A big part of our mission here at Popularise is to help business owners develop an effective SEO strategy for their website. We try to focus on actionable advice and efficient tips and tricks. But today we will take a different approach.
In our work with clients we found a lot of common mistakes in creating and running their SEO strategies. These mistakes are most certainly the result of misinformation that is rife on many websites claiming to help small business owners build their SEO strategy. The fact that they are perpetuated by so many sources is a cause of worry. In today’s competitive environment, one single mistake can ruin your entire work.
What Is the Secret of an Effective SEO Strategy?
First of all, here is one huge myth crumbling down: SEO is not a one-time job. You can never say “I’ve built my effective SEO strategy, now it can take care of itself”. The only permanent thing in the world of SEO is change.
Changes occur all the time in:
- The ranking algorithm of search engines
- The consumers’ habits in searching for products and services
- The technology that connects consumers with businesses.
Thus, the only truly effective SEO strategy is the one that is constantly monitored, improved, corrected and adapted to changes.
The Basics of Creating and Running a Healthy SEO Strategy
Before we start with our do’s and don’ts of an effective SEO strategy, here are a few basic things you must do in order to succeed. First of all, make time for SEO. Create a calendar of weekly and monthly tasks you must perform in order to check that your website is properly SEO optimised.
Secondly, be honest and play by the rules (more on the upcoming list). Trying to “beat the system at its own game” does not work. If you are tempted to do so, remember that you are one person working against a large team of professionals who create and update ranking algorithms for search results.
Last but not least, an effective SEO strategy is not a solo endeavour. You must learn to share and make your own content shareable, encourage your employees to engage with your content and find new ways to reach new audiences, such as content syndication and guest posting.
These being said here is what you should and absolutely refrain from doing in your SEO strategy:
DO: Create a Relevant and Keyword Optimised Meta Description
The meta description for each page of your website is very important. It is the snippet of text appearing under the link in Google search results and many users rely on it in order to decide what link to click on.
While you try to make your meta description as engaging and keyword rich as possible, make sure that it is relevant and honest. Do not write anything that users will not find in the web page. This is the SEO equivalent of clickbait and users do not like it a bit (nor does Google, for that matter).
DON’T: Concentrate All Your Keywords on One Page
This is a common mistake that can destroy an otherwise effective SEO strategy. As the saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Likewise, do not put the entire list of your keyword on one page. Instead, make sure that each page is properly optimised with relevant keywords.
DO: Focus on Obtaining Quality Inbound Links
Links to your website from other sources are very helpful for an effective SEO strategy. They show that your content is perceived as authoritative by others and used as a source of reliable information.
DON’T: Rely on Link Exchanges
Link exchanges per se are not a negative SEO practice. When two businesses that are not direct competitors but complementary to each other decide to link back to each other, this is called a link exchange. Link exchange becomes spammy and is penalised by Google when:
- There is no relevance to the link back (such as a restaurant and a clothes shop performing link exchange)
- This is the only link building strategy for the two businesses
- One of the websites has a low page rank.
DO: Write Quality, In-Depth Content
Consumers become more and more exigent in searching for products and services. They want a lot of relevant information before they form a buying decision. Thus, businesses should focus on writing detailed, helpful and information-rich content. Such a content strategy has several benefits:
- You can build authority for your brand
- Your content will be more shareable
- You have the opportunity to include many relevant keywords into long form content.
DON’T: Allow Plagiarism and Poor Quality Content
If you decide to outsource content writing to freelancers in order to save time and money, make sure that what you pay for is:
- Well written
- In line with your brand voice.
In order to prevent embarrassments of any kind, use online tools such as Grammarly and Copy Scape to check the content you receive for grammatical errors and plagiarism.
DO: Optimise Your Site for Voice Search
Voice search is more and more popular among users. Thanks to AI assistants such as Apple Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, everyone can now talk to smart devices and ask questions about products and services.
Optimising for voice search is an important part of an effective SEO strategy and you can achieve it by:
- Writing in a conversational style
- Creating a FAQ section on your website
- Answering your clients’ questions in comments to your blog posts.
DON’T: Forget about Local Search Optimisation
Local search optimisation results in new customers in your area. Especially during these challenging times, consumers are determined to shop close to home and minimise the contact with other people. Thus, failing to make sure that people in your area will see your website among top search results is one of the huge mistakes you must avoid.
We wrote extensively on the topic of local search optimisation on this blog. We encourage you to discover our tips and tricks and start implementing them.
DO: Set Outbound Links to Open in a New Tab
Linking to other sources is a way to build trust with consumers. Also, if these sites have a high page rank, your own page rank will also grow. The issue with outbound links inserted as anchor text is that, by default, they are set to open in the same browser tab. Thus, the reader will navigate away from your website.
To avoid this, you should make sure to set outbound links to open in a new tab. Here is how to do it:
<a href=”https://www.OutboundLink.com/” target=”_blank“>OutboundLink.com</a>
DON’T: Allow Low Rank Websites to Link Back to Your Site
When you’ve just launched your website, you are happy to get any kind of inbound links. But as you start building an effective SEO strategy, you want to weed out poor quality links. It is a tedious job, but it must be done. Otherwise, your page rank will be downgraded by association.
DO: Encourage Content Sharing
As part of an effective SEO strategy, make sure that your content is easily shareable. This includes:
- Adding social media buttons to each page
- Posting interesting and useful content
- Adding calls to action encouraging readers to comment on and share your blog posts.
DON’T: Try to Use Tricks
Finally, here is our most important piece of advice: do not use black hat SEO tactics. White text on white background? Google can spot and penalise that. Keyword stuffing? Google doesn’t like that. Keywords without relevance to your content? No, just don’t do that.
Every trick you can think of, someone else has already tried it before and Google knows about it. Your best chance at building an effective SEO strategy is playing by the rules and being patient to see the first results appearing.