SEO is a term that yields no fewer than 938 million results in Google – the mind melts to think of the levels of optimisation that must be needed to appear at the top of that list and beat Wikipedia!
The staggering number of SEO advice sites, consultants and agencies can be daunting for companies looking to do it themselves or who suspect they may need to refine their existing SEO campaign.
SEO is not a simple subject – you’ll find thousands of blogs and advice articles on all the different aspects of optimisation – how often, how much, how much time (and money) to spend, who can help, what to do and when.
So, where to start? Start with the considering the ‘why’, i.e. “Why do I need SEO? My business is doing just fine.” To help you understand why you need SEO, we’ve put together this list of bad habits to avoid in your SEO campaign.
Bad Habit #1: Ignoring SEO
Not sure where to start with SEO and wonder if you can do without it? It’s easy to treat SEO as the elephant in the room, but it’s very likely that your competitors aren’t. Take a look at who appears above you in Google search for your keywords, I bet you they have an active SEO campaign in place.
Do your research online to keep up with current trends, and consider training to learn the basics or make sure what you’re doing is right. Here at Silicon Beach we get plenty of people on our SEO courses who want to know if it’s really worth it, whether they should keep paying out to their agency, or who want to refine their efforts so what they’re doing works and isn’t harming their site.
A good course will be a two-way interaction with personalised advice and tips to get you on your way. Baby steps are ok, especially because what works for one company may not work for you. You have to start somewhere – you can’t just ignore it – so start with the basics of SEO and grow from there. SEO is never going to go away, so you better start embracing it!
Bad Habit #2: Getting Bogged Down
Your SEO strategy will break down if you focus on just one part of the process. Search engine optimisation depends on all kinds of factors; quality of your site, keyword frequency and placement, social signals, incoming links and the reliability of the sites you link to, to name just a few. All of these factors need careful time and effort.
It’s no longer enough to stuff your content with keywords and buy 1000’s of backlinks – two of the most frequent bad habits we still see! Companies who get bogged down with one part of the process at the expense of the rest soon find they are wasting their time – there are no short cuts, and no single quick fix for SEO success.
Bad Habit #3: Living in the Dark Ages of SEO
SEO changes all the time. You can’t stick with the same short term strategies and expect them to keep working. Think long term and think quality. When your competitors get booted for spammy tactics, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.
Those who haven’t moved on from keyword stuffing & spammy links are now being penalised for the detriment to usability thanks to the introduction of readability and value-focused updates to the Google algorithm in recent years.
Bad Habit #4: Forgetting the Big Picture
SEO is only one part of the process to get the sales, views or enquiries that your business depends on. There’s no doubt that your website must be SEO-friendly, but it must also be usable, reader-focused and your product must be engaging or sellable.
Being number one in organic search results for your keywords will mean nothing if your visitors do not turn into conversions. Even the best planned and executed optimisation campaign means nothing without a good product or service at the centre of it.
Bad Habit #5: Keeping the Spotlight on Google Only
Yes, Google is the biggest web search engine, but each of the others has its own advantages and fans willing to sing about why its methods are more valid. Development in new ways to search such as SIRI (a voice activated search service for the iPhone) mean that SEO is likely to be turned on its toes over the next few years, and it will be up to Google to maintain its usability and relevance.
This goes back to the point about quality. No matter how people are finding your site you want to turn them into sales, so build something great then think about getting people there. Don’t compromise quality for a quick win in Google as you will suffer in other areas.
Your marketing strategy should include attention to expert SEO blogs and news sites so you know how much time to focus on your Google SEO and how much on other search engines and new search technologies. Google may be the cool kid at school who gets all the attention and has all the influence, but we all know how quickly popularity can wane.
Bad Habits 1-5 Altogether = Complacency
The SEO ‘mistakes’ that can affect your rankings are very rarely one-off errors. Focus instead on avoiding bad habits – which means close monitoring of your progress and that of your competitors, and learning from each mistake you make or you see made by others. Bad habits such as those above are what will drag you down the rankings, and all the bad habits above can be easily summarised as complacency.
Getting all the strands together and performing can be tough and, once you’ve got it sussed, keeping it going may be tougher. Keep reading, researching, learning and evolving. As the complicated world of SEO grows and evolves, so should you.
Aaron Charlie has the mammoth task of trying to increase the rankings for all 200 of Silicon Beach Training‘s courses. Their SEO workshops teach you techniques that won’t come back to bite you in future.