Here’s the thing about digital marketing and SEO – everyone thinks they can do it. Granted, there are some components of digital marketing that even the uninitiated can do, like claim and optimize a Google My Business page for their business. However, some aspects are much more complex, making it easy to make small mistakes that can have disastrous results for the success of your SEO strategy.
This all stems from the misconception that SEO is all about keywords and little else. Sure, keywords are a big focus, but Google uses more than 200 ranking factors to determine a webpage’s placement in search results, so obviously there’s a lot more going on than just a few well-placed words.
There are many ways to do SEO wrong, but also many ways to get it right. While Google might use a couple hundred ranking factors, the majority of importance is on only a few, and the difference between great SEO and search engine optimization that falls flat is understanding which ones really matter and avoiding the common mistakes that can affect them.
As professionals in SEO, we see businesses making the same mistakes and then becoming discouraged with their lack of digital performance. We don’t want you to suffer the same fate, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the biggest SEO mistakes and how you can avoid them.
1. The Keyword Conundrum
Let’s start with the ranking factor that many people think defines SEO – keywords. Keyword usage is important for gaining visibility online and has become even more meaningful as the focus on local SEO and voice search has ramped up in the last few years. Keywords are an integral part of SEO, but there are many ways that businesses can miss the mark when using them.
Keyword Strategy Lacks Research
Optimizing your content to get found in search begins with a keyword strategy. The first rule of optimizing keywords--don’t make guesses! This is especially important for local SEO where long-tail phrases and natural speech patterns dominate the way we approach keyword usage. To begin planning your keyword strategy, Google provides a tool you should be using -- Google’s Keyword Planner -- to help optimize your content.
Don’t Stuff Keywords
You want to avoid excessive keyword optimization, which means not stuffing your content with keywords. Google doesn’t like this, and neither does your audience. Integrate your keywords into your content in a natural way. Remember, you are writing for people, not search bots.
Don’t use the same basic set of keywords in every piece of your content. Instead, branch out and differentiate your content by including different high performing keywords. This is key to attracting a larger audience and providing them with greater value through your content.
2. Creating Content “Just Because”
You’ve probably heard before that content is king. In a sense this is true because content is your primary vehicle for delivering your brand’s voice and value to your audience. But, the focus on content has caused too many businesses to just start pushing it out just for the sake of doing so, thinking that the more they have out there in the digital universe the better their chances of gaining visibility.
This is the wrong approach.
The modern consumer has no interest in irrelevant content, and it does nothing to solidify your brand image. Plus, low quality or duplicated content will cause your SEO to take a major hit.
Another bad move for your SEO is taking content that’s already been created and “spinning” it just enough to make it pass plagiarism checks. Your content should build your brand’s exposure and communicate your authority, which is impossible to do with content that has been rehashed or thrown together quickly just for the sake of getting something on the page.
The solution? Invest time in quality content creation that includes research of your audience and the highest performing keywords.
Your brand is unique and valuable, quality content is the way to communicate this.
3. Poor Link Strategy
Links are another important component for your SEO. Not only is it a good move to link to other high-quality, authoritative sites within your content, you also want a strategy that encourages other businesses and influencers to link back to you. Some businesses don’t pay attention to links at all, while others focus on only the inbound or outbound links. Both of these approaches are mistakes.
Building links into your content is relatively easy, but getting others to link to you requires more of a strategy. In our experience, businesses work too hard to achieve this - yes, we said they work too hard.
We often see businesses expending lots of energy creating guest posts, performing outreach and making an attempt at influencer marketing. These work, but they’re also a big drain on your resources.
Instead of going to so much effort, why not start with a piece of your own content that others want to share without much prompting? This all circles around to the above point of focusing on quality content that others will find interesting and relevant enough to share and link to on their own pages.
4. Neglecting Local SEO
A common mistake small businesses tend to make is not understanding the difference between standard SEO and the type of SEO strategies that attract local customers. For businesses that are dependent upon a community customer base, local SEO is the key to unlocking visibility, creating authority and respect and showcasing your talent and expertise.
Local SEO requires a specialized approach that includes optimizing your strategy to appear in the local three pack through tactics like a customized GMB page, local keyword usage, locally focused content and more.
5. Doing It All Yourself
By far, the most impactful mistake we see is businesses attempting to handle every aspect of SEO themselves. There’s too much involved and too much at stake to not consider handing over the responsibility to an experienced SEO agency.
Is your performance and visibility something you really want to risk in such a highly competitive digital landscape?
We have all the solutions to make your SEO strategy one that performs. Contact DigitalMX today and learn more about our services and how we can elevate your brand’s presence online.