Every person and every business makes mistakes at times. And they are usually costly. But some costs are harder to define or are less obvious than others.
When it comes to mistakes businesses make with SEO, they can certainly be difficult to track. Lost traffic can mean missed sales and missed opportunities to create new connections or partnerships. Without the proper tools and teams watching these trends and alerting you to the mistakes, how will you know how to correct them?
This article will discuss 6 common SEO mistakes businesses tend to make and provide some helpful suggestions on how to avoid them.
Here are 6 common SEO mistakes businesses make
Not conducting keyword research
Why is keyword research important? Because you need to know what keywords and queries your target audience is using to gather information related to your products or services. You may offer a service that is necessary but not well known, or produce a product that other businesses or consumers are looking for. Unless you are gearing your content towards related terms, you are missing out. Keyword research can help focus the information on your site so as to better identify your line of business, products, and services.
Not optimizing for local SEO
Local SEO is critical for businesses that serve local communities. We talked about the importance of local SEO in an earlier article. When you search for “restaurants near me”, your location is used to find local listings, which appear on the results page. If your business profile is not set up and claimed, of course you will not appear there. This also means that your customers cannot leave you any reviews! In addition to local citations and business profiles, your website should also have up-to-date contact information for your business, especially if you have multiple locations.
Not having a mobile-friendly website
More and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to search the web. If your website is not mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to reach these potential customers. Ask anyone, and they will tell you that using a poorly configured website on mobile devices is a major deterrent.
Using black-hat SEO techniques
Black-hat SEO techniques are basically shortcuts meant to circumvent policies and best practices in an attempt to rank you higher in search results in the short-term. However, they are also risky and can get your website penalized by search engines. While we will not give examples, be wary of anyone who promises to get your website to the first page in an incredibly short period of time. What they won’t tell you is that your website will drop in rank just as fast and can be even harder to fix depending on the reasons for the drop.
A lack of updated content
Search engines love fresh content. If you don’t regularly update your website with new content, you’re sending a signal to search engines that your website is not relevant. Another way to look at it is that you are telling your customers that your website is an afterthought. While each business has its own considerations for what needs to be updated and how often, essentially, you want to provide visitors with up-to-date information that is relevant and helpful to them. Whether that means one article or post a day, or a month, depends on your business and your services.
Not keeping your website updated
The devices we use to play games, pay our bills, and browse the Internet are very different than they were 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago. If your website isn’t, chances are it is losing traffic. We aren’t talking about some sort of penalty, but just because the user has absolutely no other options to go to, chances are that old site that isn’t responsive is leaving them with a bad first (and only) impression. It sends signals that if you don’t care about how your site looks or if it is difficult to use, you probably don’t care about your business or your customers either.
Now that we have discussed some common SEO mistakes that businesses make, let’s talk about ways you can fix them or avoid them!
Here are 6 simple ways to address common SEO mistakes
Create high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience
“High-quality” content could be described as content that is helpful, accurate, and from a trusted, experienced expert that you cannot find anywhere else. It should be content that is helpful and delivers what the searcher is looking for. Of course, this varies depending on your business and site. The same methodologies for creating content for a technical article would not apply to describing a product or service, for example.
Keep your local listings up to date
If your business has a physical location, you need to optimize your website for local SEO. This means including your NAP (name, address, and phone number) in all the appropriate places on your website to make it as easy as possible for local visitors to contact you. Also, claiming and verifying your business listings for your Google Business Profile pages for all your locations is absolutely important. But many businesses do not keep their local listings up to date. Updating business hours, posting pictures of your team working, and any special offers all help. Additionally, getting your contact information on any local business listing sites should be a priority.
Optimize your website’s title tags and meta descriptions
Title tags refer to the title element of a web page that indicates the content found on that page. Those tags are meant to describe what the page is about. Used properly, you can make the job of the search engine’s systems that much easier by telling it what the point of your page is rather than having it decide for you. Meta descriptions, while similar to title tags, are places where you can provide a short summary of the page’s content. It gives you the chance to be a bit more descriptive and can give the searcher another reason to click on your result.
Build backlinks to your website from other high-quality websites
Backlinks, while not as important as they used to be, are still important in establishing your site, your brand, and yourself as authorities. Not only that, but getting a link to your site or article can do wonders for your exposure and potentially greatly expand your reach into other markets and audiences.
Keep your website up-to-date with fresh content
New posts and articles are still the best ways to keep traffic and visitors coming to your site and viewing your products. Additionally, if you have pages that reference out-of-date information or are just not relevant any longer, don’t neglect them; they need to be updated! Using the “evergreen” content approach or the “topic clusters” method are great ways to set up a plan to keep helpful, informative content coming through your website and social channels.
Choose a modern host for your site and stay on top of patches and security updates
We talked about the importance of website security in our earlier article about how SEO and cybersecurity work together. Not only do older web hosting platforms pose a security threat due to out-of-date infrastructure, but they are likely also contributing to your site’s rendering issues with mobile devices. Operating on a modern, secure host is the basic foundation for a reputable site.
As we mentioned, everyone makes mistakes. But repeating them can turn mistakes into problems.
SEO mistakes can take months or even years to overcome and gain a competitive edge again. By avoiding these common SEO mistakes and applying these tips, you can improve your website’s performance in search and attract more visitors.