Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the pillars of digital marketing. Understanding SEO and building a strong strategy for it is critical to building brand awareness, acquiring new leads, and increasing profits. But, carrying out an effective SEO strategy may not be as simple as it seems. Several mistakes are commonly made by those who are just starting out in their SEO journey. This post lists three of the most common SEO mistakes and how to avoid them.
First, it is important to understand what SEO is and why it is important. SEO is a process of optimizing web content for high visibility on search engine results pages. Search engines, such as Google or Bing, use bots to “crawl” and “index” billions of pieces of content on the Internet to determine how relevant and useful that content is for specific web searches. Based on these determinations, the search engine “ranks” content for display on its results pages. Having a high SEO ranking can significantly boost traffic to your website, which results in more people becoming aware of your brand.
SEO is important because it relies on non-paid, organic content. This means that businesses with fewer resources– especially small to medium-sized businesses– can theoretically compete more effectively with much larger organizations. In contrast to paid advertising, where companies with the biggest budgets are most likely to beat out their competitors every time, SEO evens the playing field by emphasizing the quality of web content and other controllable factors.
On top of that, organic content reached through SEO is about 20 times more likely to generate traffic than pay-per-click (PPC) advertising while not costing nearly as much, according to SparkToro. All a company needs to make SEO work for them is a dedicated content team putting out quality content regularly. There are, however, certain factors that content teams should keep in mind to optimize their content for search engines and not detract from their SEO ranking. Some of the most common SEO mistakes are discussed below:
1. Targeting Ineffective Keywords
Keywords can be understood as the terms that users search for on search engines. Content that ranks high on search engine results pages is content that uses relevant keywords effectively. Keyword research and keyword targeting are crucial components of writing SEO-rich web content.
It can be tempting to target the keywords that seem obvious and first come to mind when thinking about your business or product, however, those terms are not always what consumers are actually searching for. Understanding your audience is the first step to effective keyword targeting.
Take time to investigate your consumer base and ask yourself questions like how customers actually discover your products and services organically. What interests and questions might they be searching for that leads them to your webpage? What demographics are most drawn to your content? The insights you gain from answering these questions can give you a solid foundation for beginning your keyword research and developing a well-defined content strategy.
2. Keyword Stuffing
While it may have been an effective strategy in the earlier days of SEO, keyword stuffing is no longer a viable way to rank highly on search engine results pages. Keyword stuffing is the practice of cramming in as many keywords as possible into your content, whether they belong there or not. Because the goal of search engines is to provide users with accurate answers to their questions, search engines have modified their algorithms over time to penalize sites that spam keywords without providing quality content and relevant information.
Effective keyword usage today consists of incorporating a wide variety of well-researched keywords naturally into your writing. Readers and search engine algorithms are savvy enough to tell when a keyword has been shoved into a piece of content for SEO, and this can lead to readers bouncing back to the results page to find a more authentic or trustworthy voice on a topic. This increase in “bounce rate” can negatively impact your SEO ranking.
Content teams producing uninspired, derivative content are unlikely to have much success in achieving good SEO rankings. Writing quality content that consumers express genuine interest in should always be the top priority of content writers and producers. While the quantity of content can also have an impact on a site’s SEO, the negative impact of sacrificing quality over quantity may significantly outweigh the benefits of pumping out high volumes of content.
3. Neglecting Previous Content
Producing new content regularly is important for boosting SEO. However, there is also much to be gained from revisiting and updating previously published content. Because keyword search volumes change over time, the keywords that were relevant months ago may not hold the same weight today. Revisiting an old blog post or article and updating the content to reflect today’s relevant keywords can give new life to a webpage and inspire renewed traffic.
Even pages that do rank high on SEO but contain outdated information can contribute to an increased bounce rate over time, which will eventually detract from its ranking. If your team produces a piece of quality content, there is no reason to let it slowly die out over time. Refreshing your old content periodically can keep your site relevant and boost a page’s SEO for relatively little effort compared to solely focusing on creating new content.
Understanding SEO and what makes a great SEO strategy is critical to ensure that your digital marketing efforts do not go unrewarded. While it is true that algorithms are constantly changing, the principles outlined in this post are fundamental to producing effective content, and it is unlikely that they will lose relevance any time soon. SEO is a tricky process to master, but you do not have to go about it alone. Enlisting the help of an SEO company can help you figure out where there is room to improve in your strategy.
Zorbis is a digital marketing agency that offers SEO services for companies of all sizes and industries. Zorbis’ team of experts will work with you to understand the vision you have for your brand and construct a plan to increase awareness and profitability. If you are looking to begin your SEO journey, contact Zorbis today to learn how they can help.