13 SEO Mistakes Killing Your Online Marketing • Burt Systems Uganda

13 SEO Mistakes Killing Your Online Marketing

13 SEO Mistakes Killing Your Online Marketing

13 SEO Mistakes Killing Your Online Marketing

Wondering what SEO mistakes you’re making in your online marketing campaign? In this post, I’ll let you see that SEO is not dead like some marketers claim but as long as we continue to use search engines to guide our online content consumption choices, SEO wont stop working any time soon. You just have to look into avoiding these SEO mistakes in your online marketing campaign.

List of Most Common SEO Mistakes

  1. Not Using Analytics to See What Converts
  2. Not Regularly Auditing Your Own Website
  3. Using Poor Content
  4. Ignoring Proper Keyword Research and Optimisation
  5. Not Using Unique Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
  6. Not Using Anchor Text Best Practices
  7. Keyword Stuffing
  8. Ignoring Internal Linking Structure
  9. Ignoring The Importance of Link Quality Over Link Quantity
  10. Not Optimising For Local Search
  11. The future is mobile, Faster, Better and Easier!
  12. Not intentionally promoting or sharing your content
  13. No call to action for your visitors

The most important aspect of SEO is making your website easy for both users and search engine robots to understand. Although search engines have become increasingly sophisticated, they still can’t see and understand a web page the same way a human can. SEO helps the engines figure out what each page is about, and how it may be useful for users.

A big number of online Marketers who don’t understand the core of SEO still sing “SEO is dead”.  It is not going to stop working any time soon – based on the way search engines appear to be developing, it is not likely that SEO will cease to be effective any time in the foreseeable future. On some level, even audio and video searches ultimately depend on keywords the same as traditional text-based content; this link ensures the continued success of SEO techniques as long as it exists.

Let’s dive into those SEO Mistakes that your business should definitely consider brushing on for a successful organic search campaign;-

1. Not Measuring and Tracking Success of Your SEO Campaigns

They say ‘if you can measure it, then you can improve it’. In search engine optimization, measurement is critical to success. Professional SEOs track data about rankings, referrals, links, traffic, bounce rate, unique visitors and more to help analyze their SEO strategy and create road maps for success.

During a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign, you will need to use Web Analytics to track the performance of your keywords in order to have a successful campaign. You will be able to know how much traffic each of the keyword brings to your website. Web Analytics will open up a world of information you probably never knew about visitors on your site.

The content on your website is what will separate you from the rest of the pack.  In order to fully understand what content is gaining you visitors and what content needs some serious revising, you will need a tool to analyze it. Find out what pages are popular, where your hidden gems are, and which pages are duds!

In order to do this, you need to know how often each page gets visited, how long they stay, and if the visitors are converted into customers.  When a visitor cannot find something on your site, they will use the search function to find it — why not track what they are searching for so that you can add it to your website? Understanding how your visitors are flowing throughout your site is crucial to its success.

Google Analytics - SEO Mistakes

Google Analytics is a free resource that can be installed easily on any website and allows you to see insights into your visitors and track the performance of your website pages, keywords and search terms. It is a powerful analytics platform proving reporting features to enhance your website content, improve engagement and increase click through’s from online advertising.

2. Not Regularly Auditing Your Own Website

While winding up on the subject of measuring, let me to ask you this — When was the last time you gave your website a checkup? Ahh?

As all SEO experts know, ranking in the search engines is a notoriously unpredictable pursuit. Each update can result in a strong, unforeseeable impact. The days of ranking by simply adding keywords to your title tags, header tags and content to get a few backlinks are over. The harsh truth is that a great many businesses struggle to keep up with the changes.

There are a lot of factors that the search engines take into account when determining your standing. Some of the big ones are:

  •    content quality
  •    authority
  •    responsiveness
  •    website speed

Knowing how exactly to improve upon these is a lot easier said than done. Therefore, there will always be a need to perform a quality audit. Keep in mind that an in-depth audit is not a task you can do in a couple of hours. Depending on the size of your business website, it can take a few days to complete.

The search engines are infamous for changing and updating their algorithms with practically no warning. For that reason, it is imperative that you keep up on the trends and do a website audit to find out where you need improvement based on the latest SEO updates.

3. Using Poorly Written Content

The biggest SEO mistake that has proved so easy to ignore among marketers, is good quality content. Content is king. You’ll hear that phrase over and over again when it comes to SEO success.

Whether the aim of your post is to entertain, to inform or to persuade people, in texts that are poorly written the aim is lost. People simply won’t understand your message.

If your content is well-written and nicely structured, chances are much higher that readers will actually stay on your site to read your post. That will result in lower bounce rates and will eventually improve your ranking in the search engines.

