If you rely on your website for generating business leads, investing in SEO not only makes sense, it’s absolutely essential. Search engine optimization and search engine marketing can turn a drab-looking, underperforming website into an attractive, streamlined business tool for attracting qualified leads month after month.
There’s no golden rule or silver bullet for making the ideal website. And while we’d all love to be the owner of a website that receives thousands of visitors a day, there are no shortcuts to building organic traffic that grows with your business. Avoid some of the most common SEO mistakes and start experiencing the kind of website traffic you’ve always dreamed of:
10 SEO Mistakes to Avoid:
- Poor Landing Pages
Market research by SEO experts at Search Engine Land suggests that 80 per cent of traffic is dominated by only 10 per cent of landing pages. Are you in the top ten percent? Are you converting more than 2 per cent of visitors into sales? An attractive landing page is not the same as an effective one. Besides high-resolution images and colourful fonts, a landing page needs compelling marketing copy, a great offer and a call to action. Is your offer compelling? How does it compare to offers by your competitors? Do customers see value in your offer? Review these objectively and take a look at other successful landing pages for ideas.
- Weak Content
Search engines rank refreshed, up-to-date content that connects with popular online trends in your field. Does your content inform potential clients about your business and your industry? Instead of focusing exclusively on deals and offers, turn your website into a resource for information and expertise on your industry and you’ll quickly establish yourself as a local authority. Establish a content strategy that includes a comprehensive schedule for releasing relevant information regarding your services as well as your industry.
- Faulty Links
There’s probably no greater turn-off for users than faulty links that produce a 404: Error page. Broken or dead links on a website will reduce your ranking with search results and make your content irrelevant. If you are making changes to your website, make sure to deploy the appropriate redirects to keep clients informed of the temporary status and anticipating the new changes. Review your URL mapping regularly to avoid this costly mistake which reflects poorly on your business.
- Duplicate Content
Websites that featured slightly altered content on multiple pages are a search engine’s headache. If you sell used cars, including 10 pages of the same model in different colours with slightly different marketing copy will hurt your website traffic. A web crawler won’t know which page to prioritize and your website will be overlooked. Consolidate this information on a single page. If you sell dresses in different colours, create a single page or subdomain dedicated to each style with a comprehensive list of the colours along with images, rather than repeating the same information across multiple pages, which only confuses a web crawler.
- Keyword Stuffing
Website copy that is repetitive, poorly organized and stuffed with descriptive keywords will reduce your ranking with search engines. Google’s algorithm reviews the frequency of keywords on a page and if your usage appears suspiciously excessive, your web page could be penalized, making it less visible in search results. Placing the appropriate keywords prominently in the page title, anchor text and URL can do a lot more for you strategically than indiscriminately peppering your pages with keywords.
- Poor User Experience
You may have noticed a decent amount of traffic to your website but a high bounce rate. This is a strong indication that users are leaving your site shortly after visiting it. Reasons for this behaviour are generally due to poor user experience. Websites that are inappropriately labeled with irrelevant, poorly organized content drive users away. Experiment with the layout, design and fonts of your website with a focus on clarity. Put yourself in the user’s shoes and guide them to the solutions you offer with simple, practical copy that clearly points them in the right direction.
- Missing Business Contact information
Search engines rely on your business contact information or NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) to determine the authenticity of your business and distinguish it from others that may be similar in name. Websites that provide a geo-physical address which can be mapped are highly favoured by search engines seeking to provide users with the nearest option. Register your physical business address consistently with as many relevant, local search indexes as you can find, along with online directories and industry associations. Review and update any existing citations of your business by conducting a thorough search of your address and business name.
- Poorly constructed URL’s
A uniform resource locator, or URL, is used by search engines to locate a website or page. Any website address online is considered a URL, but if it’s poorly constructed, search engines will have difficulty finding your content the same way a postman will fail to find an address that is incorrectly marked. Avoid using alpha-numeric URL’s and choose descriptive ones that can be read easily by a web crawler or a person. Websites and blog platforms like WordPress provide users with an option for customizing their URL’s and permalinks to archived content, which will increase your chances of being found by search engines.
- Poor Site Speed
Web pages that load slowly or format incorrectly when they do appear drive users away. Google has no interest in directing traffic to websites that take long to load because they don’t interest users. Optimize your pages and your overall site for faster load times by reviewing/implementing your sitemap as well as your URL structure, tags and meta-descriptions. Remove Java-script and flash players from pages that are visited frequently (home page, contact, about) to avoid losing out on potential leads. Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool will provide you with a comprehensive assessment of your site’s performance for free.
The vast majority of online users are accessing content from a mobile device. Whether it’s a smartphone, tablet or gaming system, chances are users will discover you online through their mobile device first. Search engines have recognized the trend and prioritize websites that are mobile friendly in response to overwhelming demand by users. WordPress and Google offer mobile -friendly tools to help you streamline your layout and load time for display on mobile screens.
Does your website exhibit any of these common SEO mistakes? Are you planning to launch or revitalize your website in 2017? Then contact me, Paul Teitelman, Toronto’s leading SEO/Link building expert, for additional advice and tips.