Search engine optimization or SEO is a powerful tool that you should be using in your digital marketing arsenal. It’s one of the most popularly requested services we provide. Search engine optimization is based on the premise that Google, Bing, and other search engines use special criteria and algorithms to decide which are the most relevant pages to display in response to a search query. But when SEO goes wrong, it can actually have the opposite effect, pushing your webpage out of sight so your customers never find you. Here we look at how to avoid some of the most common mistakes in SEO.
1. Website Takes Too Long to Load
Yes, images, videos, custom banners, and other style factors are an important part of appealing to your visitors. Should you add them at the detriment of your website’s loading speed? No!
One of the ways that search engines like Google decide if your website is ‘high-quality’ or not is by looking at how long visitors stay on your webpage and where they go on your site. If your website takes too long to load, your visitors will give up and close the page before they learn anything about your business. This tells search engines that your website is not that relevant or important and will downgrade your ranking.
2. You’re Not Offering Valuable, Relevant Content
The goal of search engines is to place the most relevant, valuable websites at the top of the search engine results. This means there’s no trick when it comes to creating content for SEO – you simply have to create the most valuable, relevant and high-quality content. Search engines are getting smarter and much better at understanding the quality of content on a page, so you should never try to get away with poorly written and researched content for blogs, eBooks, or page content.
3. Navigation Isn’t Smooth
Your website design should prioritize easy navigation, so visitors can find the most important information quickly and easily. Poor navigation frustrates users, and they might leave your site sooner because of it.
4. Not Optimizing Redirects
Getting 301 or 302 redirects right helps ensure a page maintains its authority even after the URL is moved. These steps help to maintain the hard-earned trust and authority of your website. Try to avoid 404s as best you can. If you’re removing a page from your site that may have external links linking to it, 301 redirect it to the closest relevant page or to your home page.
5. Obtaining Backlinks Incorrectly
If you know anything about SEO, you know how important backlinks are to building site authority. However, you should never, ever buy backlinks or try to acquire them artificially in any way. The best way to obtain natural backlinks is to build a great site with valuable information that other sites want to link to.
6. Not Focusing on Location
If you are not targeting location-based keywords, you are missing critical opportunities to boost your business profile. Recent studies have shown that up to 92% of U.S. consumers perform a local search before visiting a physical business.
7. Neglecting Internal Links
Although backlinks are more valuable to SEO, you should optimize the wording of inbound links so that search engines learn more about what your business does.
8. Expecting Results Quickly
Building an SEO campaign organically takes time, so be patient. Any ‘quick fixes’ are sure to be unreliable or even black hat, which will ultimately end up hurting your business.
9. You’re Using Black Hat Techniques
Never, ever, ever use black hat techniques, no matter what the temptation. Search engines are constantly improving their detection of ways that websites try to ‘cheat’ the system, and while these techniques might get great results in the short term, they will fail eventually. Once your website has been marked as using black hat techniques, it’s almost impossible to build trust again, so avoid at all costs.
By working on SEO campaigns for a variety of different businesses every day, I see that it often requires an expert to get the best results from search engine optimization. Avoid these 9 mistakes to ensure you see the best results possible from your investment in SEO.