Does this sound familiar? You have elected to focus on search marketing, optimizing your website so that it will earn organic, natural, and free traffic from search results. Therefore, you investigate the top industry keywords and start identifying topics that will open the flood gates and attract a ton of new website visitors. Excited, you spend a lot of time and effort, expecting to see impressive results. Yet, after months of putting in the work, the traffic growth has been slow. Is that something close to the problem you are having?
It is extremely frustrating when honest investment and hard work does not produce a good outcome or return on investment. The good news is that often the issue is easily corrected. In many instances, a few tweaks are all that is needed to start seeing improved results. Therefore, today's article provides an overview of the common SEO mistakes that are likely hurting your rank within search results.
Common Keyword Mistakes
The very first step of a search marketing strategy is good keyword research. Yet, this can often become more difficult than you may expect. Here are the common keyword mistakes to avoid.
- Poor Keyword Research - Many small businesses will research the top industry keywords, but will not take the time to link keywords to their customer's language or search intent. What are the actual terms and phrases your customers use for search?
- Targeting Unrealistic Keywords - The top keywords are also the most competitive. It is difficult for a small business to fight for position against larger, more popular websites. Focus on a tighter niche by targeting long tail keywords and narrower topics.
- Selecting Unrelated Keywords - It is critical to always use the language of your customers. As an example, consider a real estate agent who specializes in selling condominiums. She will likely have more success using "condos for sale" than "homes for sale".
- Picking Keywords with No Traffic - The advantage of targeting long tail keywords is that less traffic equates to less competition. However, if the phrase does not garner any substantial traffic, it will not do much to improve your SEO.
- Not Using Data and Analytics - If you are attempting to rank for a keyword, it is important to look at your data and evaluate the success. If you don't take this critical step, you will never know when to start targeting more competitive keywords or choose other long tail keywords.
Common Structural Mistakes
Having a good site structure provides a number of benefits, from helping contribute to a great user experience to building a solid SEO foundation. A good site structure means that search spiders will have an easier time crawling your website, indexing your pages and improving results.
- Missing or Hidden Cornerstone Content - Essentially, cornerstone content is long-form content that is highly targeted and optimized for one or two keywords. It is the foundation of all other content written on the same topic. Visitors should reach these pages within just 2 or 3 clicks from any entry point.
- The Lack of Breadcrumbs - The use of breadcrumbs help to inform both search crawlers and website visitors how the current pages fit within the site's overall structure. This will improve navigation and can assist search engines with site links.
- Having Far Too Many Tags - You have likely seen tags everywhere: blogs, forums, reviews. Moreover, some people like to make their tags very specific. The purpose of tags is to steer visitors and search engines towards more information. Regardless, if a tag is linked to only one or two pieces of content, it is not very useful.
- Not Mapping Out the Structure - The final mistake is not taking the time to actually map out the website's structure. By doing this, you will have a good overview of your website and can improve site navigation. Visitors and search engines should be able to find your content with ease.
Common Copywriting Mistakes
Improving your content is one of the best ways to give your search rank a boost. Unfortunately, simple mistakes can flush all your hard work down the drain. A seemingly innocent misstep can have a big impact on your position within search results or worse, can cause you to get penalized by Google.
- No Keyword Research - The only thing worse than bad keyword research is none at all. While contextual search has lessened the value of keywords, they still play a vital role and should be taken seriously. Without a doubt, all good content writing begins with keyword research.
- No Unique Value - While content is king, writing content for content sake does not produce a good search rank. Content must provide either unique information or a fresh perspective. Even on topics that seem overwritten, it is very important to find a way to be uniquely valuable to visitors.
- Duplicate Content - In the eyes of Google, one of the biggest sins you can commit is publishing duplicate content, even if it is your own. A very common example is the manufacture product descriptions used by online shopping websites. Create your own descriptions if you want to stand out and rank higher.
- Keyword Stuffing - There was a time when keyword stuffing was one of the tricks of the trade. However, those days have long past. Today, overusing a keyword can get you penalized. Additionally, search algorithms have a better understanding of context. This allows you to write in a more natural way.
- Poor Readability - Avoid complicated sentences and difficult words. A large component of SEO copywriting is readability. You are not "dumbing down" your content, but it should be easy to read and comprehend. Therefore, for most websites, shoot for an 8th-grade reading level. A visitor must be able to clearly understand the information.
To learn more about how to improve your marketing strategies, give us a call at 661-702-1310!