Even though an overwhelming majority of site designers might consider the issue of search engine optimization (SEO) when they develop content, it’s likely that they’re using dated techniques. Advice that used to be solid could very well be questionable today, which is one of the big reasons that people may not be rating as high in the rankings as they should be.
Natural language models based around AI-driven algorithms still have some serious problems, so it seems like SEO skills are going to be in demand for many years to come.
Take a look at this list of common mistakes and see if there are any you could improve on when it comes to managing your own eCommerce platform.
1. Relying Too Much on a Keyword Planner
Since it’s free, nearly everyone in the search marketing industry has tried Google’s Keyword Planner. This means that your competition is using it just as much as you are. As a result, there’s a good chance that any keywords suggested by it will have already been used by someone else. To make matters worse, the term “competition” is understood by this tool to mean competition on Google’s AdWords service rather than actual competition from other companies trying to rate for the same keywords that your firm is.
That’s not to say that these tools are bad. In fact, you should take the opportunity to use them each time you start developing a new page or post. What you don’t want to do, however, is rely solely on them because there’s a strong possibility someone else is too. Check other sites, especially those that rank well, to see what the ideal keywords are in your particular market and base your content off of that keyword research as well.
2. Not Keeping up to Date With Algorithm Changes
Chances are that you’ve heard plenty of people complain about how their site suddenly got buried as a result of Google’s search algorithm changing. While this is a serious issue that impacts many small business owners who rely on organic search traffic, most people can dramatically reduce the risk of their site suffering in the rankings by keeping an eye out for announcements. Google, as well as other search services, generally make announcements before they start tinkering with their search systems.
Consider following Google’s official social developer accounts, which always point out when this kind of drastic change is coming. You might also want to consider reading an all-encompassing SEO blog, which can help you stay in touch with the search world at large. Reading blog and forum posts from search industry insiders could actually prove even more effective than following the official accounts because these experts tend to cut through the marketing speak and focus on what’s really important.
3. Creating Too Little Content
Sites that have a large number of product descriptions, such as eCommerce platforms that sell many different types of individual products, often can’t get their pages to rank as highly because catalog listings don’t have enough content for search engines to latch onto. Some people claim that Google prefers pages that have at least 1,000 words of text on them. While you don’t want to start copying content from one section of your site to another, you should make sure that every post has a sufficient amount of material on it. Consider using a Site Explorer tool to locate leaner areas.
4. Neglecting Technical SEO Techniques
There’s a good possibility that most small business owners and site managers simply aren’t familiar with the concept of technical SEO, but it’s quickly become a big part of the industry. This technique involves optimizing a site not for search engines themselves but instead for the spiders that power them. Companies that want to use this should reduce the time it takes for their site to load and optimize the rendering process. Too many images, videos or animations can slow down a site, which in turn will cause it to rank poorly on Google and other search engines. Those who lack XML sitemaps and HTTPS security will also rank poorly, or not at all.
5. Forgetting About New Technologies
When the WebP image format got released in 2010, few site operators paid much attention because it seemed to generate very poor images. However, these pictures loaded quickly, so it was helpful for those attempting to rank based on technical SEO techniques. Now that that the AVIF image format is starting to become popular, you’d think that many people would be turning to it. However, it’s still used by a relatively small number of sites.
There’s no reason that you should rush to reformat your entire site every single time a new browser standard comes out. That could actually cause problems for mobile users, who don’t normally get updates as fast as desktop users. However, you’ll want to keep these solutions in mind because they could solve some problems you might otherwise not be able to easily address.
6. Not Fixing Broken Links
Google’s Index Coverage algorithm prefers to follow links, so it might rate down sites with a large number of broken ones. If your eCommerce platform automatically removes listings when a product sells, then you’ll want to author some sort of script that updates other internal links to avoid ending up with a mess of broken ones.
7. Making the Wrong Kind of Links
SEO specialists have long been saying that links to a “Contact Us” or “About Us” page are the best for small business owners, but many people continue to instead add a number of long-tail contextual links that could unintentionally look like spam to a crawl agent.
Though it can be a difficult balance to strike, you don’t want to have too many links like this in your content. Consider setting up a very simple plain-text sitemap instead of adding all of these contextual ones. It can increase the overall number of links for crawlers to latch onto without making your site look like spam.
Don’t forget about other search engines, either. While Google might be the biggest player, you’ll want to keep an eye on what’s going on with everyone else’s favorite online tools so you can stay ahead of the competition.