Desktop and mobile operating systems have made web search the easiest way to find anything online with commands like “Hey Siri”, “Hey Cortana”, and features like Spotlight Search being much easier to use than typing a web URL into an address bar. Pair this with search algorithms that get better at delivering relevant results on a daily basis and it’s easy to see why Google’s search engine is used more than 40,000 times every second (1).
If you want your website to show up in search results, you’ve got to have an SEO strategy. Unfortunately, many websites consider a WordPress plugin and the occasional blog post to be a solid SEO effort. That’s the first mistake in SEO - not having an SEO strategy. The focus of today’s post is on this and other common SEO mistakes, and how to avoid them. Let’s get moving!
Let’s assume that you realise that SEO success requires more than a plugin and a few blog posts. What’s the first mistake you could possibly make? The answer is more obvious than you think. Many SEO strategies don’t start with keyword research! We spoke to several website owners, and more than half of them didn’t have a keyword list, let alone one that was quantified by a reputable SEO research tool. Keyword research helps you understand what your targets are searching for online, and should serve as the foundation for your website copy, content strategy, and PPC campaigns.
Once you’ve got a list of keywords that you want to target, you’ll want to include them in your web copy and metatags. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, many website owners hit a major stumbling point here as well. It’s tempting to stuff keywords everywhere possible, hoping that keyword density will somehow drive a website to the top of search results. Search engine algorithms are much more advanced today than they were just five years ago, and sites that have quality content on a particular subject will rank far higher than sites that simply stuffed keywords everywhere possible.
So you did keyword research (or hired an expert to do it), wrote quality web copy integrating those keywords in a natural way, and planned out future blog posts to tackle more of your target keywords. Don’t stop there! Too many website owners don’t take the active ongoing steps necessary to build a strong SEO profile. This sort of failure usually manifests in one of two ways:
Let’s say you’ve made it this far, and you haven’t made any of the above mistakes, or the dozens of others you’ll find in other articles on various blogs. There’s still one last mistake to avoid, and it’s a big one.
Search trends and user behaviour change over time. That keyword list that was built using detailed research in the middle of 2015 won’t be nearly as useful in the Autumn of 2018. Look at how you’re ranking for your target keywords, and adjust your strategy over time. Go back to your keyword list and look for terms that weren’t popular in search engines a few months ago. Keep abreast of events in your industry, and plan for potential search query trends related to current events.
SEO isn’t nearly as simple as it used to be, but it’s also more intuitive than ever. If you want to show up in search results, you need to develop quality content based on what your target audience is searching for. Then, you need to use that content to build brand influence on multiple channels and platforms. Finally, you’ve got to stay abreast of the constantly evolving SEO landscape, and take advantage of new opportunities when they present themselves. If you can do all of that, you just might find yourself on that elusive front page one day soon.