Search engine optimization can make or break your company. You could have the perfect product or service to solve your target audience’s problems, but if they can’t find your business after a simple Google search, that’s a problem. If your business is still struggling to get on the first page of the SERPs, it’s time to take a hard look at your current SEO strategy. You may unknowingly be hurting your site’s SEO.
Getting onto the first page of Google will not only help you get customers, it will also increase the value of your company. And while more companies than ever are finally giving SEO the attention it deserves, it’s a difficult, time-intensive process. But it’s something every business should focus on if they want to compete and grow. We’ve put together five common SEO mistakes that you can easily fix this year to help you start rising in the rankings.
Mistake #1: Not Targeting The Right Keywords
Even if you think you know what your target audience is searching, you still need data to back up your decisions and to determine which keywords you should be targeting. Using an online SEO tool like Ahrefs or Moz will help you generate a list of keywords you should focus on ranking for since those are what your customers are using. Once you have that list, you’ll be able to tailor all of your content (ads, landing pages, website copy, etc.) to include those keywords and help search engines show your business to those potential customers.
If initial SEO keyword research is new to you, don’t be afraid to ask an SEO expert for some help and guidance to get you started. Since this will be the backbone of your SEO strategy, you want to be confident you’re doing it right. If your business is just getting off the ground, you can still try reaching out to SEO specialists to see if they’re willing to do some pro bono work—many SEO marketing agencies and freelancers are willing to help out with high-level SEO work as a way to build up a relationship with a future client. Once you start growing and can afford to partner with an agency, you’re more likely to go back to them, so it’s a win-win for both parties.
Mistake #2: Neglecting Your Website’s Blog
Many companies don’t pay enough attention to their website’s blog—that’s a big problem, since blogs are a goldmine for SEO opportunities. This year, spend some extra time cultivating your blog with content that’s relevant to your business’s industry, that’s helpful to your potential customers, and that’s perfectly laced with relevant keywords. Not only do well-written blog posts show you’re serious competition to your competitors, it helps Google’s search engine understand your site and show it to people who would actually find it helpful.
To figure out what types of content you should focus on, try thinking like your customer and researching what questions they have related to your industry. AlsoAsked and Answer The Public are great free tools to see what types of questions people are asking and to help guide your SEO-backed content marketing strategy.
If you already have a blog, make sure you’re also regularly updating content for an extra SEO boost. Update the keywords, switch out statistics with newer studies, and add new sections that would work well for Google’s featured snippets. These are easy opportunities to help your site’s SEO.
Mistake #3: Not Paying Attention To Local Traffic
Did you know that almost 50 percent of all Google searches are for local services? If you want your business to grow, focusing on your community and local traffic will be key. Since searches with local intent are more likely to buy, it’s the perfect opportunity to get sales with minimal effort.
Invest in local searches by:
- Setting up your Google My Business account to make it easier for people to find you
- Target keywords that have keywords such as “near me”, “today”, and “tonight”
- Create content that is focused on local news, events, and areas
- Create pages on your site that are focused on specific cities you’re interested in servicing or are located in
For example, if someone is looking for a place to go out to dinner, they’re most likely going to be searching for restaurants near them. If you’re an Indian restaurant located in Austin, you’re going to want to come up when someone searches for “Indian restaurant in Austin”. Since people searching for general “Indian food” may have different search intent like simply learning about the cuisine or looking up a recipe, you’re going to find actual customers by focusing on local terms.
Mistake #4: Not Putting In Backlinking Effort
Backlinking can be a time-consuming and stressful process, which is why a lot of businesses ignore it. But investing in backlinking can help you rise in the SERPs and help more people find your business. Google sees each backlink to your site essentially as a vote of confidence in your businesses, helping you rank higher and get more traffic. This year, take the time and effort to put together both an internal and external link building strategy to help give your website an SEO boost.
- External Link Building. This strategy works by providing helpful content—along with a link back to your own website—to other websites and having them publish it. Your content, usually an article or blog post, needs to be high-quality and the link’s anchor text should be natural and not sales focused. It’s a lengthy process and can be frustrating at times, but external link building can drastically improve your website’s SEO over time.
- Internal Link Building. This strategy is much quicker, easier, and a free way to improve SEO. By linking content and pages together with strategic links on keywords across your site, you can help Google and other search engines better understand your website’s content and site structure, which will help them show your site to more relevant audiences.
Google will be looking closer at content and links in 2021, so you need to make sure all of your SEO and link building strategies are above board and following the rules. That means no buying links. You will get caught and your website will take a massive SEO penalty, making it near impossible for people to organically find your business.
Mistake #5: Letting Your Site UX/UI Suffer
Making it easy for people to find your site is one thing, but getting them all the way to checkout is another hurdle altogether. 88 percent of online shoppers who use a site with poor UX never return. Make every visitor’s experience on your website a positive and helpful one so they not only buy your product, they come back again. When testing your site for proper UX and UI, make sure to ask yourself:
- How fast does it take to load your site?
- Is the interface (both on desktop and mobile) easy to navigate?
- Are the images and fonts high-quality? Is the size slowing down your site?
- Are the URLs SEO friendly?
- Is the sitemap user-friendly?
- Does the site content have keyword-rich and relevant headlines?
When you’re testing your site’s UX, you’ll want to look at the bounce rate and session duration to determine if your A/B testing is seeing any differences in user actions.
SEO can seem like a difficult thing to learn at first, since you don’t often see immediate results. But you should still take the time to make it a priority in your overall marketing strategy starting right now. Fix these SEO mistakes, and you’ll only understand your audience better, you’ll get more eyes on your site and help people become lifelong customers.
An author of Namaste UI, published several articles focused on blogging, business, web design & development, e-commerce, finance, health, lifestyle, marketing, social media, SEO, travel.
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