When you're running a small business, or you've just started out in SEO, mistakes can be easy to make, especially when you're in a rush to optimise the website and its content.
But don't panic though; we're here to help you through this somewhat tricky process and ensure you don't fall into the traps many other small business owners do.
Here are the top 7 mistakes that new businesses and SEOs make;
1. Not starting SEO early enough
Many small businesses think that simply having a website is enough to generate them sales enquiries. While this is important, yes, it's also vital that effective search engine optimisation is carried out; and that's not something that can wait. Content creation and search engine optimisation should really go hand-in-hand so as soon as you're writing content for the website (or having it written for you), you should be having your site optimised for your targeted keywords too.
By combining the two at the same stage of your website design process, you're giving yourself the best chance of not only being found on Google and the other search engines but also encouraging website visitors to actually pick up the phone and call you or send you an enquiry via email.
2. Not understanding their audience and their search intent
One of the biggest mistakes that any small business or search engine optimisation specialist can make is not understanding the target audience and their search intent. While it is important that your website is written in such a way that Google and the other search engines will find it and place it high in its rankings, it's also imperative that your content is compelling to your audience.
The easiest way of ensuring this is to effectively research your target audience and understand exactly what makes them tick; what are they looking for in a service and what are they hoping to achieve from searching online? If you're then able to fulfill that intent, both the search engines and the audience will reward your site. With the latest algorithm changes from Google, it's now even more a case of what is good for the audience will be good for the search engines.
3. Not choosing low-competition keywords
Any small business website, whether long-standing or brand new, is going to struggle to rank highly for incredibly competitive keywords and phrases. So it's remarkable just how many small businesses or SEO specialists focus exclusively on these high-competition keywords straight out of the gate.
The best thing you can do to avoid this pitfall is to find, research and focus on low-competition keywords instead. By doing so, you'll make it far more feasible for the website to climb the search engine rankings and grow the site's traffic and reputation in the process. As time progresses and the reputation of the website grows exponentially, you can then turn to the more competitive keywords where you might have more success.
4. Targeting broad search terms rather than specific keywords and phrases
Small business owners just starting out, and even some SEO specialists, may think that targeting and focusing on basic and broad search terms is the best place to start. Whereas, it's actually better and more beneficial for small businesses to target more specific and 'long-tail' terms and keywords.
The chances are that if someone is inputting a broad term into Google or any other search engine, they're either still in the process of learning about a specific service or product or not yet ready to make a purchase. Meanwhile, people searching for long-tail and more specific terms and keywords are far more likely to be looking to make a purchase.
In addition, broad search terms are usually high-competition keywords too; so as stated above, it's going to be far harder for you to rank highly for these terms anyway.
5. Keyword stuffing
Sadly, this 'technique' is still used by many small business owners and SEO 'experts'. Essentially, it's the practice of using as many keywords as possible on a page to try and win favour with Google and the other search engines. However, all this does is annoy the search engines and have awkward content that creates a bad user experience.
Nowadays, the search engines, especially Google, are too clever to be fooled by keyword stuffing. In fact, they're now more likely to find and penalise the sites that are doing it than ever before.
Avoid this major mistake by producing text content that legitimately satisfies an audience's search intent and pleases Google and the other search engines in the process.
6. Simply focusing on keywords and nothing else
For many small businesses and those just starting out in search engine optimisation, it's easy to forget about the various SEO-enhancing details and techniques that must be included on every page of the website. Just because things like meta descriptions and alt tags aren't visible on the surface of the content, it doesn't make them any less worthwhile or important when it comes to SEO.
In fact, page titles, meta descriptions, image file names and alt tags are all essential in shaping how Google and the other search engines view your website's pages. The page title, meta description and page URL all controls the text that is displayed on not only search engine results but also when they're shared on social media too.
While these details are completely invisible on the pages themselves, any small business or SEO specialist should pay strict attention to them all to try and yield the best click-through rates, website visits and sales enquiries.
7. Not adding high-quality internal links
Once you've succeeded in bringing a potential client to your website, you can't just sit back and relax. You want (and need) to keep them there, and one of the ways you can do this is by having quality and effective internal links to other pages of your site.
Unfortunately, many small business owners neglect to add quality links throughout their websites; and they're missing out. By providing effective and quality internal links across your website, you will be giving your visitors easy access to other pieces of content that logically flow from the page they are on.
These seven mistakes are the most common traps that sadly many small business owners and SEO specialists fall into. But now you're much better armed to avoid making these same mistakes yourself!
Of course, if you'd rather have a professional, trusted and experienced SEO company look after your website and not have to worry about doing any of it yourself, speak to the Smart Domain Group today! We've generated thousands of sales enquiries for our SEO clients over the years and know everything there is to know about effective, proven and Google-friendly search engine optimisation.
- Search Engine Optimisation,