5 SEO Mistakes You're Making (and How to Fix Them)

We all know that SEO is an important part of your digital marketing strategy. But it’s not everything. All too often people mistake SEO for digital marketing, and forget that thing that you might consider good for SEO aren’t always good for your marketing.

Often times companies come to us with an existing agency that they’re already working with that are giving them bad advice. So let’s take a look at 5 mistakes that many folks are making and how to fix them.

Mistake 1: Link Building is Dead

I’ve heard people say that because of social media, building links to content isn’t important. If anyone tells you that, run. They don’t know what they’re talking about. Google lists social media links differently, and even say they don’t affect search rankings.

So what should you do? Well, first, don’t write vanilla content. If you stand for nothing then who’s going to use your article to help back up their opinion? The second thing you should do is outreach. If you’ve got a cornerstone article, just some real damn good content, you need to share it.

Not only will writing top drawer content help your SEO, it’s also going to make your visitors happy, so your overall marketing is improved at the same time.

Mistake 2: Long-Tail Keywords are So Easy to Get

There’s some logic in this, it’s too bad that it’s misguided logic. While yes, they’re easier than short tail keyword to get ranked for, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do a fair amount of work for them.

If you want to target long tail 50 keywords a lot of companies, to save time, will make maybe 10 landing pages with 5 keywords on each. I mean, they’re so easy to rank for, why not just make it simple?

Sorry, you need to make 50 high quality landing pages, one for each keyword. It’s time consuming but necessary. Like I said, while targeting the phrase “Ann Arbor web design companies” is easier than the term “Web design” it’s still not easy.

Mistake 3: You Need to Update Your Homepage Constantly

I firmly believe in A/B testing to get the best results. But if you’re changing your homepage content for SEO purposes (gaining new keywords) then you’re probably screwing your lead generation and not even knowing it.

It’s ok to make content changes regularly, in fact it’s encouraged. But if you’re re changing the design, CTA’s, and layout just to get more keywords that you rank for, please stop. First, it’s not going to work that well. Secondly, you may have a lead generation magnet but you’d never know it because impatience kept you from learning what that page layout was capable of.

Instead, test your content, your calls to action, and the offerings you have. If something works, don’t break it for the sake of ranking for another keyword.

Mistake 4: OMG The Site Speed!

Here’s how this conversation goes: “I heard that if our website is faster our bounce rate will go down. So I did a Google PageSpeed test and it gave these recommendations, could you please implement them?”

Yes, Google uses usage metrics like bounce rate and page speed a little to know where to rank folks, but it’s not as important as you might think. There’s a lot of well ranking single page websites out there with a near 100% bounce rate.

Doing the “CSS minification and leveraging Browser Caching” can only go so far before it has negative impacts on usability. So is it really worth the dozens of hours it takes to do get these things done to shave off a few milliseconds? I suppose it comes down to how much is your traffic worth? If it’s highly valuable and a few more visitors a month would make a huge impact on revenue, go for it. Otherwise, save your money for more important updates to your website.

Mistake 5: On-Page SEO is Pointless

The theory is that you can’t optimize a page so far as to move the rankings needle. Without proper inbound links it won’t work. While that’s true to an extent, it’s not totally without value. Having good internal linking is important for SEO and the users. In fact the majority of SEO best practices on page will help both search engines and the user. (and that’s the important part)

Every website we are involved with in marketing, on page SEO is one of the first things we do for any new website. It just sets it off on the right foot. So yes, you can help yourself with on-page SEO, it’s important.

Conclusion

SEO isn’t rocket science. I wish it was in many ways. Rocket science uses hard data and applied mathematics and science. Google doesn’t give us hard knowledge into their algorithm. They give us best practices and say, “Good luck!” This gives an opportunity to hand out bad information, and not follow best practices in trade for short gains.

So use the best data you can, and make smart long-term SEO choices that will have a benefit for your business and the users. SEO isn’t rocket science, but it does have data that we can mine to get you the best results possible. We just need to look for it and ignore the bad advice to help you fix the SEO mistakes in your life.

Published 02/26/18 by Eric Lynch