One of the major goals of any business owner is to raise their business/brand awareness. A business owner has to keep their website beefed-up with great content as well as keep their social media accounts active with fresh content to keep their audience engaged and rise higher in search engine rankings. However, even after following tried-and-tested online marketing strategies, a lot of small businesses struggle making more sales online. What could they be doing wrong?
While it’s true that there’s a lot of information on effective SEO strategies that promise good results, however, only few of those resources actually address the mistakes that many small business owners fall victim to. By reviewing these mistakes, business owners can immediately pinpoint where they went wrong and take proper actions to make improvements, which will result in a more efficient use of their time, energy, and other resources.
Here are the top five common SEO mistakes that we see most business owners make:
1. Using Wrong Keywords
Before the Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, small businesses could create content by “stuffing keyword” (using many instances of same keyword in the content) and achieve higher rankings in Google and other search engine pages. However, a lot of un-relevant content started to display in the search engines just because Google’s search engine algorithm wasn’t sophisticated enough to detect this manipulation.
Later, Google solved this issue by rolling out algorithm updates, which penalised sites that used SEO tactics like “keyword stuffing.” Now that most small businesses are aware of the keyword stuffing and how it is counterproductive to their SEO campaigns, many are still worrying about what keywords to target and how many keyword should be used in the content they publish. We suggest that you do not worry about all this now. Instead, focus on creating content that will invite your users/visitors for engagement and conversation, the type of content that is more likely to be shared rather than trying to figure out the right dose of keyword your content needs.
2. Failing to Produce High Quality Content
Every business owner understands that they need to publish high quality content on their business website to engage, entertain, and increase conversions, but most really do not know how to measure the quality of their content. Most of them publish content once a week, and at best, publish content that has nothing to do with their business – recent get-togethers with their friends, weekend party at a bar or a lounge – and wonder why they do not achieve success.
The indicators of quality content varies by industry, but here are few most important ones that Google uses:
- – Proper grammar and spelling
- – Proper user of header tags, italics, bold, and other text markup
- – The length of the content (the longer, the better)
- – Expertise of the content author
- – Inclusion of other media besides texts, such as images (infographics), video, and audio.
- – Links coming from external high authority sites/blogs
- – Social shares of the content
So, before you publish another content on your company blog, ask these questions:
- 1. Does this content add value to my readers?
- 2. Is the author expert in this niche/subject?
- 3. Would my readers like to share this content with their circles – friends, family, co-workers, ex GFs?
- 4. Is my content visually attractive, or does it just look like a wall of text?
3. Fake Link Building
Getting inbound links is another important factor in Google search engine algorithm. Unfortunately, that’s the extent of knowledge that business owners have about inbound links. They hire cheap SEO company to build hundreds, or even thousands of links in order to influence quick and easy rankings in Google search engines. Can you imagine the end result? A complete backfire: Google penalises the rankings of their site so far down the results that they might not as well even be there.
The penalties are an effort by Google to discourage companies to use low value link building schemes that are only meant to influence search engine rankings artificially. Yes, link building is absolutely important for an effective SEO campaign, but it also must be done in a way that achieves positive results while also avoids unnecessary risks.
One of the ways to build credibility, authority, and reach out to major publishers is to perform Guest blogging. It’s the legitimate and fantastic way of building links.
4. Failing to Measure
Internet is full of free tracking tools (Google Analytics, Feedburner, StatsCounter, AWStats, etc.) that measure website traffic, page visits, and conversion rates. Failing to use these free tools to measure the effectiveness of your SEO efforts is one of the worst mistakes you could make as a small business owner.
Using these tools, you can monitor each every campaign you run to determine its ROI. For example, if a large PPC (paid-per-click) campaign fails to deliver results the first time you run it, you can review the campaign and analyse what didn’t work. And then, each time you launch a PPC campaign, you can make small changes and see what changes actually delivers better results for you.
There’s a lot of buzz about ‘Big Data’. If your competitors are gathering data while you are not, you may already be losing. No, you don’t have to hire a top-notch data analysis to keep track of your data. Simply start with free analytic software (mentioned above) and expand as you require.
5. Failing to Convert
Many small business owners focus only on traffic while forgetting about optimizing conversion rates. Traffic and conversion are crucial and they rely on each other: without one, the other won’t matter at all. You may have great content, but you may still fail to compel your potential customers to buy. It’s crucial to introduce your brand to your customers, but it is also important to encourage your customers to take action that will increase conversion rates.
You can move your customers from simply reading your content into taking action by following tips described in “How to Craft Effective Calls to Action in Your Content.” You can also use the same conversion tips on your blog posts, articles, sales copy, and social media posts.
If you’re making these 5 SEO mistakes in your online marketing endeavors, you could be wasting your time, energy, and money. Want to learn what works in SEO? Try reading our article on, “Beginners Guide to On-Page SEO”.
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