When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), you want to do everything to rank highly and bring in the most potential customers possible. But even the most seasoned online business professionals can make mistakes when optimizing their site for search engines, meaning they’re missing out on countless valuable conversions. To help you avoid these SEO mistakes, here are seven common SEO mistakes you should avoid at all costs.
You should definitely avoid keyword stuffing if you want your website to do well in search engines. Keywords are phrases that people use when looking for information on a topic. When optimizing your site, don’t stuff too many keywords into your content; it makes for a poor user experience and can get you penalized by search engines. For example, if someone searches Google for the best Chinese restaurants, putting that phrase directly into a review would be considered keyword stuffing and will likely get your post buried or removed from search results altogether. Instead, create quality content about an area of expertise with related terms sprinkled throughout naturally. You may also consider adding additional pages around key terms/phrases, including reviews/ratings/price comparison – these will help guide searchers to other relevant areas of your site as part of an overall strategy. Use descriptive URL names: Unlike regular text links placed next to a title tag, images actually have their own links just below them so that users can click on them and go straight to the image itself.
When looking for information, long-tail keywords are phrases or questions users type into a search engine. As opposed to single words, long-tail keywords reflect searches that are more specific and easier to rank for—so you’ll get more traffic and rank higher if you optimize your content around them. By making sure your website is highly optimized around long-tail keywords, you can easily boost your rankings in Google search results and drive even more web traffic to your site. Additionally, people typing long-tail queries into Google are much less likely to be using an ad blocker; these types of searchers will convert at a much higher rate! Using W3C HTML validation is another way to ensure you’re optimizing for long-tail keywords. No matter what keyword research tool you use, be sure it’s W3C, validated as it’ll save a lot of headaches later on. Our favorite free keyword research tool? The Google Keyword Planner. This handy little tool allows you to enter multiple seed terms (i.e., topics or themes) and then pull back-related terms plus estimated search volume data. It also gives you a nice range of high/medium/low competition for each term, allowing you to drill down further until you find what seems like a perfect fit. If nothing else, I promise Google Keyword Planner alone will make your life infinitely easier when writing content. How do I know? Because I spend about two hours every other week digging through research on potential niche ideas, my clients aren’t wasting their time trying to create something from scratch.
Before optimizing your website, you need to do keyword research. Keywords are just that—the words and phrases people use when looking for information on a certain topic. If you don’t know what keywords people are using, you can’t optimize your content to attract them as visitors. The most popular places to do keyword research include Google AdWords and Wordtracker; both are free if you set up an account with Google Analytics (and, of course, no one will object if you want to conduct additional research). For more in-depth information on search engines index websites, check out Search Engine Watch. Many webmasters also recommend Siteliner for its numerous features, ease of use, and price point. You will find yourself paying from $8-$10 per month depending on which features you choose and whether or not it offers unlimited pages/sites at your price point. Some features offered by Siteliner are geo-targeting tools, social media tools (including integration), site audit tools, and a sitemap submission tool that allows you to submit 1 URL/sitemap instead of many thousands! Another handy tool is On-Page SEO Checker, where you enter a page, and it gives you suggestions of ways to improve your page, so it gets higher rankings on search engine results. This particular company has been around since 2003 and has over 15,000 customers worldwide, including over 600 Fortune 500 companies. I personally run sites ranked #1 on Google in my area and have made decent money online with minimal effort through their services alone. It definitely pays to take advantage of their paid offerings, too as well!
On some search engines, image alt text is used in place of description tags to help their users more easily find relevant results. This is especially helpful for those who can’t see images. However, you run into a problem without a description tag on your image, where that alt text becomes your site’s title or meta description. If either of these aren’t set up properly, it could cause your site to rank poorly or not rank at all in search engines. To prevent these issues from happening (and earn a few extra points with accessibility advocates), always use an alt tag for each of your images. Learn more about using alt text effectively.
Optimizing your website is a good idea. Going overboard, however, can actually hurt your search engine rankings. The problem comes from overstuffing your pages with keywords and overdoing link-building efforts. If you are using keyword-specific anchor text on links to build Google juice for specific terms or phrases, you’re not doing yourself any favors with Google. Instead of receiving credit for unique content—the goal of every site owner—you could potentially be penalized for spamming. By reading through some basic guidelines and best practices, you should be able to strike a balance between optimizing your website and avoiding common SEO mistakes that often lead to penalties (and losing page rank). It may seem like another step to take, but it is time well spent and can save you tons of headaches down the road.
Do not let blogging become a chore: Enjoy writing? Great! When it comes time to write your posts, you need those skills, so don’t get tired of it after only a few weeks (that will only end up hurting you once school starts). Make sure you post quality content frequently by keeping track of deadlines and making extra time for posts when necessary. To keep from burning out, try taking breaks once in a while by giving yourself permission to leave early or say no if asked by friends if something will cut into blogging time. After all, nothing stinks more than getting sick because being exhausted prevents proper sleep hygiene!
According to a recent comScore report, more than half of all digital media time is spent on mobile devices. That number has only been increasing in recent years. The point here isn’t that people don’t want content while away from their desktops; they don’t want to view your content through an app designed for desktop viewing. Work with your developer to optimize web pages for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets so readers can have a better experience and engage with your site more often. And if you need help finding qualified candidates, look no further than Elance! We can connect you with top-notch developers who specialize in building custom websites for SMBs just like yours. Whether you need full development or just want someone to handle some coding work as part of your creative brief, we can make sure you find exactly what you’re looking for. Browse our portfolio now . . . even keep reading over there on your phone! 📱 🎉 🍰
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In web design, a call to action (CTA) is a button or banner that prompts users to take an immediate and specific action, such as purchase now or subscribe here. Creating CTAs makes it easy for users to know what they should do on your site. Create clear, easy-to-find links and place them near popular content that visitors are likely to be interested in. As always, keep user goals in mind when designing CTAs. If you want visitors to register for an account or subscribe to your newsletter, make it clear how they can do so with a click of their mouse. And consider using a copy that reflects their goals—instead of saying subscribe, say something like subscribe today and receive our free monthly newsletter! Don’t force it either: While calls to action help convert website visitors into leads and customers, too many too close together run the risk of being ignored. Remember: Some content is better than none; once people arrive at your site, give them a good reason to stay awhile.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is becoming more important with each passing day. More and more consumers are turning to online sources for reviews, recommendations, and buying decisions, which means your business needs to be on top of its digital game. If you’re new to SEO or have been avoiding it because you don’t have time, don’t worry—there are plenty of simple steps you can take right now that will help improve your website’s search ranking while also improving customer experience. Let’s take a look at seven of these quick fixes. I know you don’t have time… but let’s pretend we do! It’s only going to take us 5 minutes.
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