Most people understand the importance of having a search engine optimization strategy. But why isn’t your strategy working? SEO is complex and ever-changing, so it could be failing for many reasons. If you aren’t seeing results, it may be time to take a step back and identify what mistakes you could be making.
Here are some common SEO mistakes you should avoid:
1. You’re impatient with your SEO plan
In a perfect SEO world, every business would see their search rankings and traffic volume improve as soon as they posted their content. Unfortunately, SEO isn’t an overnight fix. Search engine rankings are the web equivalent of a personal reputation, and like a reputation they take months (and sometimes years) to build. An SEO strategy is not a quick fix – you’re competing with thousands of other sites for keyword-based virtual real estate, and much of that competition depends on how others view (and share) your content. It’s also hard to predict when you’ll see search traffic increases from your strategy. So, the first thing you need to do to have a successful SEO strategy is remember that you’ll need to stick with your plan for six months, minimum.
SEO strategies typically take 6 months to show results.
2. You don’t use analytics to refine your SEO
If you are’t using a web analytics tool such as Google Analytics (and its close cousin Google Search Console), you’ll have no idea how well any of your content is performing in drawing traffic. Analytics allows you to set up goals and monitor metrics such as site and page traffic, bounce rates, and page conversions which are factored into Google’s search rankings. Search Console shows you which keywords are appearing in greater or lesser density on your page, as well as how your site ranks for your focused terms.
But most importantly, simply creating an SEO plan won’t get you results. Creating engaging content that draws in traffic and converts that traffic is truly a trial and error process, and analytics allow you to make subtle tweaks that will make your SEO strategy more and more effective. For example, if your search rankings are high but you aren’t seeing conversions, this might be a sign that it’s time to improve your site’s design. If you’re finding that for some reason people attach to certain topics on your site but not others, then you’ll know you can’t go wrong by giving your audience more of that content. Monitoring analytics on a regular basis allows you to make continuous tweaks based on your traffic data, which is the core of any SEO strategy.
3. You’re not posting content regularly
Googlebots love fresh content
The more engaging, fresh content you provide, the more likely users will be to find that content, and the more site traffic you’ll receive. Googlebots love fresh content, and frequently updated sites have better chances at higher search rankings. Now, you don’t need to blog every single day, but you should strive to maintain at least a weekly rhythm to your posting. Creating a content calendar can help you maintain a regular posting schedule.
SEO strategies also extend to social media, where posting regularly on publicly searchable platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter is just as important as posting on your blog. Getting your content shared on social media (and having users visit your site from these platforms) is one of the quickest ways to grow your search rankings, and so as tedious as it might seem you do need to schedule regular updates for the major social media platforms to drive traffic to your blogs.
4. Your SEO strategy is targeting the wrong audience
Identifying your target audience is the core of all marketing, including SEO. If you don’t understand who your customer is, there is no doubt that your SEO strategy will fail. One way to identify your target audience is to use Google Analytics’ demographic feature. Your customer’s age, gender, sex, and location can tell you a lot about how they behave on the web. Someone who is 70 years old behaves differently on the web than a 25-year-old. Knowing who your customer is also allows you to identify what what keywords you should be using and what you should be posting.
Your site’s bounce rate is a good indicator of whether your SEO strategy is targeting the right audience or not. A bounce rate is a measure of single interaction visits to a website, and is provided by Google Analytics and other tools. An average site bounce rate is about 40-55%, and anything lower is considered excellent. Alarmingly high bounce rates indicate that you’re receiving large volumes of poor traffic, which means that your SEO strategy is not targeting the right audience.
If you don’t know who you’re writing for, your SEO strategy is doomed
5. You’re using the wrong keywords
When choosing SEO keywords, remember to focus on what your target audience thinks you’re selling, not what you think you do
Keywords are the cornerstone of any SEO strategy, and the keywords you feature in your content need to be relevant to your target customers’s needs. The best way to identify your target keywords is to use keyword search tools such as Google AdWord’s Keyword Planner to identify the most commonly searched terms that are related to your business. One of the most common mistakes we see are businesses who insist on describing their products or services in ways that their target audience just doesn’t search for. Your goal is to find a balance between keywords that are descriptive for what you do and in high search volume. If your keywords are too specific, customers will have a difficult time finding you and those who do will be a narrow audience. If your keywords are too broad, you may get lost in the competition.
An example of Google AdWords’ Keyword Planning Tool
And a last note here – avoid keyword stuffing at all costs. Keyword stuffing is when content or meta tags are loaded with keywords in an attempt to boost rankings. This tactic will backfire because it’s picked up by web crawlers as spam and puts you at the bottom of rankings.
We hope that these tips help you better understand how to improve your search rankings. If you feel like you could still use a hand with your SEO strategy, why not contact Young Marketing Consulting?