Imagine you’re playing soccer. Tensed but ready for a shot at the goal, you strategize as sweat trickles down to the small of your back. Bouncing off your foot, the ball’s trajectory seems right; you’re pretty sure you’ve nailed this one. Excitement builds. Yet, in the fractions of a second before the ball is supposed to meet the back of the net, the whole goal shifts—just an inch to the left. Nevertheless, that inch is enough to make the ball hit the side post and careen off the pitch. No goal, no point.
You feel completely deflated.
When you’re trying to optimize your website for search engine hits, that sinking feeling you get may feel very similar because the game keeps changing. Google and other search engines keep growing smarter. Tactics that worked a mere three years ago seem outdated by today’s standards. The challenge, then, is to simultaneously keep up with website maintenance while also updating for SEO purposes.
Here’s a glimpse at some of the most common SEO mistakes that even the most seasoned among us make. The good news is that each of them is easy to circumvent. Hint: That’s where we come in.
1. Only Focusing on the Numbers
When it comes to website traffic, quality matters far more than quantity. While it’s nice to see the number of visitors increase, it’s rather meaningless unless those numbers become conversions. Keep in mind that lower-traffic phrases will convert better because they’re more targeted to your ideal customer. Obtaining first-page search engine results with just a few of those key phrases can propel sales.
To find out what’s working, use an analytics package to establish conversion tracking for keyword phrases. Then, compare them against one another to see what’s benefitting the budget.
2. Keyword Cannibalism
Overstuffing your website with keywords and adding more content just to add more keywords is not useful. Though it may have worked years ago, Google has become privy to this practice and now favors quality over quantity. It also causes your pages to compete with one another. Instead, add a canonical to competing pages, create content that prompts people to share, and generate worthwhile inbound links.
3. Neglecting Meta Descriptions
Sure, the meta descriptions may not be as sexy as keywords, but they are nearly as important. Craft thoughtful meta descriptions to improve click-through rates from the SERPS and lessen bounce-through visits. Both of these are crucial elements to rankings on search engines.
4. Forgetting the Outside World
While you want to establish yourself as an authority, it’s important to link to authoritative outside sources as well. All too often people expend tremendous energy on linking within their site and neglecting to build credibility with outside authorities.