Everyone makes mistakes—and that’s OK! When treading water in the world of search engine optimization (SEO), it’s easy to drift in the wrong direction. After all, we only have control of our SEO results to a point—before the whim of Google wields its influence. There are actions you can take, however, to give Google a nudge in your favor. In an effort to better your search rankings, avoid these frequent SEO mistakes.
- Ignoring your site’s mobile version. When sitting down to tend to your website, you are likely doing so on a desktop; however, think about how many times you look at a website on your smart phone or tablet vs. your desktop computer. Your website visitors are no different. In fact, because so many people use the internet in mobile fashion, just this year Google switched to mobile-first indexing, which means it looks at the mobile version of your site first when considering your search ranking. You could have a great desktop version of your site, but if your mobile version is lacking, it’s likely hurting you in terms of SEO.
- Using too-broad keywords. Trying to rank for keywords that are too wide-sweeping is another among our frequent SEO mistakes. Here’s an example. If you’re a used car dealership, then you might think that you should try to rank for the keyword “used car dealership.” While this is not wrong, your efforts are better spent making your keyword more narrowed. In optimizing your site or page for “used car dealership,” you are competing with all of the used car dealerships across the world. Instead, try adding your location to the keyword so you will only be competing with other used car dealerships in your area, i.e. “used car dealership in Auburn, Alabama.” You will have a better chance of ranking that way.
- Not driving traffic to your site. So you’ve built a website, and it’s optimized for keywords—great! However, there’s another piece of the equation, and that involves inviting people to actually visit your website. One important way to make sure web users are finding your site is by making sure each of your site’s pages has an accurate and keyword-optimized meta description. The meta description is what will appear to search engine users—and what will let them know whether or not they should click on your site based on its content.
- Forgetting to populate your site with quality content. Your website layout may be stellar, but what about the content? Content is one of the most overlooked factors in terms of SEO. Length of copy, originality and readability are all variables that Google takes into consideration when determining your search ranking. However, ultimately you should focus on populating your site with engaging, relevant content that appeals to your site visitors. If you do that, then SEO should follow.
- Failing to incentivize people to stay. SEO success is not only about getting people to click on your site; it’s also about getting people to spend time there. The quality content we mentioned in the previous point can certainly help, but you should also incite action among your website visitors in an effort to have them click-through the site. Buttons like “Buy Now,” “Read More” and “Sign Up” are all options for encouraging web users to continue exploring your site.
- Limiting your presence to just your site. Having your site optimized to rank highly in search is one thing, but you should not limit yourself to your own website. The internet is a vast place, and the more reputable places your site appears, the higher Google is likely to rank you. Make it a point to create engaging content for other websites, and then have those sites link back to yours.
- Not claiming your Google My Business listing. Google My Business is a completely free way for your business to improve its SEO and to simultaneously make a positive first impression on potential customers by providing them helpful information about your brand. Google My Business is Google’s own tool, so it’s one that you should pay attention to in order to curry favor with the search engine. Read more about why Google My Business is critical to your SEO strategy and how to optimize your Google My Business listing.
- Overlooking the need for consistent SEO. After making an effort to avoid all of these frequent SEO mistakes, don’t forget this last one. Search engine optimization should not be a one-time thing. In fact, if you treat it as such, we can almost guarantee that you will not see the results you want. Continue creating and posting fresh content, connecting with other sites, choosing relevant keywords and driving traffic to your site throughout the course of your site’s lifetime, (which we hope will be a long and happy one!).
Avoid these frequent SEO mistakes to set yourself up for a more successful search engine ranking situation. Need help? McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.