Getting SEO right can be a tricky thing, especially for small businesses, so we’ve highlighted 7 common mistakes that many make, so you can be sure to avoid them.
- Duplicate Content: This is a big one. Google doesn’t like duplicate content, but this is both content repeated across your website and content copied from another website. If you have content duplicated across your website and can’t avoid it, you can read about using canonical tags for SEO.The big rule, though is never copy text from other websites, and if you sell another manufacturer’s products, don’t simply use their product descriptions, but re-write them so your text is unique.
- Targeting Corporate Keywords, Rather than what people search for: Does this sound familiar? “We offer quality business solutions, tailored to your needs.” This is a common style of description, especially on business-to-business websites. Not only is it unspecific for readers, but it is also something that people rarely search for.
- No Image ALT tags: On most CMSs you will be able to add image ALT tags when adding pictures to your website. This is often overlooked, but is very important. The ALT tag is what Google reads to know what is in the image. In future, it is likely that Google’s image recognition technology will be so advanced that it doesn’t need any tags to know what is in a picture, but for now, make sure you let Google know. The ALT tags should include what is in the photo, but feel free to include relevant keywords.
- “Home”: When choosing your page titles and headers, don’t call your homepage “home”. Unless you are selling something related to homes, you’re unlikely to get relevant traffic for that keyword.
- Not tracking using Google Analytics: This isn’t just an SEO issue, but a general online business issue. You really need to track as much about your website visitors as possible. Google Analytics lets you know where users come from (organic search, paid search, other websites, advertising, emails or social) and what they do on your website. From an SEO perspective, you will be able to see, for example, how many of your visitors from Google are leaving your website straight away. This way, you will be able to conclude that you either aren’t targeting the best keywords, or your website needs to be optimised for conversions.
- “Click Here” links: This is very simple to fix. One of the ways you can show that a page on your site is important for a certain keyword, you can link to it from another page, using that keyword. ‘Click Here’ isn’t a commonly relevant search term, so rather than telling your users to “click here for our free guide to online marketing,” tell them “see our new guide to online marketing.”
- Keyword Stuffing: In the past, when someone wanted to rank for a keyword, they would stuff it into their pages as much as possible. So if someone wanted their page to rank for vacuum cleaners, they would have text like this: “Buy our vacuum cleaners. Our Vacuum cleaners are made by top brands and are high quality vacuum cleaners.”
These days, this is a negative thing to do and can severely damage your search ranking, so be sure to write text for humans, not search robots. Google doesn’t like more instances of a keyword, but rather the importance of a keyword. Try putting your most valuable words into the title, H1 tag and once or twice in the main copy.
If you can avoid making these seven mistakes on your website, you stand a much better chance of holding a strong position on Google, however there is still a lot more work to do on SEO. Technical SEO, along with on-site content and off-site links and social make up a full campaign which all need to be done right, and better than your competitors.