The incredible power of SEO can’t be denied. People use search engines every day – and making your site answer their queries is a smart thing to do. Sadly, SEO “newbies” are prone to make mistakes. That’s OK, we all start somewhere.
(Quick note: a lot of search engines focus on sites that focus on the individual, and not the statistic. Keep your users in mind.)
Here is a collection of common SEO mistakes most rookies (and some misguided SEO agencies) make.
Mistake #1. Not Using Google Analytics
Savvy online marketers and SEO experts already utilise Google’s webmaster tools. But for everybody else, it’s the equivalent to learning Greek.
In a nutshell, SEO is the backbone of online marketing. By using effective descriptions, metadata, choosing quality URLs, user-friendly (and helpful) post titles, and so on.
Using keywords without researching how effective they’ll be used on-site is a huge step backwards. Google has a powerhouse of tools that can help you on your keyword (and traffic analytics) journey.
Mistake #2. Forgetting Content Is King
Developing high quality content that is useful to your market AND manages to convert visitors to paying customers/traffic… is a tricky game.
This is because everyone is different. With a little studying of social psychology, and figuring out why people do what they do… will put you above the rest of the pack.
To give you a clearer idea, quality content usually…
- Is entertaining
- Is extremely informative (and answers questions)
- Fulfills the expectation people had when they clicked your site (keyword-specific)
- Doesn’t stuff keywords in the hopes of ranking higher on SERPs (this tactic will be elabourated on later)
- Is educational (without being as boring as a Harvard scholar’s thesis)
Mistake #3. Excluding “Everyday” Users
You’re a professional, a leading expert in your market and niche – you’re up to date with all the goings-on; you’re a high level insider, who knows the glossary of terms.
Unfortunately, random visitors don’t.
Your visitors do not have your expertise. Littering your site with your industry’s lingo, terms, and jargon alienates the average Jane and Joe.
This is why taking off your professional “hat” is a must. Ways of doing that include…
- Talking to your customers/prospects/ideal visitors in their language
- Ask them how you can simplify confusing sites, pages, and info.
- Focus on what problems your business solves, tailor your site to that market and only that market (the more specific your site is, the more of an authority figure you’ll be)
Mistake #4. Broken Links
Links are to search engines what a million dollar is to us. In fact, if links aren’t processed, they won’t be indexed in search engines – meaning people won’t know about your site at all.
To help people find a link to your site, it’s important to process those links so search engines may “register” them, because a broken link which hasn’t been linked internally or externally can go unnoticed by google-bot. (If it’s not in Google, it does not exists.)
Links also break over time. That’s why a great, time-saving tool everybody should have in their arsenal is Broken Link Checker. This tool is exactly what it sounds like: checks for broken links and lets you fix them.
Mistake #5. Ignoring Internal Links
Internal links are important – since they link to other pages in your site, this gives you an extra “dose” of SEO juice… improving your SERP rankings.
Carol Tice, creator of Makealivingwriting.com, performs this well. Many savvy marketers do. This gives people a chance to find more useful info on your site – and remember the golden rule of SEO: a happy user = a happy search engine.
Mistake #6. Going Rogue/Black Hat
Blackhat SEO includes things like:
- Keyword stuffing (“stuffing” keywords into each paragraph willynilly)…
- Using hidden text (hiding keywords by making it the same colour as the background)…
- Buying links (instead of morally building links the smart, organic way)…
- …and many more.
Avoid using blackhat techniques like the plague – most SERPs hate them. So does Google – that’s why Google keeps changing its algorithm.
Sites may also be banned and removed from SERP index lists and send “blackhatters” to the back pages, where no one clinks. Be warned.
SEO marketing is an ever-changing industry, and you must stay on top of it to fully reap its benefits.
Do you make any of the mistakes I’ve listed? Change them now and watch your traffic/rank increase. I promise your users will thank you for keeping them in mind.