SEO is evolving even as you read these words, but some important truths will stand the test of time — even in the Internet Age. Stay away from these eight SEO mistakes and offer top-notch customer-driven content, and your search engine rankings won’t be able to keep from climbing.Search engine optimization has been an essential component in any online marketing strategy of the last 15 years, but a lot has changed over that time. As Google strive to provide the most useful searches possible, SEO continues to evolve so that search engine users can find exactly what they’re looking for. While almost every business employs some kind of SEO strategy in their online marketing and Web design, the constantly shifting landscape of how to do effective SEO can render many strategies meaningless and even harmful to your bottom line. Here are eight common SEO mistakes that might be costing you money and customers.
Forgetting the Long-Tail
While they aren’t as common or popular as head terms, long-tail keyword s —those lengthier and more specific phrases that search engine users employ to really find what they’re looking for — can be a veritable goldmine in driving high-quality search engine traffic to your website. They offer less competition in rankings and tend to draw in searchers who are closer to making a purchase than those who use more generalized searches, too.
Not Optimizing Pages
A properly optimized webpage or blog post needs three things: a meta title, a description and keywords. While it may seem stuffy or overkill to go through it for every page and post, it still does need to be filled out every time you publish content on your website. Be consistent, and over time you’ll see your rankings start to climb.
Everybody knows that spammy content is going to yield hefty punishments, but are you still generating content that’s sub-par? Side-stepping quality content will do you no favors in search results. Google is continually trying to maximize their users’ experience by providing the highest quality content related to each search. If you aren’t providing rich, detailed and fresh content, your rankings will suffer.
Not Blogging Regularly
Besides the fact that regularly blogging will result in more organic search results that lead traffic to your site, blogging regularly will also let search engines know that your site is relevant now — a very attractive feature to most search algorithms. Additionally, you’ll be offering content that can engage customers and potential customers around your brand, product, industry or service, and you’ll build a reputation as a leader in your field.
Never Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is an incredibly effective way to increase search engine traffic. It gets your name and business in front of more eyes, and it will establish you as an authority. It will also let search engines know that you and your business are relevant and important, which, over the long-run, will lead to higher and higher search engine rankings. Just make sure the content you’re providing is always worth reading and well-written.
Trying to Trick Google
A lot of people like to take shortcuts, but trying to outsmart Google by keyword-loading your content to increase traffic isn’t wise. Because Google keeps improving their algorithms to err on the side of quality content, it isn’t likely to work anyway. The goal is to increase organic search engine traffic by writing excellent content that people are actually looking for.
Your headlines — for pages, blogs, emails and articles — are the most important tool in your traffic-driving arsenal. Even if you write a stellar blog post, if your headline isn’t catchy enough to encourage people to click on it, they’ll never make it to your content. Write headlines that are short, to-the-point and address the potential concerns or problems your customers might be facing.
Not Thinking Like a Customer
You’re a business owner, and chances are, you know what you make or provide, why you make it and how it benefits your potential customers. The problem is: That knowledge isn’t the sort of knowledge your customer is likely looking for when he or she conducts a search. When it comes to driving traffic to your website, you need to think like a customer. What do they need? How would they look for what they need? Why is what you’re providing superior to what your competitors are providing? Put yourself firmly in the shoes of the people you’re trying to reach and build your content to answer their concerns, questions and dilemmas.