Costly SEO Mistakes & How to Fix Them
Most buyers do their own research online before ever contacting a company or sales person. In fact, studies show that industrial buyers look at more than seven websites and are well into their decision-making process before ever talking to a sales person. If your website isn’t optimized for search, you’re likely losing business and quickly falling behind your competitors.
In many cases, all you have to do is correct a few mistakes to start getting more positive results.
SEO Mistake #1: Not Using Analytics to Measure Performance
Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t only about driving massive amounts of free traffic to your website. More importantly, it’s about conversions.
This is where a few key questions come in to help guide your SEO strategy:
- What are you trying to achieve?
- How do you measure results?
- What’s working and what’s not?
It’s easy to get caught up watching which phrases are sending you the most traffic, and then getting bummed when you don’t rank for those super-competitive, high-traffic keywords. However, lower-traffic phrases often convert better because they’re more specific. When you improve page rank for these less popular keywords, it can drive sales. But the only way to find out is to track it.
Take-Away: Use an analytics package like Google Analytics to set up conversion tracking for your keyword phrases, and then compare them against each other to see what produces the best results. This data will help you better optimize your site, and understand which efforts are worth focusing on and which ones should be let go.
SEO Mistake #2: Not Optimizing for Local Search
If your business focuses on customers within a certain city or region, local search can be a useful strategy. Most search engines, including Google, handle local search terms a bit differently than keywords that are more global.Take-Away: Start by including region-specific keywords in your page titles and meta descriptions. You will also want to include an address and local phone number on your pages, such as in the header or footer, so you’ll show up in local results. Finally, list yourself on Yelp, Merchant Circle, Google Places, FourSquare, and other local-based directory sites and review networks.
SEO Mistake #3: Focusing on Keywords That Are Too Broad
It’s easy to fall into the trap of optimizing for useless traffic:
- Global keywords, when you only offer services to local customers
- Generic keywords that attract visitors who have no interest in what you’re offering
- Keywords that only bring in visitors looking for free information, not prospective customers who are interested in buying something
Broad keywords that have lots of competition may have several SEO experts working full-time to defend their first-page ranking. Focusing on generic keywords might bring you a lot of traffic (if you’re successful), but it will probably require excessive time and resources, with minimal return on your investment.Take-Away: Focus on more specific keyword phrases, which usually lead to quicker rankings and more qualified traffic.
SEO Mistake #4: Not Having Unique Title Tags and Description Tags
Your page titles are shared in tweets, and used as the text when someone bookmarks your website. Descriptive, unique titles are highly important.
Similarly, meta descriptions are a 160-character sales pitch for your page within search results. Each one should be as unique and persuasive as possible.Take-Away: Your company’s homepage, and each page throughout your site, should have a custom title tag and meta description that will make people want to click on your listing in search results, and should include relevant keywords to support SEO.
SEO Mistake #5: Not Using Anchor Text for Internal Links
Internal links are those that direct readers to another page on your website. When websites use generic call-to-action language for internal links (such as “click here,” or “learn more” ), it’s less effective for SEO than using keyword-rich anchor text, one of the most important components of SEO.Take-Away: For example, if you write a blog post and you want to link to your services page, make the anchor text “heavy equipment maintenance and service”. If you prefer to use calls-to-action, include relevant keywords in the link such as: “click here to learn more about our overhaul programs.”
SEO Mistake #6: Rarely Updating Your Website
Buyers want informative material that helps solve their problems and provides answers. If your website strategy is to make updates once or twice a year, you’re likely getting crushed by your competitors. Common issues include:
- Lack of a mobile friendly website
- Have no social media presence
- You're guilty of poor quality content, if any at all
- Your site is slow
- Poor page rank for non-branded terms
- Fresh content helps search rankings
Take-Away: Unless your extremely unique, thinking your website doesn't matter is a huge mistake. Your website is a critical component to keeping customers and growing sales. For most B2B companies, neglecting your website is a quick way to sabotage your business, drive customers to your competitors and make sure prospective employees would never want to work for you.
SEO Mistake #7: Poorly Written Content
Optimized content does not necessarily equal high-quality content. Buyers want informative material, not just news and articles about your company and products. Attract buyers to your company by creating content that helps customers solve relevant problems and succeed in their job. [Quantity vs. Quality Content]
Take-Away: Your options are to create content in-house or to outsource it. Either way, quality content requires resources, and a plan to execute and deliver. If you choose to outsource content, hire writers who are capable of producing original articles that you are proud to publish on your site. You’ll probably have to pay them a lot more, but if it results in new business, it’s a far better investment.
If it’s time to improve your SEO, get more tips and tricks with our 20-page eBook that dives into the details of the ten common SEO mistakes that you should avoid.