Well-written pieces will lead to more trust from your readers. If your content reads well and is free of typos, it will look much more professional and legit. This will make it easier for people to trust you and your blog. If people trust your blog, they will be much more inclined return to your website to read your next post, or buy your product.

Well-written blog posts are more likely to be shared on social media or talked about among friends. For a post to be shared on social media, you first have to convince someone to read the piece itself. And more importantly, someone has to think your post is awesome enough to share it on their timeline on Facebook or Twitter (or any other social media). People won’t share poorly written posts on their social media channels, because they’ll have stopped reading halfway. The message is lost.

Writing high-quality content should be a key aspect of every SEO strategy. Content writing requires some of your creative writing skills, though. And let’s be honest, many blogs are hardly readable and not at all informative, entertaining or inspiring. Now, we can’t all be Hemingway, but you should make an effort to write well.

4. Ignoring Proper Keyword Research & Optimization

The most common keyword optimization mistakes I usually encounter include not executing your keyword research correctly, aiming at unrealistic keywords, using irrelevant keywords, not checking whether you should use singular or plural, aiming for keywords without traffic, forgetting to evaluate and focusing on only one keyword per post.

Keyword Research

Image Credit: Ubbersuggest

Doing proper keyword research and optimizing for them can be a tough, time-consuming process. So, perhaps you think that you don’t need to do it very extensively. You just instinctively know what your audience will search for, right? Do not make that SEO mistake! Take some time to really dive into the language of your audience. Which words do they use? What terms do they search for?

The result of your keyword research should be an extensive list of keywords you would like to rank for. Make sure to update your keyword research list or sheet regularly. Your audience may change, as could your business focus and business needs. That has implications for your keyword strategy as well.

5. Ignoring meta descriptions and title tags

It’s a blogger’s worst nightmare. You write a top-notch piece of content, publish it, promote it, and wait for traffic to pour in. But over the coming days, you find that your masterpiece has gotten far fewer clicks than it deserves. All of that works seems to have been for nothing!

Here’s the critical and little-known piece of the puzzle that’s easy to forget about: the title tag.

Ignoring meta descriptions and title tags

Have you ever wondered whether title tags still matter when it comes to SEO?

Well, the answer is a resounding yes. Title tags are far more important than you might think. In fact, title tags are the second most important SEO factor right behind content, according to Moz’s view.

That means that title tags are almost as vital to your site’s performance as the actual content on your web pages. You can optimize title tags to boost your rankings and site traffic, too. If your page is ranking but not getting clicks, your title tag might be to blame.

“Using the right title tag can improve your CTR by anywhere from 20-100%” says Siege Media’s CEO Ross Hudgens.

And we all know that a higher CTR means a higher conversion rate.

If you think title tags don’t matter for SEO, you’re making an SEO mistake that makes a good heading for my next blog post.

6. Not Using Anchor Text Best Practices

Texts that link to another location or document on the Web are referred to as anchor texts. In short, it’s clickable text in a hyperlink. For instance, in the sentence “SEMrush blog gives an overview of anchor texts,” SEMrush is the anchor text. You can create it using this simple HTML code:

<a href="http://www.example.com">Anchor Text</a>

As long as backlinks are an important SEO ranking factor, anchor text is going to play a significant role. It’s added for the benefit of search engines, so that they can determine what the “linked-to page” is about. Before the 2012 Penguin update, Google used anchor texts to understand whether or not a particular website was relevant. Nowadays, anchor texts serve as a great way for the search engine to penalize websites for spam and over-optimization.

It’s not exactly rocket science: writing relevant anchor text is pure common sense. A link must provide value for a user, and the anchor text is the most important way of conveying the value of that link. Keep it natural. Don’t make up crappy sentences to shoehorn in your exact match keywords or keyphrases. If it doesn’t sound natural when you say it aloud, don’t write it. Also, don’t turn a complete sentence into the anchor text. Keep it condensed and easy to understand.

For great anchor text practices, keep your links relevant. Don’t spam your anchor text and don’t use generic anchor text to try to get people to click on your link. Don’t stuff your anchor text full of keywords. You should never use text that has no relation to the linked content. Whatever you do, don’t try to fool your users – nobody likes that. The same goes for trying to get your site design to ‘stand out from the crowd’ with links that don’t look like links. Keep the contrasting font color and underline it or people will easily miss your links.

Of course, you don’t have much control over how other sites link back to your site, but you can set up a link building strategy that has a better chance of getting those coveted relevant links with great anchor text without honoring this SEO mistake.

7. Keyword Stuffing

When trying to optimize your website for search engines, it can be tempting to take shortcuts. You may want to try tactics that will speed up the process and help you start ranking higher faster. But shortcuts and black hat tactics like keyword stuffing won’t help you; they may actually hurt you. Here’s google take on the matter.

