The growing importance of search engine optimization (SEO) can’t be overstated. As time goes by, not having an SEO strategy is slowly becoming a faux pas as severe as not having a website or a phone number. It severely limits your company’s reach and potential. And the fact that SEO is so important only makes its obscurity more frustrating. It’s hard to wrap your head around some SEO principles, and the internet is full of conflicting information when it comes to what the best strategies are.
Luckily, while zoning in on the best SEO strategies can be hard, figuring out which mistakes you should avoid is relatively easy. Here are some of the common mistakes that businesses should avoid when tackling SEO.
Mistake 1: Trying to cheat the system
Since SEO is relatively new and mysterious, it can be easy to fall into the temptation of hiring experts that over promise. People who claim they can get incredible results in no time and for very little money because they know how to cheat the system. That usually doesn’t end well.
Google and other search engines operate on algorithms that are hard — but not impossible — to cheat. The problem is that vulnerabilities in the ranking systems of search engines never stick around for long, and any marketing agency with knowledge of those vulnerabilities will use them in secrete and charge a fortune for their services. So unless your marketing budget is in the millions, you should stay clear of trying to cheat the system.
Mistake 2: Not taking the audience into account
It can be easy to get lost in the sea of keywords and optimization tactics and forget what the core principle of SEO is. The primary goal of search engines is to give internet users the content they are looking for.
You can spend all the money in the world trying to rank higher on the keyword “cute cats”, but if what people want out of that search is cat videos, your cat sweater store will never make it to the first page of that specific keyword. Your brand is not a good match for that specific search.
Mistake 3: Working alone
You can do SEO alone, it has been done before. You will find plenty of success stories of businessmen and women who made their way to the first page without any help. But just because something can work, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
The SEO landscape is constantly changing, and tactics that worked six months ago maybe unproductive today. Because of that, it’s both safer and easier to work with experts who can keep track of those changes and help you update your strategy accordingly.
If you have a local business, you can get better results by working with a local SEO agency that knows the landscape in your region. So if you are based in the UK, for example, you should look for a London SEO agency.
Mistake 4: Cutting costs on web design
Search engines are trying to keep web users happy. And if your site is slow, unresponsive, poorly built, doesn’t work well on mobile, or has an antiquated design, all of that can make for a pretty bad user experience. Google and other search engines have metrics they use to figure out if your site is annoying visitors, and they’ll tank your rankings if it looks like visitors aren’t happy.
Good web design is one of the pillars to the success of your SEO strategy, so make sure you get it right. As a general rule, it’s better to have a site that looks boring and is very responsive than to have one that looks amazing but freezes all the time.