For many businesses across the country, online marketing remains something of a mystery. Not all business owners start out as experts on marketing or advertising, and this is especially true in an age when the face of marketing is constantly changing with new search engine algorithm updates. However, this doesn’t stop some business owners, particularly those who manage smaller businesses, from trying to tackle their online marketing on their own.
While it can be tempting to tackle elements of digital marketing like SEO on your own, it’s incredibly easy to make some crucial mistakes. If you’re not careful, you might even end up hurting your search engine rankings, rather than improving them. Here are a few of the most common beginner mistakes when tackling search engine optimization, along with some tips you can use to avoid them.
One of the basics of search engine optimization lies in what keywords you choose to focus your strategy and marketing campaigns around. These keywords are what online users search to find what they’re looking for, and they directly relate to how often they’ll find your business over your competition.
When picking out the keywords you plan to use to draw traffic to your website, keep in mind how people are likely to search when looking not only for your business but for other businesses operating in your area and industry. Not every internet user is going to search on search engines in the exact same way, but depending on the type of user you’re looking to attract, you’ll be able to tailor your keyword selection a bit more carefully. Don’t overlook local, geographic-based keywords as well when setting up this part of your marketing strategy. While many people search looking for national or global results, plenty are just trying to find the nearest local business to address their needs. Consider your target demographic’s needs; if they’ll be looking for a local business, make sure to include some geographically targeted keywords in your plan.
Most people think of search engine optimization in fairly simple terms and standards. Generally, the common understanding of how SEO works is that the more you use a certain keyword or key phrase, the higher you’re going to rank for that keyword or phrase. However, this isn’t always the case. There is such a thing as over-optimizing, and doing this can actually cause harm to your business if you aren’t careful.
Over-optimization occurs when you feature too many links, keywords, or phrases in your website’s content. From a user perspective, this can cause your content to look like spam or otherwise unreliable, meaning you’re less likely to attract meaningful traffic to your content. Even worse, over-optimizing too frequently and not using caution when placing keywords and links can get you de-indexed by the top search engines. De-indexing removes your website entirely from search engine results and can cause serious damage to a business’s marketing. Avoid overdoing it when it comes to adding in keywords to remove the risk of this happening to you.
Overutilization of keywords and links isn’t the only thing that can make your business’s content look like spam. The quality (or lack thereof) in your content can completely change the type of traffic your website gets. Many people focus too much on placing links and integrating keywords, without considering the actual content of their blogs and website as much as they should.
It’s true that keywords are useful when it comes to getting traffic to your website, however, it’s not all it takes to keep users engaged with your content. Make your content useful to the user you’re hoping to attract to your website to keep them engaged longer. Additionally, formatting can be important. Bullet lists help, as do subheadings, images, and other structural elements that can make your pieces easier to read and process.
When was the last time you gave your website a makeover? While you might not immediately think of the look of your website as being important to your search engine rankings, it’s gradually becoming more meaningful with each algorithm update released. What makes appearances important? Aside from first impressions, it can impact the responsiveness of your website, which now impacts your ranking.
Additionally, frequently updating your website and the content on it helps you stay up to date with all the new changes and technological advancements coming onto the scene in recent years. Nowadays, more and more people are using advanced technologies to conduct their online searches, including voice recognition and artificial intelligence. Regularly checking on your website and making updates as needed keeps you optimized to accommodate users that prefer newer search techniques.
Finally, the most common mistake beginning business owners make when conducting their digital marketing preparation is assuming they’re able to handle every last detail themselves. There’s a reason so many SEO white label SEO reseller programs exist; business owners simply have far too much to handle to make the time necessary for proper digital marketing. Managing a website and taking care of all the content for that website is inherently time-consuming, and with all of the responsibilities that exist as a business owner, it’s unlikely you’ll have all of the flexibility you need. Hiring an outside source to help you manage your SEO might seem like just another unnecessary expense at first, but it’s well worth the investment. Well-managed SEO and digital marketing can end up paying for itself in the amount of traffic it brings to your website and your business.
Digital marketing and search engine optimization is a constantly changing field, meaning that it’s easy to make beginner mistakes based on old information regarding the industry. However, a few beginner mistakes have remained consistently, causing grief for plenty of business owners. Using these tips and being aware of the common beginner mistakes can help set you on the right path with your future digital marketing strategy.