The 5 biggest SEO mistakes you can make – and how to avoid them.
You probably don’t need us to tell you what a critical part SEO has to play in your online marketing strategy. After all, if people can’t find you, they’re not going to be able to buy your goods or services, no matter how fantastic they might be.
But it continues to amaze us at Cefar just how many businesses are failing to make SEO a priority. Even worse, many are making some fairly basic mistakes that can only lead to them falling even further down the rankings.
Then, should they find themselves on the second page of Google rankings, it’s been estimated that only 9% of people who search will click through. That’s 91% of all potential customers who will have fallen by the wayside. With a stat like that, it becomes even easier to see just how important it is to get on to the first page – and the higher you can get, the better.
So here are five of the most common mistakes that can seriously hamper effective SEO, and how to avoid making them yourself.
Using duplicate content
In their eagerness to get as much content out and onto the internet, many businesses decide to take a shortcut and re-purpose anything from existing articles to brochure copy. If the material appears anywhere on the internet, Google is going to sniff it out and it will be automatically downgraded.
If the similarities are too great, then it will pretty much destroy any chance of it appearing in the results pages. Even pieces that only have a certain amount of similarity will be penalised and appear lower down the rankings.
Therefore, content needs to be 100% original. But originality isn’t enough on its own. It needs to be written to be engaging and informative too for the target audience. After all, amongst the general bombardment of information available on the internet, capturing, and holding, people’s attention is hard. And unless the content is professionally-written and compelling, a reader will simply stop reading.
Aiming for the wrong audience
We all know how important the use of keywords is in Search engine optimisation. In fact, there once was a time when they were really all that mattered. But as Google’s algorithms have gradually become more complex and sophisticated many other aspects have become important too.
It’s also brought very much into focus the subject of user intent and this leads, directly, to be able to target the right audience via the judicious use of the correct keywords.
So say, for example, we used the phrase “online marketing” in some content. This will more likely be a search term that people looking for general information about the subject will use. But we altered the wording to “online marketing services” the chances are that this will pick up the people who are looking for an agency to help them with their direct marketing. It may be a small and subtle difference, but the improvement in the results could be huge.
Overlooking mobile SEO
The way that people access the internet has changed massively in the last decade. Today, over 50% of searches are made using mobile devices. So, anyone who concentrates on creating beautiful websites for display on larger PC screens does so at their peril.
Google uses something called Mobile-First Indexing that gives preference to sites that have been optimised for the smaller screens of smartphones and tablets. This analyses a number of features including how fast the pages load onto mobile devices as well as how easy to navigate a mobile site is. As a rule of thumb, it should take no longer than 3 seconds to load or move from page to page.
It is also important that it fits well on the screen with any scrolling to be vertical, not horizontal. There are some programs like Fiverr that can convert sites automatically. But this is such a critical area, do you really want to leave it to an automated system when an expert digital agency could promise a much better, slicker result?
Using old SEO practices
We have already mentioned the old days when stuffing content with keywords was the way to go SEO-wise. Today this is almost as outdated as using a dial-up modem. Google is getting more and more sophisticated in its approach to creating rankings with fairly frequent updates to its practices.
While Google remains pretty secretive about how the algorithms work a combination of deduction and industry knowledge can help to give an innovative idea. There are also aspects that they are reasonably open about such as the need to follow good coding practice.
Knowing the current requirements, and making sure that they’re applied, is something else that is better left to the experts – and no one is more expert than we are at Cefar.
Not using analytics efficiently
While Google may not be the most helpful organisation in the world when it comes to explaining their ranking processes, it’s quite different when it comes to analytics. There is a wealth of information that they will share with you that can tell you all sorts of things including:
- How much traffic your site is getting
- Where it’s coming from
- The most effective keywords you are using
- If your paid advertising is succeeding
- Which pages are the most popular
- How long people spend on your website
- What’s driving conversions.
While data like this is useful, it also needs expert interpretation, as well as the ability to act on the conclusions that are reached.
Therefore, at Cefar, we run regular sessions with all of our clients to take a microscopic view of what’s working, what isn’t, and how to make some general improvements. We also have all the skills in house to make these happen, whether it’s generating new and original content, making key pages even harder-working or targeting the most responsive consumers.
So, if you’d like a little help with your own Search engine optimisation, you know who to contact – and we’ll soon have you rising up the rankings