Having a fabulous website is one thing, getting visitors to it is quite another. The problem is, that there is millions of other fabulous websites on the internet so yours could easily get lost in the throng. So, how can you get visitors to your site and get it on the search engine rankings? Well, many roads lead to Rome and most people use SEO and or PPC to publicise their sites.
SEO takes many guises but there are some mistakes that you should avoid like the plague and these include:
The saying that ‘content is king’ holds very true so do not skimp on your content. It needn’t be pages and pages of commentary, it is the quality of what you have written that counts. A shorter well written piece is worth more than thousands of meaningless words, so consider your content carefully.
Don’t get too hung up on SEO, in the past, all you had to do was make sure you had the right keywords all over your content. Nowadays, that is likely to get you a penalty, so, yes, you can still use keywords but you need to use them cautiously and they must be used in context. Long tail keywords are particularly useful, more so if you are trying to attract a local audience as you can include place names in these. Using keywords in such a way that they are part of the answers to searchers queries will help your cause.
These days it really is vital to consider who is going to be visiting your site. You need to know what your target audience is looking for and make sure that your content reflects this. There is no point in attracting people who are not interested in your site, they won’t hang around and the search engines do notice this. The search engines are geared to matching content to appropriate searches and this is why you need to know exactly who you want to visit your website.
Never ever pass off someone else’s writing as your own, this is plagiarism and is in effect, theft. Create your own content, written in your own words or you might find that your site rankings take a severe downwards plunge or worse, your site could be de-indexed which means it will not be found via search engines. Duplicate content is another no-no, make sure that none of the pages of your site have duplicate content within them, each page should have totally unique content. You can use curated text however, there are rules regarding its use and these must be adhered to.
Don’t ignore social media, it is not valuable on its own, but as part of an overall SEO strategy, it does have its place and could make the difference between a prominent listing and getting lost in the crowd. It does require a bit of work to nurture it but this is well worth the effort.
Creating a search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy is hardly a new challenge for businesses, but many still get the basics wrong at disastrous cost in this digital age.
At the same time SEO demands continue to evolve. Google, for example, recently followed ned user behaviour and changed its search algorithms to favour mobile-friendly sites in its rankings.
So for those keen to avoid the major pitfalls, here are the top ten SEO mistakes made by businesses, according to Amo Sokhi, managing director at SEO specialist agency Polaris…
1. Not thinking about mobile users
Many businesses still conduct SEO without considering mobile traffic as a key component within their strategy. On average, over 40 percent of online visitors browse destination websites through a mobile device during their online journey. With Google releasing mobile specific algorithms to track and monitor mobile specific website performance, businesses need to start thinking about mobile users just as much as traditional desktop users alike.
2. Inefficient website structure
Many businesses naturally develop their website structure over time without any real strategy or SEO logic. After years of adding categories, information pages and product lines, the result is an uneven, bloated site structure that gives little value to key categories and landing pages and stops users from migrating easily around the website. Getting a site -wide audit helps to overcome this natural mistake, which mroe than 80 percent of businesses make as they develop into seasoned online retailers.
3. Poor SEO objective setting
So many SEO stakeholders still set poor objectives for SEO based on simplistic metrics such as Rankings. A good SEO campaign will be broken down into quarterly segments, with objectives set each quarter depending on the maturity of the campaign.
4. Duplicating meta tags across thousands of dynamic product pages
Many database-driven websites all carry duplicate meta data such as title tags and descriptions due to poor content management system (CMS) setup. By installing a plugin or having custom formats for dynamic database-driven pages this mistake can be overcome.
5. Carrying out a site migration without notifying Google
Sites are migrated onto new domains, or re-launched on a new platform (with new URLs), and the relevant notifications and redirects are not carried out. When URL locations change, 301 redirects need to be put in place to ensure users continue to arrive at desired destinations within the website. When a site is migrated to a new domain, Google should be notified using the “change of address” tool within Google Search Console, so that they can update their indexes.
6. Forgetting to integrate Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools)
Many internal dev teams spend thousands of man hours developing cutting edge functionality for destination sites but unfortunately forget to integrate the Search Console tag. Without this, SEO-critical updates cannot be carried out and Google cannot notify webmasters of issues with sites.
7. Not updating Sitemaps
Updating a website sitemap has many benefits. Not only does it provide easier navigation as well as better visibility by search engines when they come to index the site but it also offers the opportunity to inform search engines about any changes on site. Having a dynamic sitemap means it will update itself and also notifies search engines when a page has been added. Should webmasters choose to ignore adding a sitemap, it will take search engines much longer to crawl and index the site which is bad news if you make regular updates.
8. Migrating a website to a new platform without considering SEO
Moving a website will happen from time to time as a business evolves. Always consider the SEO impact of this move, including 301 redirects, database migration and the impact on the user journey. Putting together a migration plan at the earliest possible stage allows for all stakeholders to be aware of the work needed by each party and the timescales associated with this work. Getting a migration wrong can have an ongoing impact on traffic, rankings and overall conversions.
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