In today’s business climate, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an integral part of the growth cycle of a new business to help gain wider notoriety and find potential new customers.
SEO is a powerhouse marketing tool and is steadily growing, taking a prominent place at the table in any businesses annual marketing budget board meeting.
In 2016 $65 billion was spent, and in 2017 the figure was just over $72 billion with Forbes forecast pinning the industry in the US to be worth around $80 billion by 2020’s spend. In the US the average business spends $5000 per month on SEO and supporting strategies.
Even though we are in an era of technological advancements and perks you still do not become an expert by reading a handful of blogs. There are plenty of pitfalls and easy mistakes to make, so here we take a look at many stumbling blocks that new business owners run into with SEO.
Organic SEO is an investment and a necessary one to grow a business, and given the fact you’ll be spending good money on it, you should have a few pointers to avoid making basic mistakes at the start. Here I list some common mistakes that new website and business owners tend to make, try to avoid these below.
Common Mistakes to make when starting SEO
Using ineffective keywords and ‘keyword stuffing’ are two common issues that arise.
When using a company make sure their keyword research is interlinked with every aspect of your business and fits in with what you would search for if looking for your products or services.
Long-tail keywords are becoming vastly popular because these are more specific than the usual keywords, they consist of three and four keyword phrases which are very specific and more geared at the type of research that typically a consumer does when they are in the process of making a buying decision.
Make sure you understand how Google now reads your content. An acceptable amount of natural keywords within your content will suffice.
However, the constant repetition of a keyword(s) in your text where it becomes unnatural will alert Google, it is known as ‘Keyword stuffing’. Bear in mind that it is not just Google you need to look out for, many of today’s readers are savvy and will see it as loaded content and quickly flip to another site, remember your potential customer base are never short of alternate options online.
2.Pay attention to making your site mobile-friendly
In the past two to three years the world has seen a massive shift in internet usage from laptops and desktop to mobile. Currently, as of the fourth quarter, 2018 over 50 per cent of all internet traffic is mobile. In the very near future, all websites will be designed ‘mobile first’, if your site is not optimised for mobile don’t panic but you will need to ensure it is mobile and tablet friendly, again both for Google who give a boost for mobile-friendly sites and the opposite for non-mobile friendly sites.
If you are unsure if your site has been designed ‘mobile friendly’ a simple browse through your site with a smartphone will enlighten you. If you can’t read certain sections and images don’t fit on the screen, then it needs working on.
Ensure you get your site optimised for mobile use. It helps your rankings and garners new business.
3.Keeping Broken Links
Broken links equate to a loss of credibility with the search engines. This comes across that your site is poorly maintained and that you are not concentrating on customer value when they search.
When people spend time searching your site and click through on a call-to-action only to find nothing, they will not stick around.
Google ranking invariably will drop when you have broken links as the search engines have been created for people to be able to find the information they require, if you are not providing that then the search engine won’t support you, so make sure everything on your site is always functional and up-to-date.
4.Irrelevant Content and Correct Images
Over the years the search engine’s algorithm has shifted toward valuing content higher than any other factor.
The content now acts as the foundation of your website, and it must be well written, error-free, engaging and keyword friendly.
Don’t invest in cheap below-par write-up’s, any articles being written and submitted for link building purposes must be proofed; otherwise you are losing credibility both with your readers and the search engines.
Imagery although now doesn’t carry as many ranking points as your content, are very important to support it. Visualisation still works and if used correctly is a great selling tool. Get relevant high-resolution images and make sure whoever is designing your website and article submissions is sure to ‘optimise’ the images for faster load-up speed for your site, slow sites are now heavily punished by Google.
Tip: You don’t always have to buy or use stock photos, you can create your own.
5.Overlooking Meta descriptions and title tags
Meta descriptions and title tags are crucial to your content, and your optimisation depends on it. Even if you have all your other components in good working order and informative content the search engines will not be able to identify you and crawl your website without them.
A Meta description gives a brief but poignant overview of what your business does or for an article what is in it.
6.Not contacting and Using Social Media Influencers
Apart from optimisation of your site another tool you have to bring awareness is social media. The most effective way is having a working relationship with ‘social media influencers’ who will endorse your products or services to their followers.
It’s a crucial factor – do not overlook it, as it can be the difference between growth and stagnancy.
Another potential missed opportunity is not having strategically placed buttons both on your site or articles for people to share it, without them you are staring at missed opportunities, let people share your information.
This is a simple message – DONT GET LAZY.
It’s understandable when setting up a business, there are significant overheads and set-up considerations, some of these being physical such as office space and staff, so content can easily be overlooked and corners cut.
Taking the easy road and copying another company’s content may save you set-up time but it will land you in the penalty zone with the search engines. It will not slip through the net.
Again think about your credibility with both readers and the search engines, get creative and if you don’t have the time, you may find someone in the ranks with a special talent for article writing. Your web design company or if you are using separate companies, your SEO company should undertake this for you.
8.Keeping track of your progress
After publishing articles or posting in blogs, many website owners overlook their analytics and don’t keep up with what happened after the post. It’s far from over at that stage.
A Failure to keep abreast of your analytics will blind you to your actual progress. In this case, you don’t need to consider finances, look at Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics these are both free and ideal for tracking your progress and knowing where you stand.
Everybody makes mistakes, its normal but with online marketing, mistakes can get you penalised, and it takes as much time to recover from these mistakes as it took to grow your ranking in the first place organically. Understand that SEO rankings are now intrinsically linked to your website and any articles you submit are crucial. Make sure you utilise a website design company or a creative digital agency that has designed and hosted your site for some of the above as Google is ranking both your web design and SEO as one so be sure to make an engaging website to help your SEO results.
James Row is a passionate blogger and professional software developer who started his career in website development Melbourne, plays an active role in web designs and looks to keep you informed about the industry.