SEO is the cornerstone of digital marketing but rarely gets the importance it requires. Why? It’s because it’s time-consuming and offers no quick wins. So what’s the strategy adopted by most organizations just finding their feet on the web? It’s to ignore it completely at the beginning, and focus instead on paid marketing and social media.
A few months in, these same organizations will then make some small investment in SEO, but not by hiring an expert. Instead, a junior resource will be given the task, even though only veterans in the field are capable of providing the high-level strategy every organisation needs to actually derive value from SEO. This is when most of the following mistakes will be made:
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1. Fumbling With Keywords
Choosing the right keywords is crucial to your website ranking for the appropriate searches – searches that translate into better business conversions for your organisation, whether sales, traction or awareness. For this, you need to understand what terms your customers are searching for when looking for your product category. You may describe your product with certain, specific terms but that may not necessarily match what your potential consumers refer to it as. Choosing keywords that are very generic is another surefire way to get lost in the crowd. Instead, make use of helpful tools such as SEMrush and Google AdWords Keyword Planner to help you pick the best keywords for your business needs.
2. Stuffing Content With Keywords
Once you have got what keywords to use you will need to carefully integrate these into your content. However, many websites focus on keyword quantity instead of quality. Remember, an article stuffed with keywords makes for repetitive reading with poor flow. Amateur content will give your readers a poor impression of your organisation. Worse still, keyword stuffed content is often flagged as spammy by search engines and can actually harm your website’s ranking.
3. Publishing Content That Doesn’t Relate To Keywords
Make sure that the content you publish on your website organically ties in with the keywords you are using. A lot of time, content creation fails to relate appropriately to the keyword you want to rank for. The content you produce around these keywords needs to focus on the said topic. Search engines rank content by how relevant it is to their users’ search needs. If your content is not catering to the readers’ needs, then it is likely not to rank very high. In order to have focussed content, stick to providing quality content on a single topic rather than writing that features a motley crue of keywords spanning across different unrelated topics – a lazy and ineffective approach to SEO. Work backward: anticipate your user’s question and their search keywords and terms, then create content that answers these questions and includes their search terms.
4. Publishing Duplicate Content
When content is duplicated, it’s search ranking can get adversely affected. Deliberately duplicated content can even result in your website being penalised by search engines such as Google. For content that has been plagiarized with the obvious intent of trying to increase traffic or drive up ranking then the website may even be ousted from Google’s index completely, banished from all its search results.
5. Not Adding Tags & Meta Description
You’ve got your keywords included into quality content – but you aren’t done yet. Adding title tags and meta descriptions are essential steps to get you that SEO advantage as these are scanned by search engines and can have an impact on your ranking. Image tags are also important as they communicate your visual content to the search bot, which contributes to the indexing of your page.
6. Poor External Linking
The best SEO practices includes external linking that is relevant and from reputed websites. Make sure that the anchor text you are using to link is also thought through to convey to the user the relevance of the link and why it is helpful. Text such as “see here” should be replaced by an actual reference to what the link contains.
7. Poor Internal Linking
Your internal linking too needs to be relevant. It’s may seem crafty to add in internal links to your top-rated web pages but unless those links are appropriate it won’t be appreciated by your readers or the search engines. Similar to keyword stuffing, adding too many links that are not related to your webpage content will do more harm to your ranking than good.
8. Not Reviewing & Revising
Your SEO efforts will be in vain if you do not keep track of them. Use Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to periodically check and review the results of your search engine optimisation tactics. By measuring and tracking the performance of your pages and website overall, you can get an idea of what tactics you are employing work for your content. You can also decide whether to try new strategies in case your present SEO isn’t working to your favour.
SEO is a crucial element of digital marketing that’s required to get your brand on the radar and gain traction. If you are starting out with the content marketing aspect of your business it’s easy to fall into certain common traps if you don’t explicitly understand the nature and nuances of search engine optimisation. By keeping in mind the common mistakes most businesses make when venturing into digital marketing, you are more likely to avoid them and successfully plan out your digital marketing campaign.
Sameer Mehta is a business leader with over 14 years of Marketing and Strategy experience. He enjoys writing, especially exploring the subjects of entrepreneurship and business, has done so for a range of publications. He is also the founder of Jewellerista, a website that showcases the latest jewellery trends and other articles related to fashion.