are essential to your SEO success. They tell users what your site is about. This guide will cover everything you need to know about writing them properly”.
- Poor content
Content is the king of the search engine optimization world now. It is the driving factor in traffic, respect, and sales. 80% of users say they are more comfortable and more willing to trust a website that has regular, fresh content. Rushing yours, not putting a lot of effort in, or duplicating other stuff from around the web won’t get you anywhere. Not investing money in a good writer is equally as bad. It is worth every penny. Your content needs to teach readers something(a how-to), entertain them, or inform them about something. If you are dull, stuff keywords, or copy someone else’s content, then you are not going to rise in the rankings.
- Not fixing broken links
Imagine yourself walking down a hallway toward a door. You finally get there, open the door, step through, and voila! Nothing. You fall down into a never-ending abyss. That’s a broken link. When your links point to destinations that don’t exist, then you’ve got them. They will quickly earn you a bad reputation. Take the time to fix them up when you discover them hiding somewhere.
- Quantity over quality
As with everything, quality is more important than quantity. We know how dog-eat-dog the competition for links can be, and we are well aware of how badly people want them. Still, it is best to resist the temptation of linking any time you get the chance. Bad links do more harm than good links do good. Make sure the content is link-worthy. They need to:
- Be relevant to your industry
- Not have too many outgoing links
- Not be keyword stuffed
- Not contain links to untrustworthy sites
Being visible on the Google results page is absolutely vital to the success of your business. Getting there is a matter of patience, hard work, and the right SEO tactics. Optimization techniques can be so complex that it is easy to make a mistake here and there. Make sure to steer clear of these 10 must-avoid SEO mistakes on your way up to the top.