Recent algorithmic changes and core updates at Google bring new challenges for businesses using digital marketing in 2021.
If you are a business targeting customers in a defined geographic area, it is no secret that having your website appear on page one of the Google search results for the right keyword phrases brings in more customers.
Yes, there are many ways interested prospects can find your business, but small businesses such as yours make all kinds of search engine optimization (SEO) mistakes—ones that you and your company should certainly try to avoid. Here are five small business SEO mistakes (with a BONUS one) you’ll want to steer clear of to stay fresh and updated in your online marketing:
Not Leveraging Social Media to Improve SEO Results
The success of your SEO efforts and actively engaging in social media are interrelated. Trying to boost your SEO while ignoring your social media profiles is not just a lopsided approach but one likely to yield lacklustre results.
When somebody researches your company online, your social media profiles come up with your web page. Your potential customers, faced with multiple links on your company, might check out your social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – only to find an account that hasn’t been updated in weeks. At exactly that point, you lose their possible business.
Future buyers look to your social media content to help with their research, to consider reviews from past customers, etc. You could also be gleaning “organic backlinks”—links from someone else’s social media to your site inserted without being requested.
If you don’t have what it takes to keep up several interactive social media profiles, pick a couple to focus on. Check where your competitors establish their online presence and be competitive in that space as well.
Not Keeping Your Website Information Fresh, Timely, and Updated
You need to be using the same zeal to keep your company website fresh and updated as you do your social media. Go back and visit your core pages often, being sure to keep them relevant to your industry and shifting market. Key pitches to seasonal needs, to advancing technology, to the ever-evolving world situation.
One example is MatruDEV – Even though DMOZ closed down its directory a couple of years ago, this blog still holds this post up and running that doesn’t make any sense.
The Google ranking algorithm, for one, penalizes you for unoriginal content, even when it’s something you wrote yourself – and it’s only duplicated in your own site.
You may have written a bunch of interesting copy related to your products, services, and company to put on your website. Are you recycling this content throughout the site, reusing some sections of text on different pages?
Poor Content Hurts Your Marketing Results
Search engine ranking algorithms are getting more sophisticated every year. They can now distinguish between low-quality content and carefully-researched and prepared pieces with enhanced value. Prioritizing quantity over quality just doesn’t cut it anymore.
It’s not just search engines that reward quality content. Potential customers appreciate quality sites that engage and guide them to the best courses of action. Offering visitors content they can use profitably leads them to recognize your business as an authority. This, in turn, earns you return visitors, organic links and references—and, ultimately, sales.
Make content work for you and your brand by spending some time planning and creating a written document that guides you and your team into the efficient use of your time and money. Your content marketing strategy should include some basic components:
- Create precise objectives – Set some realistic and measurable goals that directly contribute to the mission of your organization. Also, your objectives should coincide well with the business plan that generally guides your firm.
- Research – Find out what your customers need and how you can differentiate your products and services from those of your competitors.
- Define KPIs – What does success look like for your content strategy? Regardless of whether you want to rank high in search engines, collect leads, increase conversion rates or some other objective, find out how to measure your results on your pathway to success.
- Spread the word – Determine the best methods and channels to use for content promotion. Even though you create high-quality content in popular formats, your efforts will accomplish nothing unless you connect it with the right audience.
- Schedule work – By and large, the most successful content strategies occur over the long run. Create a routine that ensures that you consistently publish and promote your content.
Using Less-Than-Optimal Keywords
Seeking high rankings on search engines with keywords that are a bad fit for your business – and what you have to offer – defeats your purpose. You’re likely familiar with the more obvious keywords to optimize the content on, but you could be overlooking terms that strengthen your SEO.
Search analytics can help you get a better sense of which keywords are best suited to your industry and customer base – ensuring you go well beyond obvious terms and phrases. Some strategies to try when selecting the best keywords to use in your website and social media content include:
- prioritizing the most profitable keywords based on analytics
- using trending keywords related to special events or relevant news stories
- comparing your keyword choices with those of your competition
Arranging Awful Backlinks
Used to be you’d hire internet marketing firms to buy a bunch of “backlinks” (incoming links to your website from other sites) to help with website traffic. The problem is the relevance of some of these sites and the overuse of certain “anchor text” (highlighted text that’s clicked to open the web page).
Henry Buys Homes – I saw its backlink coming from InkHive.com – Now, InkHive originally deals in WordPress themes and solutions. But this post:
This WordPress theme development website has nothing to do with real estate topics or home selling advice. And thus, this isn’t a real one and clearly appears like a manipulated link scheme.
With advances in search engine algorithms, these tactics can initially boost your page rankings but lead inexorably to a sudden falloff in traffic. That’s when Google Penguin, to name the most advanced algorithm, figures out the game and pulls your page from search engine rankings.
Some better link building strategies to try include diversifying your anchor text, and:
- Blogging regularly to produce a treasure of link-worthy content
- Featuring expert (“authority”) bloggers on your site
- Guest blogging on related industry sites
You should also focus on creating an abundance of informative “authority content” (which works something like compounding interest) to generate the superior “editorial links” which are preferred to “acquired links”. Acquired links come in exchange for money, requests, or some form of trading, but editorial ones result from having highly appealing content (and marketing techniques).
Saving the most important small business SEO mistake to avoid for last: ignore your local scene at your peril. As with most small businesses, you probably rely heavily on local customers—your SEO strategies, however, are more global. This means you must follow the definite guides and blogs for SEO advice and be proactive when dealing with marketing your business online, even if you are currently sitting on page one and generating leads.
If your customers are like most, they’re looking for products and services in their geographical region. Almost a third of Google queries are for local results. Is your content locally optimized for your future clientele to find it?
- using local keywords in content, titles, and meta descriptions
- specifying region, nearby cities, and other relevant local phrases
- including your location and contact information prominently on all pages
And post your company and web page on as many locally-focused website services as possible—e.g., FourSquare, Yelp, and Superpages. Visit your company profile at these sites regularly, making sure the related info tells the story you want to tell (and links back to your web page).
Although Google and other search engines want to conclude that you are a legitimate business, spam accounts that find their way into the search engine results make it very important that you convince the Google search algorithm that you are a trusted and real local business.
It is clear that Organic and Local SEO are great channels for online marketing, but you must ensure they are approached in the best way possible to improve engagement levels and drum up sales. Now you know what not to do when it comes to SEO marketing, and thus, you’ll be able to incorporate focused and precise efforts into your search engine optimization strategy.