Search engine optimization (SEO) is many things—but simple isn’t one of them. Effective SEO requires you to keep many balls in the air, including both on-site and off-site elements. What’s more, the rules are changing all the time: While Google’s basic principles remain static, the specific algorithmic formulas evolve and adapt all the time. Indeed, SEO professionals can count on at least one or two big, disruptive algorithmic updates each year.
What all of this means is that even those with intermediate skill levels can sometimes make SEO blunders that cost them rankings, or at the very least cost them valuable time. In this post, we’ll highlight some of the most common errors, in hopes of helping you steer clear of them.
Where SEO Goes Wrong
Writing Content That Has No Purpose
There’s an old saying in SEO circles, that content is king. Some SEOs take this to mean that more content is always better, but quality is always a bigger priority than quantity.
Your website content should help users connect with the information they seek—because that’s ultimately what Google is about. As such, it should be written to offer substance and value, and it should be geared toward your buyer personas and peppered with your target keywords.
Writing more content merely to have more content is a mistake that could dilute your SEO efforts.
Getting Link-Building All Wrong
Here’s another common content error: It’s widely known that backlinks can be important SEO ranking signals. As such, many SEO campaigns go to great lengths to get backlinks, sometimes through reasonable methods (guest blogging) and sometimes through duplicitous ones (buying links).
Remember, though, that the single most effective way to generate backlinks to your content is just to make that content good; write value-added content that makes people want to link to it. That doesn’t mean you can’t still write guest blogs, but make sure quality content is at the forefront of your link-building efforts.
Writing Content and Then Forgetting It
Another big SEO ranking factor? Social sharing. When your website or your blog gets passed around on Facebook and Twitter, that signals to Google that you’ve written something really relevant—something worthy of a higher ranking.
Yet all too often, SEOs forget to promote their content. They neglect to send it out through social media and through their email list.
Remember that your content doesn’t mean much if nobody ever sees it; for your content to be really helpful, you’ve got to get out there and push it.
Failing to Provide Clear Internal Linking
We mentioned backlinks, but it’s also important for your website to have plenty of internal links, allowing the reader to easily navigate through your content and find the relevant resources.
There are a few ways in which SEOs can sometimes get this wrong—by failing to do internal linking in the first place, or by failing to keep it up to date, resulting in 404 errors and broken links.
Make sure you have a robust internal linking strategy—one that sends traffic to conversion pages but also lends a little SEO authority to some of the pages that are hidden deeper within your site navigation.
Choosing the Wrong Keywords
Keywords pose many dangers: You can use them too much, too little, or in the wrong places. But the biggest problem of all is when SEOs optimize for the wrong keywords.
How does this happen?
- They fail to segment search volumes by geography;
- They rely on high-volume keywords that don’t convert as well;
- They ignore the value of AdWords;
- They aim for awkward phrases that are difficult to work into their content.
Sound keyword strategy is foundational to SEO, so be careful not to fall into any of these common traps.
Neglecting Local Search
In a very real sense, all search is local—and if you’re not aiming for visibility in geographically-specific queries, you’re missing some key opportunities. (This is doubly true for any business with a brick-and-mortar presence.)
Make sure you have your NAP (name, address, phone number) data on every page of your website. Try to get reviews from sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Use geographically-specific keywords where appropriate. And try to get local citations from business directories, BBB websites, etc. All of these steps can help you with your local search presence.
Neglecting Site Audits
SEO isn’t something you can set and forget. We recommend auditing your website routinely, ensuring that things are still running smoothly while cleaning up any technical mistakes you discover.
These technical mistakes can include everything from broken links to duplicate content to unoptimized meta data. You might also conduct regular speed tests to ensure your site is performing properly.
And, as you audit your site, you can also seek out older content that could stand a refresh—another key to ongoing SEO success.
Get on the Right Track with Your SEO
Getting SEO right can be a challenge, as it impacts all aspects of your digital strategy—from website design all the way up through social media and email marketing.
As you seek to develop a robust and effective approach to search engine optimization, we’d love to chat with you and offer some ideas. Reach out to the enCOMPASS team today, and let’s talk about ways to grow your company’s visibility on the Web!
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