People who don’t understand SEO may think it works like magic, especially when there are unscrupulous parties offering to deliver top page rank in no time flat. The truth is that optimizing a website and/or blog is a complex process, and obtaining prime rankings on Google and other search engines could take months of diligence.
Along the way, you’re bound to make a few mistakes. It’s only natural, considering the amount of information you need to learn in order to fully optimize, not to mention the fact that the SEO marketplace is constantly advancing, due in no small part to changes in Google and other algorithms used to calculate search rankings.
The good news is you’re not the first small business owner to decide that optimization is the key to increasing your online presence and your ability to compete. You can not only find abundant resources to educate yourself about SEO, but also companies that offer affordable SEO services to small businesses like yours.
Plus, knowing about some of the most common mistakes newbies make when it comes to the SEO process can help you to avoid costly and harmful blunders. Here are just a few SEO mistakes you’ll want to avoid.
1. Failure to localize
According to the Stats & Facts page for Google Places (now Google My Business), 20% of searches performed by users are related to location (and that number has likely increased since Google last recorded it). This means two things when it comes to optimization. First, businesses need to make use of SEO tactics like geotagging and keywords and phrases that are localized.
Second, businesses need to claim listings with online directories. In some cases, these listings already exist. However, until they are claimed, they may contain limited or inaccurate information, making it difficult for users to find you and causing them to potentially look elsewhere.
With more and more users turning to online resources in search of local products and services, businesses need to take advantage of every opportunity to localize digital efforts, including claiming directory listings (especially those available through search engines) and adding location information through both visible text and embedded data.
2. Dropping the ball on linking
There are two major mistakes small businesses make when it comes to building links: using improper links and failing to continue link-building strategies. These days, most people have become aware of unsuitable linking schemes that will get them delisted from Google and other search engines.
All you have to do is read Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to discover which activities violate their terms. Generally speaking, exchanging or buying links is frowned upon. Search engines want you to earn links from reputable websites that wish to support you because they believe in your business, products, or services.
This is no easy feat, but there are definitely strategies you can pursue in order to build an organic network of links pointing back to your site, and raise your page rank in the process. You just can’t make a major push and then give up completely. Building links is an ongoing process that you cannot afford to neglect if you want to achieve and maintain top page ranking.
3. Low quality content
Google’s most recent algorithm updates make it clear that content is king. If the content you create and optimize is not of the highest quality, you can’t hope to get top ranking, and those who cheat the system by optimizing poor content through black hat SEO will get the boot.
4. Overlooking analytics
It’s hard to believe that there are still people who don’t recognize the advantages of using tracking and analysis to hone strategies and improve SEO efforts. However, you will need to experiment in order to determine which analytical tools work best for your small business. Finding the right metrics programs will provide you with the data needed to make informed decisions regarding your SEO strategies.
5. Going it alone
SEO has a pretty steep learning curve. As a business owner you probably have far more pressing matters to occupy your time. While you might not be keen to pay the price for SEO services, you’ll find that you get your money’s worth when you hire a reputable and experienced SEO professional or firm.
According to small business marketing website Deluxe, 66% of consumer who perform computer searches visit a business within 5 miles, while a whopping 75% of mobile searchers follow suit. When you make yourself visible to these searchers, you could see a significant uptick in local business related to online searches. If you hire an SEO expert to optimize the online components of your company, you’ll be free to run your growing business in the meantime.