When small businesses attempt to handle their SEO internally, they often encounter several common pitfalls. These mistakes can hinder their online visibility and the effectiveness of their SEO efforts. Here are some of the most frequent errors:
Neglecting Keyword Research:
Many small businesses need to pay more attention to thorough keyword research, leading to targeting keywords that are either too competitive or not searched for by their target audience. Understanding which keywords to target is crucial for effective SEO.
Ignoring Local SEO:
Local SEO is essential for businesses serving specific geographic areas. Neglecting elements like Google My Business listings, local keywords, and local content can result in missed opportunities to connect with nearby customers. I often see businesses trying to target outside their natural geographical reach. They often have multiple locations on a page and usually end up ranking for none of the locations.
This also applies to GBP (Google Business Profiles).
Overlooking Mobile Optimisation:
In today’s mobile-first world, not optimising websites for mobile users can significantly impact SEO performance. Search engines favour mobile-friendly websites and are essential for providing a good user experience.
Today every website should be able to display on mobile devices and should be dynamic.
Creating Low-Quality Content:
Some businesses produce content just for the sake of having it, leading to low-quality, thin, or irrelevant content. Search engines prioritise valuable, relevant, and high-quality content, so focusing on quality over quantity is essential.
Only publish content if it relates to the services or products you offer. Sharing industry news articles without relevance to yourself is pointless. THINK, before publishing, if the content does not contain helpful, useful information and does not link back to your service/product then do not Publish.
All the projects I have worked on I have deleted at least 30% (some as much as 50%) of the content after the initial website audit.
This outdated SEO tactic involves overusing keywords within web content. Not only does this make the content hard to read, but it can also lead to search engine penalties for trying to manipulate rankings.
I am still surprised each time I come across this and it happens at least every other site I look at. Try to keep it natural, imagine you were having a conversation with someone. Normally you would not constantly repeat the same word over and over again.
Just Stop It
Neglecting Meta Descriptions and Title Tags:
Meta descriptions and title tags are critical for click-through rates from search engine results pages. Ignoring these elements can result in lower engagement and missed opportunities to attract organic traffic.
Yes Google does rewrite SEO titles and meta descriptions in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages). The way to reduce this is to make sure they reflect what is on the page. Avoid click bait and misleading descriptions.
Inconsistent NAP Information:
Maintaining consistent Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) information across all online platforms is crucial for local SEO. Inconsistencies can confuse search engines and potential customers.
There are services and software which will monitor/ update your NAP information. It’s often overlooked especially if a different type of business operated in you premisses before you.
Ignoring Analytics and Performance Tracking:
Failing to track website performance and SEO results can leave businesses in the dark about what’s working and what’s not. Regularly reviewing analytics is critical to refining and improving SEO strategies.
It’s a skill you need to learn, firstly to understand if your website traffic is going in the right direction. Secondly, if you do hire someone to do your SEO that you know enough not to be hoodwinked.
I do offer a 1 to 1 session on Mastering Google Search Console so at least you can navigate the basics.
Some businesses must pay more attention to backlink building or engage in poor backlink practices like buying links. Building a natural backlink profile through reputable and relevant sources is essential for SEO credibility.
Often when you do hire someone this is all the work they will do. They buy rubbish links, do nothing and send you an invoice each month. You can order a backlink report to see how good or bad yours are. (or your competitors backlinks) to see what you are missing)
You can reach out for local links from the business you know in your local area. List your business on local directories and the national newspaper directories. Why are backlinks important?
Forgetting about User Experience (UX):
UX plays a significant role in SEO. Websites that are difficult to navigate, have slow load times, or provide a poor user experience can negatively impact search engine rankings.
Often overlooked, get your friends and families to test your website. A word of warning before you do this, from experience I know lots of website owners who have fell out with family and friends using this method.
Remember it’s not personal, it’s just their opinion. Use the information to improve the website so it appeals to more users.
DIY Approach Without Learning:
Attempting SEO with understanding the basics and keeping up with the latest trends and algorithm updates can lead to effective strategies and potential penalties from search engines.
To stay up to date I take other peoples SEO course, I follow, https://twitter.com/searchliaison. I subscribe to newsletters from industry leaders, follow prominent SEO leaders on LinkedIn.
I also subscribe to a paid Slack channel where over 300 SEO practitioners share information and answer question about best practices.
“Every Day is a Learning Day in SEO”.– Karl Morley
Not Setting Realistic Goals:
Setting unrealistic expectations for quick results can lead to disappointment and misunderstanding how SEO works. SEO is a long-term strategy and requires time to see significant results.
It takes time and understanding to rank a website. You cannot just launch a website without prior planning and expect to get traffic from day one. The reality is it could take months before your first trickle of visitors.
Yes it is an ongoing process !
SEO is like a game of chess. You have to constantly be thinking a few steps ahead and making adjustments based on the competition.Rand Fishkin