Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t the sexiest topic in the world. It’s not something most business owners wake up excited for and go to bed dreaming about. It’s technical, gritty, and time-consuming. But if you want to stand out in today’s crowded online marketplace and generate more traffic to your web pages, SEO is something that you have to take seriously. This requires making smart choices and avoiding the pitfalls that hold so many small businesses back.
Stop Making These SEO Mistakes
Because it’s such a technical field, most business owners don’t know when they’re making SEO mistakes. This causes them to continue making the same costly errors over and over again (until they ultimately drive their search presence into the ground). To help keep you avoid this dangerous path, here are a few of the top mistakes we believe every business should avoid:
- Skipping Over Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
It’s easy to assume that SEO is all about keywords. But while keywords are important, they’re ineffective unless leveraged in the appropriate places. In addition to placing the right keywords in the body of your blog content and site copy, you also have to pay attention to technical factors like title tags and meta descriptions.
Title tags and meta descriptions are extremely important and essential SEO elements that can’t be overlooked. If you miss them – or if you miss putting the proper keywords in this space – you’ll hurt your ability to be found by search crawlers.
Likewise, take the time to create descriptive alt tags for your images. Since search engines can’t decipher what an image is about, these tags allow you to tell the search crawlers. This further boosts your ability to rank for certain terms.
- Thin Content
Every savvy business owner and marketer understands that content makes the internet go around. They’re very clear on the importance of content. However, they don’t always execute in a way that maximizes the value of content.
One big mistake is the prevalence of thin content. If you’re publishing blog posts that are less than 1,000 words and have generic copy with high-level keywords that are difficult to rank for, you stand almost no chance of ranking.
Quality of content is much more important than quantity. You’re better off posting 15 to 20 rich pieces of content per year than 50 to 100 thin posts that add no value. The goal is to engage readers and indoctrinate them into your brand’s ecosystem. If a piece of content doesn’t do this, you could argue that it’s useless.
- Not Investing in Link Building
Links are one of the most important ranking factors in Google’s search algorithm, yet most small businesses fail to invest in link building. This is usually the result of a lack of education on the topic.
Here’s a basic primer: Backlinks act as trust signals. When an authoritative website links back to one of your pages, it tells Google that you’re a credible resource. And if enough websites link back to your website, it tells Google that your content is worthy of serving its users. Assuming all other elements are in place – including quality content, relevant keywords, and the right technical optimization – you’ll gradually see your pages rise to the top of the SERPs.
- Making These Link Building Errors
As important as link building is, it’s imperative that you don’t make the same costly mistakes as others. Otherwise, you’ll end up creating a negative effect. For example, avoid spammy practices like using sitewide links. (While there’s a time and place for them, you can end up in big trouble if you aren’t careful.) The same goes for collecting links from spammy websites with low domain authority. It’s simply not worth it. As is the case with content, quality is more important than quantity.
Give Your SEO Strategy Some Clarity
Most SEO efforts fall short because there’s no strategy. The average small business owner or marketer tries to piece together little elements here and there, but there isn’t always a solid foundation to build upon.
Avoiding the aforementioned mistakes is the first step in the right direction, but then you need to buckle down and create a comprehensive strategy that allows you to move forward. Partnering with an SEO specialist or experienced firm is usually the best route.