Here are my rantings on internet marketing. I've given some good advice in some articles, and others, well. Take a look for yourself.
Blog » Small business SEO/SEM mistakes
Small businesses often cut a few corners to save on costs, especially when it comes to search engine optimisation and advertising. The main reason for this is not being informed when it comes to these particular subjects, also they may be put off by the endless amounts of spam emails filled with jargon they receive from overseas agencies. As someone that loves to analyse things, I'm here to tell you what you should not be doing and the things to look out for in the future, especially when thinking about boosting your online sales.
Ignoring Google Advertising
This would have to be one of the most important forms of advertising on the internet today. Adwords is an advertising platform that allows businesses to advertise within Google search and Network partners. This is known as pull advertising, meaning people are already in a buying mode or research mode when they find you. This is different from advertising platforms such as Facebook, which is push advertising to generate leads and is often ignored by the user, sometimes blocked using ad blocker.
Adwords needs to be managed by someone that has been trained, otherwise the consequences are extremely expensive with very little return. When managed properly, the targeting is so precise that your conversion rate becomes extremely high. This is simply an investment for business owners and some businesses can completely rely on this platform, depending on what they're selling or providing as a service.
Adwords is known as PPC or CPC, which stands for Cost Per Click or Pay Per Click, they're the same thing. Some people become confused with this but I can assure you, they're the exact same thing.
Ignoring Social Media
Often I come across clients that have absolutely no social activity, and simply can't be bothered spending a minimum of 30 minutes per week updating. This is a big no no today as Google Search feels as though “if nobody is sharing your site, why should we.” and I agree. Asking your developer to integrate Facebook (open graph), Twitter (cards) and Google Plus (business page) is a huge must today.
Another mistake is setting up a social media profile then ignoring it completely. Think about this situation for a minute: You've landed on my website in search for an SEO consultant in Sydney, and I have not updated my blog posts or information for over six months. I bet the very first question you ask yourself is “is he still in business?” and the same goes for social media.
There is a huge trust factor when it comes to updating your profiles and keeping them up-to-date. Not only does it affect how people think of you in the real world, it affects your business name online. If you don't have time to update your social media platforms, then hire someone or make it part of your content creators job.
Ignoring On-site SEO
Most business owners are not aware that the world wide web is tied up with links, and search engines send out little robots/spiders to websites to follow links. On-site SEO is nothing more than optimising your website so these robots/spiders understand what your website is about, but it is tricky.
These factors include: appropriate meta data, correct coding practices, robot instruction file, sitemaps and internal linking. There are so many website developers that don't know about on-site SEO, leaving it completely ignored. A common mistake is business owners want all their products listed in the title tag, or just the business name. Another common mistake is not having a properly written description or homepage content.
The best thing to do is to hire someone to fix your on-site problems and hiring a copywriter to create unique keyword content.
Not targeting local and maps
Recently I've come across a few business owners that don't want to be listed in Google maps because it affects their organic ranking. What!? Chase that down, you should be in the maps and you should be targeting specific locations. For example, if you're a painter and you're located in Melbourne, without local targeting, anyone in Australia can find you and if you're running advertising, then you're paying for someone in Sydney to find you just to click back because you are nowhere near their house. By not targeting specific locations, you're just asking for a high bounce rate, low click through rate and irrelevant leads: a perfect recipe to drop on rankings.
If you want an easy solution for being listed locally, then Google Maps and Bing Maps pull their business listings from Yellowpages, but they aren't exactly the most organised people. A full proof plan is to run a paid yellowpages listing plus asking your SEO consultant or agent to build business citations.
Update May 2017: For local web directories in Australia, check out my article on the best for 2017.
Not creating fresh content
Content is king, distribution is queen! When it comes to content, search engines love fresh content that has high quality and is unique. Often business owners don't bother with a blog roll, however, creating a blog roll allows you to target longtail keywords and also gives copywriter work. A see a lot of business owners posting duplicate content from another site, this is also a big mistake and could even lead to a penalty.
Fresh content should include: unique images, video and more than 500 words of text that is topic related to your business. If your'e posting about Sumo Wrestling and you sell jewelry, then you're doing it wrong.
Thinking SEO is a one time backlinking job
This unfortunately is one of the most common mistakes business owners make. Speaking from experience, more often than not, a potential client will receive a quote and think it is too expensive for them, so they turn to the spam email or web platforms like fiverr. SEO is not just backlinking and cheap services will definitely throw out your anchor text percentages.
Consequences for resorting to cheap tactics will lead to a Google penalty, which will have you de-ranked or possibly de-indexed as you're flagged as spam. Another common mistake is quantity over quality. I have personally ranked websites with no more than a few hundred backlinks, the appropriate amount of quality links is all you need, there is no need to have someone blast your website with thousands of low quality links as the result will definitely be a Google manual penalty. The only way out of a penalty is to have the links removed or completely kill your website and domain name then start again. My main question to business owners that result to cheap SEO tactic is “What is the point?” as it will end up costing you a lot more in the end, plus delay your ranking position goal. Just do it right from the start and there are no problems.
SEO is an ongoing job, many don't think so but I can assure you that it is. For example: one client hired me and hit the first page for six keywords within two months, then stopped my services. After two months of stopping my services they dropped back to the second page and I received an abusive email. SEO is not a one off thing, it is something that must be done on a regular basis and can't be rushed. Also remember that there are hundreds or possibly thousands of other websites trying to rank for the same keyword, as they go up, someone needs to go down.
Ignoring reports and measurements
Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools are important, so important that they help you get to know how people find you, where they're coming from and what they are clicking on. This means you can measure how people interact with your website, what keywords don't work for you and how you should approach your next campaign. It is extremely common that people blame the SEO consultant for not ranking in the right keywords and not taking into account that their actual website is hard to use and not very user friendly.
It was announced that mobile and tablet users have overtaken the desktop PC users and if your website is not fluid, people will click back. I'm not going to go into extreme detail about user interface design, but I will say that if your website looks old, is hard to navigate around and isn't to the point, then people will click the back button to find something else.
If this is all too much for you, or you have experienced some bad SEO techniques and need somone to clean up the mess. Click in the contact me button in the sidebar (bottom of site if you're on mobile).
I'm a digital marketing and SEO consultant based in Sydney, Australia. I drink a lot of coffee and spend most of my time working on clients websites and improving their search visibility.