If you have read this blog over the last couple months, you know what SEO is and how to practically apply it to your website. You are also aware of some of the recent trends in the SEO world that could require you to adjust your SEO strategy.
However, even after using this information to optimize your website, it is possible that you are not satisfied with the performance of your SEO strategy. You keep making changes, but you still aren’t reaching your goals. What could be the problem?
Perhaps you are making an SEO mistake. Some mistakes prevent search engines from indexing your website properly, while others represent a wrong perspective on SEO that can impede your strategy’s effectiveness and efficiency.
Here are six of the most common mistakes you should cut out of your SEO strategy:
1. Separating website creation and SEO.
This is one of the most common and least identified SEO mistakes. A business decides it wants a website, so it develops the site internally or hires an external firm to do the work. Once the website is developed, the business then creates and implements an SEO strategy. In reality, however, SEO should be a high enough priority to be considered during website design and development. All the choices made in the planning stage for a website should be partially based on how the website’s SEO will be affected. It is much easier and more efficient to plan SEO for a website during development than to make an SEO strategy fit a fully built site.
2. Using black hat SEO practices.
As discussed in this article, using black hat SEO practices is never a good idea. While the offers seem appealing—and in the short-term you may see definite improvements in your rank for your keywords—deceiving the search engines will come back to bite you sooner or later (and chances are it will be sooner).
3. Trying to optimize your website for really popular keywords.
Businesses need to choose keywords that will have better chances of ranking high. Let’s say a locally owned ice cream shop wants to optimize its website for the keyword “ice cream.” This is not a practical SEO strategy because “ice cream” is a very popular keyword and is so broad that millions of webpages have already been indexed for it. The chances of “ice cream” achieving a decent rank in search engine results are slim to none. Instead, the shop could optimize its website for its company name or keywords related to its specialty products.
4. Combining images, text, menu items, etc. into one large image.
When building a website, this can seem like a good idea. Rather than taking the time to use code to position all the text, images, and menu items in a webpage’s header, a person could use Photoshop or some other graphic design program to lay out this material exactly the way he or she wants it. Put the image on the page, and you are good to go, right? Wrong. This prevents search engines from seeing all the individual images and from reading the text on the image. Instead, it sees one big image. If such an image is on every page of the website, the amount of content the search engines can view is greatly diminished, and your website’s SEO takes quite a blow.
5. Assuming SEO is a one-time deal.
There is no one-time SEO strategy that can be implemented and forgotten for several years. SEO is a field that is constantly changing, both in strategies and their effectiveness. As search engines change the elements they use to determine where to rank a website, SEO strategies must adapt to be effective and worth the effort put into them. On a regular basis, evaluate how your SEO is doing and make changes based on your evaluation. Strive for continuous improvement, and you will be good to go.
6. Forgetting that SEO is about pleasing the customer, not pleasing search engines.
This final mistake can be very harmful to a website’s SEO strategy—and, unfortunately, we who develop SEO strategies are most susceptible to it. We get so caught up in the details of SEO and doing whatever we can to please search engines that we forget the search engines are not the ones using our websites. Clients and potential customers are navigating your site and reading the content to learn about your business. They are the ones with the greatest power to share your content with others and spread the word about your business in various online communities. Keep this in mind: when you do your best to please your customers, search engines end up being pleased as well.
To read more about SEO mistakes and how to avoid them, check out these two articles. They cover some of the above mistakes and present others you should watch out for:
Top 10 Most Egregious SEO Mistakes from Hubspot
Stop Making the 6 Biggest SEO Mistakes from Search Engine Watch
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212 Media Studios is a full service marketing agency, based in Warsaw, IN. Providing services such as SEO, social media management, print marketing, branding, and videography, 212 Media Studios specializes in helping businesses of all sizes catapult their marketing and brand awareness to the next level. To learn more about 212 Media Studios’ services visit our services page or contact us with special requests or for more information.