“If you build it, they will come.” It’s one of the most iconic lines in all of cinema history. Turns out that it works great for magical baseball fields but not so much for websites.
In today’s competitive web and its more than 1.8 billion websites, it’s not enough to have a great site. You have to invest a lot of work to make it visible and bring in traffic.
Many of our clients come to us after a failed attempt at DIY search engine optimization. They think it sounds easy but after a year or more, they still aren’t getting close to their traffic goals.
We’ve found that many companies make the same mistakes over and over. Check out these common SEO mistakes and steer clear.
Most Common SEO Mistakes
Maybe you have no SEO training or your training happened too many years ago. Either way, if you’re making any of these mistakes, you could use a hand.
1. Only Researching Keywords for Volume
Keyword research is the lifeblood of search engine optimization. That’s why it’s a shame that so many people are doing it the wrong way.
It’s true that you want to find keywords that are relevant to your business with high volume. However, there’s another key statistic you need to consider: keyword difficulty.
A keyword with a high difficulty means there are a lot of other sites that are well-optimized for that keyword. It won’t be much help to optimize for a high-volume keyword that’s so difficult you’ll never get on the first search engine results page or SERP.
2. Missing Out on Meta Data
Want to boost your SEO in a hurry? Meta data may be the most time-effective thing you can do right away.
For every page in your website’s design, the HTML needs to include three vital tags: title, description, and keywords. This is an easy step to forget in your site’s early days.
Make sure each page’s meta data is accurate and includes plenty of relevant, well-researched keywords. It’s one of the go-to pieces search engines use to place you on SERPs.
Don’t forget to make these pieces enticing to readers too. The title and description are what users will see on SERPs, so that’s what determines whether they’ll click through to your page.
3. Using Non-Descriptive URL Structures
Here’s a fact you probably didn’t know: search engines use URLs to decide what your page is about. That’s why your URLs need to be accurate in describing the page’s content.
Avoid URLs that have strings of numbers or characters. For instance, for a blog post’s page, the URL should be the blog title, not site.com/blog12345.
Make sure you use keywords that researched well in your URLs. Of course, if you’re using the page title as the URL, that should happen anyway.
4. Forgetting About Your Google My Business Listing
It’s true that on-page SEO strategies will be the bread and butter of your SEO strategy. One can not live on bread and butter alone, though.
Your SEO needs to include a healthy number of off-page strategies too. One of the most essential is claiming or creating a “Google My Business” listing.
Your Google listing is that handy box that appears when someone searches for your business. It’s complete with your website, contact information, reviews, and more.
Claiming and verifying your listing tells Google and you are a legitimate business. It also verifies your location for them so they can give you better local SEO. The process takes little time at all for the visibility it offers you.
5. Keeping Your Content the Same
Too many businesses take their time to craft well-optimized content and say, “There! It’s perfect! It needs to stay that way.”
There are two problems with this strategy. First, SEO best practices change at a rapid rate. Content that had the perfect keywords, length, and link balance two years ago could be an SEO disaster today.
The other issue is that updates themselves will help your SEO. Search engines assume that a page with a week-old update is more likely to be accurate than a page that hasn’t been updated for a year. They factor this into your placement on SERPs.
The most important thing you can do is to post new, high-quality, SEO-focused content on a regular basis. That’s one of the primary purposes of having a blog on your site.
On top of posting blogs, though, you should also update your site’s other main pages often. Simple edits to keywords and structure can go a long way.
6. Sacrificing Content Quality for Keywords
Yes, keywords are the core principle of SEO. There’s such a thing as going too far, though.
As you’re working keywords into your site’s content, don’t settle for awkward wording to try to include a specific keyword. Your readers will see it as low-quality content, so they’ll leave. When it happens over and over, you get a high bounce rate which hurts your SEO.
Instead, work in your keywords in more natural ways. If a keyword is particularly awkward, it isn’t worth making your readers think you’re unprofessional or unintelligent.
7. Thinking Your Job is Done
A website is a constant work in progress, and that’s especially true for SEO.
New competitors are popping up all the time and old competitors are working on their SEO. Keywords and best practices change. All of this causes sites with outdated SEO to get buried in search results.
For a strong SEO strategy, you need to keep up with the changing best practices on a regular basis. Make time for SEO as part of your ongoing efforts, not a one-time project.
Leaving SEO to the Masters
There’s no denying it: SEO is essential for your digital marketing and it’s a big job. The SEO mistakes above are common for companies who try to DIY it. Too often they don’t even know that it isn’t working. The just know their revenues are sinking.
If you prefer to play it safe, you’re better off hiring a professional. To put your site on the fast track to success, contact our search engine optimization experts today.