First of all, I’m well aware it’s only April. However, I’m also aware that there are so many companies that trust their SEO efforts to unqualified people or companies. Don’t worry, if you’re one of them, I wont beat up on you in this article… I’ll let your “page 10 rankings” do that.
What I will do though, is give you an idea of the Top Five SEO Mistakes of 2013… So Far.
Before we dive into that… Let me first off start by putting to rest some of the most common “misunderstandings” we hear every day, when it comes to search engine optimization.
- “The more traffic my website gets, the higher it will be in search engines….” Not true, plain and simple. The fact is, your website probably wont get much traffic at all, until you achieve high search engine rankings.
- “The more people ‘Google’ my website, the better it is for my rankings, and I’ll show up at the top….” Ummmm, what? That makes about as much sense as me saying if I stare at my coffee cup, the coffee will brew itself.
The biggest thing to keep in mind, is that the best performing websites, are websites that haven’t forgotten about the end-user. Creating and optimizing your website for its users, is what will ultimately bring the best results… with a little tweaking of course.
Everyday, we have the opportunity to analyze websites, and provide a report to the website owner, with suggestions/recommendations on how to improve their website’s performance in the major search engines. Here are just a few of the most common search engine optimization mistakes we’ve been finding lately.
1. Over-thinking… Over Optimizing.
You’ve scoured the internet looking for the best SEO advice, and followed tips involving “high keyword density” and external links… You used a specific system, thinking it was the way to achieve and sustain high search engine rankings. And after you achieved top rankings, you labelled yourself an SEO expert… Until your rankings fell towards page 10, after just a few months. The reality is, you over-optimized… You over-thought it. If you’re stuffing keywords in where they don’t belong, and spending too much of your time on links, instead of create compelling content, you’re going to find yourself with a website that simply doesn’t perform. Keep it simple, build for the end-user.
2. When it Comes to Links… Mix it up!
Building links has long been considered very important in the search engine optimization world. And anyone who knows anything about SEO, knows that anchor-text plays a massive role in that. Anchor text is the actual text displayed in your links. Many SEO’ers make the mistake of creating too many links with just one keyword/searchphrase. This used to be an effective way to achieve higher rankings… Now it’s just bad business. You can find yourself penalized in the major search engines for this practice. Building a diversified “link portfolio” is a very good start in developing a strong SEO foundation. For example, instead of just using “Toronto Hotel” in your links, try mixing in variations such as: Toronto Accommodations, Downtown Toronto Hotel Room, GTA Hotel, GTA Accommodations etc… Don’t quote me on these words, I just spit-balled them. I’m sure there are plenty of better performing terms to choose from.
3. Link Building: It’s a Marathon, not a Sprint.
Another important thing to remember in the link building process, is to take your time. Focus your efforts on building quality links, not throwing them up anywhere that will take them. Quality posts, press material and relevant websites hold much more value these days.
4. Website Hierarchy: Take the Time to Plan
When you’re developing or re-developing your website, spending some quality time on the hierarchy of your website is important. The “tree-like” structure of your website plays a significant role in the manner in which search engines crawl and index your pages/content. Think of it this way… The deeper you go into your website, the more topic-focused the page(s) should be. And if you have content scattered all of your website, in a sloppy structure… you’re in trouble. Take the time to plan, you’ll be glad you did.
5. Focus on More than Just Link Building
As discussed above, link building has long been considered to be very important… But if you spend all your time on building links, you’re spending a lot of time wasting time. For 10 years I’ve said the same thing, and it’s continued to prove extremely effective when optimizing websites for search engines. Create quality content, that engages your audience. Meaningful content, that is found to be useful/relevant to your visitors will often translate into higher rankings in search engines… Not because you’re a master SEO’er… but because at the end of the day, content is king!
The final thing I can probably suggest is that nobody is an SEO expert…. Because to be an expert, you have to know something that nobody else or very few people know. Search engine optimization doesn’t have a proven formula, Google makes sure of that. There are simply a set of techniques marketers have been using that Google encourages. That’s why the most important factor is to ALWAYS build for the end-user. Compelling content always wins.
First things first, what is SEO? Otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization, SEO is the process of positioning your website at the top of search engines, to increase exposure and website traffic from the free/organic search results.
