5 SEO Mistakes Shooting You in the Foot
“Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.” – Google
Far too many webmasters make pages and sites which do not actually work well for humans. That is bad search engine optimization (SEO) and will cost your company sales. Here are some SEO mistakes you might be making and how you can fix them.Misconception #1: SEO Mainly Means “Keyword Density” Stuffing keywords into web pages to increase keyword density is generally a mistake--Google and Bing will penalize you if you overload a page with keywords so often that it detracts from the user experience. For example, if you repeat a keyword twice in a title tag, you’re probably screaming to readers that this website was written for machines rather than humans. Don’t shoot yourself in the face. Instead, write naturally and intelligently, incorporating keywords where they fit in. Writing naturally will make your website more persuasive and increase sales per reader.
Misconception #2: Keywords Need to Be an Exact Match
Write in natural English, even if that means using variations on the keywords you’re targeting for the page. For example, instead of incessantly stuffing a keyword like “replacement windows” into a page, you can also incorporate similar variations like “replacement window” or “replacing windows” as natural.
Misconception #3: SEO Doesn’t Help My Users/Customers. Most of the principles of strong SEO help human users.
- Help your readers figure out what you offer as easily as possible. Including the most important phrases in the page title and bolded text is one very reader-friendly way to help them figure out if this page fits their needs.
- Organize your website logically. Again, the overarching goal here is to help readers find what they are looking for as easily as possible. For example, separating your website into product categories helps readers find products within those categories AND helps you rank on searches for those categories.
- Write descriptive links. For example, “Read my list of SEO mistakes” is much more informative (and persuasive) than “Click here.” Descriptive links also happen to help search engines figure out what the linked page is about.
Misconception #4: Ranking #1 is the Only Goal of SEO Your website’s ranking on a particular search is just one factor affecting whether searchers will click through. Work on these, as well:
- Write effective page titles and meta-description tags. In particular, searchers are far more likely to click on a search result if the page title includes the search term.
- Push your Google+ page. A company website which normally ranks lower on a particular Google search will rank significantly higher for searchers that follow the company on Google+.
- If applicable, sign up for Google Authorship. Google results may show a picture for your results, which dramatically increases click-through rates.
- Make sure your pages are actually relevant to the search.Even if you did somehow get a page on mortgage refinancing to rank high on searches for car title loans, that wouldn’t help you much. The people searching for car title loans will not be interested in that page and will flee almost immediately. Offer quality content relevant to the reader.
Misconception #5: SEO Is Dirty and/or a Necessary Evil
Strong SEO helps your website’s readers and contributes to a great user experience. You should be proud of that!
If for any reason you are not proud of your SEO, please stop any practices which are deceptive or are taking away from the user experience. If you’d feel uncomfortable sharing your tactics with your users and your search engines, Google and Bing are probably on your trail. Clean SEO not only helps your readers make purchases, but also protects you from potentially devastating Google and Bing penalties.
- Search engine companies reward companies that help users.
- Focus your SEO efforts on helping humans use your website as easily as possible.
- If you’re not proud of your SEO, something is wrong. We can help diagnose the issue—please call 847-346-3600!
Still not proud of your SEO? Visit the Spectrum site or call us today!