SEO (search engine optimisation) isn’t an optional exercise if you market your business online. That means it’s something you have to get to grips with and make time for in your hectic schedule.
It doesn’t help that it’s a constantly changing animal with new rules and algorithms being applied all the time.
As a result, you’ve probably been like many other people out there and stuck your head in the ground and just done what you’ve heard other people do without giving it much thought.
The problem is there’s a lot of mis-information out there, which could derail your SEO strategy before it’s even started.
As a result you’ve probably fallen into one of these traps.
Poor quality content
Your website needs content, so what do you do? Too many businesses out there scour the internet for a company similar to theirs and then copy their content. Not necessarily word for word, but close enough for it to be a problem.
First off, you’re plagiarising and secondly, the content won’t be directed at your customers. The copy you use on your website must be original and authentic to you and your audience. It should reflect your values and the unique selling point that will keep your customers coming back for more.
Yes, it takes time (and money if you decide to use the services of a professional copywriter), but it will reward you with higher rankings, make you stand out from the crowd and avoid a hefty Google penalty.
This time I’m talking about the same content appearing on different web pages within your own site. Every web page is indexed individually therefore they should all be unique in terms of content and their title tags and meta descriptions. These are the bits of code that tell Google what your web page is about, so it’s vital you give these the attention they deserve.
Before I start, you do know that keyword density has been consigned to the bin where it belongs, right?
Keywords are still an important part of your SEO strategy, but they should be used naturally within your content (sparingly) and in your title tags, meta descriptions and sub headings.
When creating your list of keywords it’s important to think carefully. What would your customers search for if they were looking for your product or service? Just because you use a certain term within your industry, doesn’t mean that your customers are going to be aware of it.
That’s why it’s important to think like a customer and not a business owner.
Targeting the wrong keywords, or stuffing them into content are the two biggest mistakes companies make.
How can links damage your SEO?
If your site contains broken links, your reputation will suffer (because your customers will get frustrated) and your rankings will suffer.
Links to your site are important to your SEO strategy, but buying them in is a big no-no and is frowned on by Google. If you want to attract links make sure your website is full of high quality, original content that’s relevant to your audience.
The Alt tag
The Alt tag enables you to name the images you use on your website. Why do you need them? Well, Google can’t interpret images without your help. The description you use in the Alt tag tells Google what it is, so it’s best (if possible) to use your keywords here – but make sure they’re used in a descriptive phrase.
Remember whom you’re writing for
This one goes back to the content issue.
Too many companies focus on getting good rankings. As a result, their writing becomes clumsy as they try to fool Google into pushing them up the search results. The problem with that is that Google’s not the one buying from them. That’s why every word on your website should be written for your readers.
Keep it focused and on topic. For example, if you provide software for financial institutions make sure your blogs focus on that rather than what you did on your holiday.
Find your niche and stick to it, that way your readers will get to know you as an authority in your field.
What should you do now?
If you can identify with any of the common SEO mistakes above it’s time to take action. Review your strategy and change your ways. The results won’t be immediate, but over the months you’ll start to see some improvement in your online visibility.
Hang on, there’s one more. According to Google, the biggest mistake made is not enabling your website to be crawled by Googlebot. If it can’t be crawled it can’t be indexed and if it can’t be indexed you won’t rank. So best check that too.