If you’re relying on your website to promote your business, to provide leads and sales, then you’ll be acutely aware of the importance of high quality traffic. If you cannot ensure a steady stream of targeted visitors to your website, then your website will not give you the results you want.
The most popular source of traffic to a website is the search engines. Yes you can rely on advertising, social media and referrals, but the bulk of traffic our clients get is through the major search engines. Not only can search engines provide highly targeted traffic, but it’s an inexpensive option too.
However, many website owners/managers don’t understand how important it is that your website is visible in the search engines. There is often more emphasis, time and money spent on making a ‘pretty’ looking website. Although it’s important that your website looks great, it’s also vital that this is paired up with a plan to ensure online visibility.
Below is a list of mistakes that we still see made quite a lot. There’s still a lot of bad/outdated advice relating to SEO which can be found online when searching for SEO tips. Some of this advice can lead to penalties from Google and the other search engines. So make sure you’re not using outdated SEO methods. As we’ve always said, content is king – create fantastic content and market it well and you’ll do well online… just don’t do any of the below:
- Not using effective keywords: It’s important that your website contains the keywords that people will use to look for you. Don’t focus on just one main term – think about the wide range of keywords people will type into the search engines when looking for your product or service. Remember to consider geographical terms (if relevant) as well as longer tail terms (keyword searches that contain more than 3 words)
- Overusing keywords: As we said above – don’t rely on just one or two keywords. We’ve seen websites where one keyword was used over and over again. Not only does it not feel natural when reading, but the search engines will view it as a spammy technique and you may be penalised.
- Using irrelevant keywords: Make sure you do some keyword research before optimising your website. Don’t just optimise it for the terms you assume people will use. There are lots of ways you can find out what people do actually search for – read these SMEketing articles to find out more: What Is SEO: What Is Keyword Research? and SEO: Choosing the right keywords
- Copying content from other websites: It’s important that your website uses high quality persuasive copy, but writing this content can be a daunting task. If writing isn’t one of your skills it can be tempting to take content from other websites. But it’s vital you don’t do this. Not only is it stealing, but the search engines may penalise you for having duplicate content on your site.
- Keyword stuffing: Keyword stuffing if a very old technique that used to work back in the late 90′s and early 2000′s. People would repeat their keyword over and over again on a page with the idea that it would make the search engines think that page was extremely relevant for that term. Even though it used to work, it was a very spammy technique. Now it’s still a spammy technique, but doesn’t work anymore, so don’t bother!
- Using hidden text: This again is an old and spammy SEO that doesn’t work anymore. You’d be surprised how often we come across this though.
- Relying on tiny text: Using tiny text is a similar old technique to using hidden text. Don’t do it!
- Not checking your webpages for errors: Make sure you check your website on a regular basis for common errors – spelling mistakes, broken links, images that won’t load etc. Make sure your site is always easy to navigate and customer friendly.
- Using a free web host: It can be tempting to use a free web host when you’re starting up a new business, however although this can save you money, it won’t do your online visibility any good. The search engines will assume a website that pays for its hosting is a higher quality, more valuable site.
- Only focusing on Google: Google may rule the search engines at the moment, and most of our traffic and the traffic our clients website get is from Google. However, it’s important to be aware of the other search engines. The number of people using Bing is growing every year. Yahoo! is still very popular, and you’ll be surprised at the number of people using the other search engines like Ask and AOL Search. Make sure you know what these search engines value in a website and make sure your website covers those areas.