Search engine optimization (SEO) is at the very least a part of the daily vocabulary and it likely makes up a large whack of your strategy – and budget. Even for the savviest of marketers, though, it can come with its challenges and complexities.
Here are some of the top SEO conundrums and how best to fix them, when you do accidentally take a wrong step.
Picking keywords incorrectly
You or your clients may assume that a certain vocabulary describes the site you are trying to rank, but it’s worth checking whether these words are the correct and most widely-used ones by the demographic that you are looking to target.
It’s imperative that when choosing your keywords that you put yourself in the searcher’s shoes and consider what your target audience would be looking for. If you find yourself agonising over which keywords to choose, tools such as Google Adwords Keyword Planner and SEMrush can help you decipher which terms may work for you.
Pepper key terms everywhere
If you want to establish rankings for certain phrases or words, it’s fair to assume that you should use these terms in as much content as possible and cover your website with them. Unfortunately, this practice, though common, does not boost your SEO rating; in fact, it will actually harm your presence in the long run.
Google is sophisticated and as a result, trying to play the system and overuse keywords can lead to being blacklisted and marked as spam, causing a massive bash to your SEO.
Overlooking keywords in the URL
While some overlook the importance of using keywords in the URL, it is a basic component of SEO. Inner pages are often ranked more frequently for chosen search terms over home pages, so adding key terms into the URL itself will likely help to bolster your homepage and inner pages up the rankings.
Duplication is a mistake many make more often than you may think. As a once-common practice in the industry, it is still undertaken by many old-school thinkers. Forever keeping up with SEO magicians, however, search engines have cottoned onto this and they now penalise those taking this arguably lazy, spammy approach.
Don’t let your content go untitled
Once you’ve uploaded and are ready to publish your content masterpiece, be that a blog post, feature or some other media, take a second to look at your title tags and meta description.
These titles are often forgotten about – an error in SEO 101. They are essential in increasing your SEO successfully and must not be ignored. Good tags and a relevant meta description get taken into account by search engines when skimming over your site.
For example, if you’re publishing a piece on running shoes, your title should either include the brand product or name and even a commonly asked question that the content will answer e.g. “What are the best running shoes?”.
Seek external links
You can’t get the most from SEO without building a portfolio of high-ranking external do-follow links from other sites. The best way to go about this task is to produce content that these sites might be interested in covering or publishing themselves, providing they will link back as a credit.
This content could be a tool, an infographic or long-form article that you’ve hosted somewhere on your site. If the content is intriguing enough, the hook is strong and the angle is relevant to the third party’s agenda, you will have a high chance of generating do-follow links back to your content on high DA news sites.
It can be tempting to start writing about something completely unrelated to your core mission. Be warned, though, that straying too far from your keywords can ultimately hurt your SEO mission.
Google looks for content that is going to answer a user’s needs; if you fail to focus your feature or article on answering these needs, that content will not rank highly for your search terms.
Cramming a load of different topics into one piece of content can also be damaging as it will likely result in shoddy, rushed content that answers nothing and ultimately reduces your SEO.
Although SEO has been a focus for many the past few years, it’s still a fairly new and exciting topic that changes regularly. Everyone is learning together so don’t panic, mistakes will likely be made along the way and can be fixed if you follow the right guides.