Ever see a page that just looks spammy? Perhaps something like:

“Bakumba Safaris’ cheap gorilla trekking safari is the best cheap gorilla trekking safari you can book. Enquire about a cheap gorilla safari during this summer holidays.”

Not surprisingly, a persistent myth in SEO revolves around the concept that keyword density—the number of words on a page divided by the number of instances of a given keyword—is used by the search engines for relevance and ranking calculations.

Despite being disproved time and again, this myth has legs. Many SEO tools still feed on the concept that keyword density is an important metric. It’s not. Ignore it and use keywords intelligently and with usability in mind. The value from an extra 10 instances of your keyword on the page is far less than earning one good editorial link from a source that doesn’t think you’re a search spammer.

8. Ignoring Internal Linking Structure Best Practices

Internal linking is not the most exciting part of SEO, but it surely is one of its essential parts – wherein if you make this SEO mistake and get it wrong, you will have a lot of problems in your SEO, and even your rankings.

When I say internal links, what I mean are the links inside a website that are linking to another page on the same website. Essentially, the purpose of internal links is to redirect visitors from one page to a different one; to help them know where to go if ever they are looking for other pages in your website.

Internal links are most useful for establishing site architecture and spreading link equity.

On an individual page, search engines need to see content in order to list pages in their massive keyword–based indices. They also need to have access to a crawlable link structure—a structure that lets spiders browse the pathways of a website—in order to find all of the pages on a website. (To get a peek into what your site’s link structure looks like, try running your site through Moz’s Link Explorer.) Hundreds of thousands of sites make the critical mistake of hiding or burying their main link navigation in ways that search engines cannot access. This hinders their ability to get pages listed in the search engines’ indices.

Below is an illustration of how this problem can happen:

Image Credit: MOZ

In the example above, Google’s colorful spider has reached page “A” and sees internal links to pages “B” and “E.” However important pages C and D might be to the site, the spider has no way to reach them—or even know they exist—because no direct, crawlable links point to those pages. As far as Google is concerned, these pages basically don’t exist–great content, good keyword targeting, and smart marketing don’t make any difference at all if the spiders can’t reach those pages in the first place.

Ultimately, if you follow internal linking structure best practices, you can set yourself up for success in the modern context-focused era of SEO.

There are five essential best practices for internal linking structure success you need to know:

  • Put the user first
  • Manage internal link value and flow
  • Structure around content topics
  • Utilize unique content and canonicals
  • Indexing and prioritization

9. Ignoring The Importance of Link Quality Over Link Quantity

Businesses interested in online growth can’t ignore search as a marketing channel — it’s too important. BrightEdge conducted a study that showed organic search directs the majority of traffic online. And links drive rankings in organic search. If search is important to your business — and it should be — links need to be a marketing Key Performance Indicator (KPI).

Link Quantity Over Link Quality

But not every link is created equal. If you’re using links as a KPI in your online marketing, you’ll need to be able to evaluate link quality. Pursuing real, worthwhile links is paramount to search success.

Links are an indicator of success within online marketing. But this doesn’t mean “get as many links as possible” or “X number of links equals success.”

Links should be a KPI within your greater online marketing strategy, similar to the more generally accepted KPI (particularly for content) of social shares. Links are not the end goal, but instead a means to achieve the end goal.

In fact, links are more valuable in terms of traffic, with organic search driving 51 percent of traffic versus five percent from social. And while quantity is often the goal with social shares, more isn’t necessarily better when it comes to links.

Rather, you need to evaluate the links you’re securing to guarantee quality and ensure they support your larger marketing goals. Evaluating link quality is much more difficult than spotting spammy links. Within link quality, there is a large gray zone beyond toxic versus non-toxic.

10. Not Optimizing for Local Search

Consider that you own an online travel business and that you’re located in Uganda but your target customers are in the United Kingdom. Your SEO strategy should be directed to UK users, not Uganda users.

Local SEO

No matter how you slice it, residing at the top of local search engine rankings in your niche is what operating a successful business in today’s traffic-driven marketplace is all about. It is this often overlooked aspect of doing online business today that leaves most small business owners behind the curve struggling to make sales. This means the opportunity for you to pull ahead of the pack with the right SEO strategy for your local market is something you should be taking advantage of now.

If you’re running a business that focuses on customers within a certain city or region, it’s important to learn more about local search so that you can optimize your on-site and off-site SEO strategies for clients and customers who may be searching for your local business.

Most search engines, including Google, handle it a bit differently than keywords that are more global.

Start by including region-specific keywords in your page titles and meta descriptions. You will also want to include an address and local phone number on your pages, such as in the header or footer, so you’ll show up in the local results. Finally, you will want to list yourself on local company listing like Yellow, Yelp, and other local based sites and review networks.

11. The future is mobile, Faster, Better and Easier!

I feel like I shouldn’t be telling you because you’re most probably reading this post from a mobile phone, which I made sure you could.