Major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing have such results, where links to websites are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. Search Engine Optimization plays a large role in ensuring your website is deemed relevant for your products/services/topics.
Many website owners aren’t aware that their website isn’t properly optimized for search engines. In fact, many website owners aren’t even measuring the traffic their website receives. 92% of internet users use search engines to research products/services before they make a purchase, and if your website cannot be found at the top of the search results, you’re missing out on a massive amount of potential new customers.
With competition in the major search engines being fierce, achieving top rankings for your keywords and search terms can be a daunting task. That is where professional SEO services come in.
So, how do you know if your website is in dire need of search engine optimization? There’s two quick ways to help you decide.
- If you have access to your website’s traffic (Google Analytics etc), you can review your current traffic sources, and see the role that search engines play in your overall traffic. If your website has been around for a while, but you’re not generating the traffic you’d like, optimizing your website for major search engines is probably a good idea.
- Go to Google, and perform a search using a keyword or search term, relevant to your business. Is your website found in the first 3 results? If not, it could use some work. The first 3 results for the average Google search, receive 68% of clicks from users.
So what is a “relevant keyword or search term”? This is a very common mistake many website owners make. They often think their business name is the most popular search term. The fact of the matter is, most searchers aren’t searching a company name, they’re searching a topic…. For example: “Email Marketing Windsor” is a much more relevant and searched topic, than “Primary Target Media”. Optimizing your website for relevant and effective keywords/search terms, is what will drive traffic to your website, and generate more sales.
Another common misconception among website owners is, “I dont need to optimize, I don’t sell anything online”. Whether you run an e-commerce website, or simply a brochure-style website containing information about your offerings, people are using search engines to find products/services like yours every day. If you’re website cannot be found, you’re missing the boat.
If you’re interested in learning more about search engine optimization, simply contact us today. We have 10 years experience in helping website owners just like you succeed online.
10/23/2012 - J.Paterson
Let me start off by saying, I was by no means, ever a wiz in school. The thought of staring at charts/graphs, and aggregated data would’ve driven me nuts.
However, these days you’ll find me with multiple large screens on my desk, one of them dedicated to real-time charts and a constant stream of incoming data. Sounds nerdy, I know… but as a small business owner, these stats and data points are what drives my company. No, I’m not talking about simply having a Google Analytics account open… that’s small time. I’m talking the real-deal (like Evander Holyfield) type of data.
Let me first give you an idea on how/why I’m a Data Junkie… I’ll be blunt, I’m not making 100 phone calls a day, trying to pitch my services to potential clients; frankly, I don’t want to work that hard.
I started this company 10 years ago, with one goal in mind… simplify EVERYTHING. I know, I know “work smarter, not harder”, we hear it everyday… but how many of us actually practice it?
So, I got to work on developing and acquiring technologies that would help me achieve my goal of simplifying everything… And now, 10 years later, I spend most of my time brainstorming, and developing the next idea or application.
Some people might call me lazy… I prefer the term “awesome”, personally… After all, when you fill up with gas, you probably put a receipt in your pocket, so you can input it into a boring spreadsheet later… Don’t you? I send a text message to a piece of software, and never look at it again.
But, back to why I’m such a Data Junkie. By combining the technology of interactive maps, demographics and live-data, I’m able to see exactly whats happening across all channels, and who is engaging with my brand… while they’re in the middle of doing it.
Let me give you an example.
Earlier this morning, I sent out an email campaign to some of my clients/prospects… Seemingly simple concept, right?
Of course… But as I’m typing this blog post, I can tell you this:
Thomas H, from St. Thomas (in the U.S. Virgin Islands) just opened my email.
That’s not nearly the best part… I can also tell you that Thomas is a 35-44yr old male, married, has children, and a household income over $250k. He enjoys traveling, sports, and purchases high end brands/jewelry…. Oh yeah, and he’s now currently reading the “About” page on my website.
So, what does all of this mean? Well, it provides me with data… and with data, I’m not only able to market more effectively to Thomas, I’m able to do it on the fly.
Knowing so much about Thomas, is what increases conversions. Putting relevant information in front of him at the right time, is what will turn Thomas from an “Email Viewer”, to a buyer.
I’m not saying you should become a raging data addict like myself, but if you’re not tracking, measuring, analyzing anything… start now! You can thank me later.