As a business owner, you most likely already know that SEO is essential to help you stay in business. The problem is that SEO techniques keep changing.
Therefore, it is crucial to stay abreast of what counts as good SEO practices. In the early days of search engine optimization, SEO techniques were, for the most part, simple and straightforward.
As search engines got better as a result of more complex algorithms, the standards of SEO changed along with it.
Nowadays, marketers and business owners, especially small business owners, need to take a lot of more minor things into account to get noticed by potential customers.
The main reason for this is that getting ranked high on search engines is the difference between night and day.
If your website is not within the first five or six sites on the search page, the likelihood of getting ignored by customers is very high. The following are some of the more common SEO mistakes that you can avoid making as you go into 2020.
1. Be More Specific
Businesses, even larger ones, are learning that being too general in their ad campaigns is a mistake. In the old days of advertising, companies hoped the right people would notice their ads. Not so anymore.
With the arrival of the Internet of things, it is now possible to be not just specific, but very specific when trying to get noticed by the public. Even though the Internet is vast, you can still use it to find and target your exact audience.
The following questions deal with specific SEO techniques.
- Are you targeting men or women?
- What age group are you targeting?
- Do you have a specific geographic location in mind?
- Are you considering income and education levels?
The idea here is to try and figure who exactly your customer base is. Keep asking yourself questions regarding who you want to notice your products or service.
2. Keywords are Still in Fashion
The next SEO mistake that is surprisingly common has to do with keywords. Keywords are still an integral part of SEO, and it will be for the foreseeable future. However, what has changed is the usage of keywords.
There was a time not too long ago when all you needed to do was to stuff content with relevant keywords, and the search engines would pick it up, but this is no longer the case, mainly because it is no longer possible to “fool” search engine by such gimmicks.
But there is more to it than smarter algorithms. The software the search engines use is now looking for specific keywords, not just the number of times it appears.
The only way to remedy SEO mistakes involving keywords is by researching the right keywords to use. There are tools available to help you with finding proper keywords, including Google’s Keyword Planner.
3. SEO Mistakes in the era of Smartphones
You are living in an age where everyone and their grandparents are using mobile phones, especially smartphones. Smartphones are, after all, small computers that fit in your pocket.
Most people are now using smartphones to do Internet searches, including staying in touch with other people on social media. What does all this mean in the context of SEO mistakes?
It means that websites need to be optimized for smartphones as well. Google has made it clear that search engine rankings will be affected if mobile optimization hasn’t been taken care of.
Fortunately, it is not difficult to make your site mobile friendly, as long as you follow some steps, and there are plenty of tutorials available for business owners who do not have a marketing team.
4. On-site SEO Mistakes
A fairly common mistake done when websites are created is forgetting about on-site SEO. Many business owners tend to focus on off-site optimization and forget about on-site work.
The concept of on-site optimization is simple; the meta description tags and the title need to be optimized for the page to get a respectable ranking in search engines.
In short, it is the meta descriptions and the title that search engines look at when deciding the relevancy of the site.
You could have the best website in the world, but if the title and meta descriptions do not match the quality of the website, it will not get noticed.
5. Social Media SEO Mistakes
Just as smartphones have become a game-changer in people’s lives, social media has also become an integral part of keeping in touch with people and knowing what’s going on in the world.
Hence, it was only a matter of time before social media became a tool for marketers. To get ranked high in searches, one of the parameters Google and all other search engines will look at is social media presence.
If the search engines notice a strong engagement of your brand in social media, the more it will get ranked high in searches.
6. Sloth Sites and Crashes
So far, we have looked at the content side of things. But what about the site itself? An analogy that can be used here is a vessel and its contents. If a website is a vessel, then what it is showing viewers is its contents.
The vessel also needs to be in good shape. Search engines do not treat slow loading websites kindly. Another issue is error codes. Google will not tolerate websites that keep crashing, and if it isn’t dealt with in time, it will affect the reputation of your site.
Fortunately, there are tools available to check for errors and other issues that may affect your website. As far as SEO mistakes are concerned, having websites that do not function properly is one of the worst mistakes a webmaster can make.
7. Not Using Analytical Tools
Unless you are running a big company with lots of staff and funding to work with, it can be expensive to hire someone to see how things are going on the SEO front. Thankfully, there are tools, even free tools to help you analyze matters and make sure you’re not making any SEO mistakes. By far the most popular of these is Google Analytics. In a nutshell, SEO analytical tools will let you know how viewers of your site interact with it. From keywords to content to ranking, traffic and domain-related issues, it all can be diagnosed and fixed with the help of SEO analytic tools.
Some Honorable Mentions When It Comes to SEO Mistakes
The “devil is in the details” as the old saying goes, and it can also be applied to SEO mistakes. For example, take optimized anchors. An optimized anchor is an anchor text used as a keyword to link to another site.
And Google will look at anchor texts as part of their search algorithms. The next item on the list as far as SEO mistakes are concerned is links or backlinks.
The thing to watch out for is that the quantity of the backlinks is more important than quality. The bottom line is that with a little attention and care, it is possible to create websites that get picked up and prioritized by search engines.
Updated: 18 January 2021