We are addicted to our smartphones. For many people, the smartphone is the first thing they check when they get out of bed in the morning and the last thing they look at before they go to sleep. People use them for everything – it’s become huge! Mobile phones have dramatically changed our lives, the way we use the web and, consequently, it has changed SEO. Mobile SEO helps you to reach customers and satisfy their needs while enjoying the experience.

Mobile is to SEO what Google is to internet. You can’t have one without the other. Mobile is currently the backbone of Google’s index.

Sure, the mobile-first index very recently rolled out in 2018, but Google has been dropping not-so-little hints for the past few years.

In 2015, Google announced the mobile searches surpassed desktop. Then in 2016, mobilegeddon 2.0 rocked the SEO world. And, in 2017, Google introduced us to the mobile-first index.

There’s quite a difference between desktop SEO and mobile SEO, but the goals are often comparable. You want to reach your audience and convert them into paying customers. In some ways, desktop SEO tactics also work for mobile SEO, but in a slightly different form. Three major themes still apply: focus on performance, user experience and content. In desktop SEO you’ll often focus more on the general public, while mobile SEO has more of a local focus.

Mobile Vs Desktop Traffic 2018

Mobile SEO is – just like regular SEO – all about making sure your site is crawlable and findable. Also, you need stellar performance, great content and a flawless UX. To get it right, you need to know how your site is currently performing and what your visitors are doing right now.

For example, will people use the same keywords on mobile to find you? People often change how they search while using a mobile device. And what do you want people to do? Offering to navigate to the nearest restaurant is less than ideal when you’re on a desktop machine. It makes total sense on your smartphone, though.

12. Not intentionally promoting or sharing your content

It seems a bit paradoxical, but you’ve got to market the content that is, in itself, designed to market your business. First, you need to know why it’s important, and how it’s going to help your campaign.

Forbes Says “Distributing your content on a regular basis should lead you to three main objectives: maximize visibility, self-sustain a content feed and rejuvenate interest in older works.”

There are three main goals you should be looking at in promoting your content, let’s take a quick browse through them;

Maximizing visibility. Distributing your content maximizes its potential visibility. If your content sits without being promoted, it’s unlikely that people will find it on their own. Promoting it means more people will see it, and repeating that distribution will ensure that people who didn’t see it the first time get a chance to view it.

Self-sustain a content feed. When sharing a mix of newer and older material, you’ll have a self-sustaining “feed” of content updates that you can use to keep your social channels active with content. That way, even if you go a few weeks without producing new content, you’ll have something to share with your social audience.

Marketing Your Website - Social Media Shares

Recommended Hot One: Understanding Social Media Traffic

Rejuvenate interest in older works. You can also use your ongoing distribution efforts to attract attention for your older pieces of content. This allows your best content to keep getting attention.

But in the content marketing world, creating and publishing content are only the first steps toward a successful campaign. Often, the most important piece is also the most overlooked: content promotion.

Content promotion is the process of sharing your content across multiple online channels to maximize the visibility of your work, and in many cases, repeating that distribution on regular intervals to increase your effectiveness even further.

Many content marketers fail to promote their content in any way, and end up missing a huge chunk of ROI because of it.

13. No call to action for your visitors

A call-to-action (CTA) is a button or link that you place on your website to drive prospective customers to become leads by filling out a form on a landing page. A CTA is the link between the regular content that your potential customer is interested in, and a page with a more high-value offer on it (the landing page) that is relevant and interesting enough to persuade your visitor to complete a short form.

If you have a website, you have a call to action, multiple CTAs, probably. There’s no such thing as a successful marketing campaign unless there is a successful CTA.

Conversions, revenue, business and profit — they all depend on the mighty call to action. The CTA is so powerful, so important and so foundational to the success of any online marketing initiative that I just have to tell you how to develop CTAs that will benefit your business.

Those tiny little buggers have to jump out to your visitors, convince them of the value of your offer, and get them clicking and it;s best you make them your friends.

CTAs can use all kinds of different wording to attract attention from qualified leads, including: Enquire now, Start a free trial, Make an appointment, Get a free consultation, let me know what you think about this post and you can check back to find a free Comprehensive Guide to SEO or sign up to receive one directly in your mail.

To a good marketer, these SEO mistakes should seem like a work habit, very simple to implement. If they’re not, then you’ll not be reaping big from organic search. It’s time to get out of your comfort zone and get comfortable with discomfort. Talk to our team of experts to help you get your SEO game on before search engines ignore your online marketing efforts.

Burt Baguma
Burt Baguma
The writer is a Ghost Writer, Blogger, Web Developer and Online Marketing consultant. A Senior Manager at Burt Systems Uganda. Baguma has been writing for the digital world for over a decade and has worked with hundreds of small business owners across different cultures around the world.

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