SEO has always been somewhat of a nebulous subject. Some people think it’s bullshit while others think it’s useful. If you happen to be in the latter group but you just don’t have enough time to oversee a full SEO campaign because you have other matters to worry about, that’s understandable. However, that doesn’t mean you have to completely neglect SEO.
The following 5 points will help give you some pointers on SEO areas you can fix on your site.
1. Anchor Text Over Optimization
Anchor text manipulation has always been on Google’s radar. And with the Penguin update, it’s more important than ever to watch how you build links. The idea is that if you build too many exact match anchor text links, your site will triggle an algorithmic penalty. An example of this would be if you’re an online jeweler looking to optimize for the keyword ‘engagement rings’.
Let’s assume you somehow managed to acquire 300 links for the month, the following would be a risky tactic:
295 links with the anchor text ‘engagement rings’
5 links with the anchor text ‘engagement rings online’
Here’s a safer example:
50-100 links with the anchor text ‘engagement rings’ and variations of ‘engagement rings’ (ex. buy engagement rings online, wedding engagement ring store)
200 links with your ‘yourbrandname’, ‘www.yourbrandname.com’, ‘http://brandname.com’
Keep in mind there’s no set ratio for this – but a good rule of thumb to go by is to have your brand name mentioned significantly more than the anchor text. Here’s what iAcquire’s Mike King said when he talked to an ex-Googler:
An ex-Googler told me at SMX Australia to always be sure the highest occurring anchor text for a site is branded otherwise you may trigger an algorithmic filter or penalty.
2. Poor/Lack of Content Marketing Strategy
If you aren’t investing in a content marketing strategy right now, you need to be. Large brands like Coca Cola are going all in with content. Just look at how the ‘content marketing’ is trending now:
This doesn’t mean just throw up a blog and hire an SEO or writer to pump out as much content as possible. It means genuinely researching each topic and outputting something useful and actionable.
Sure, you’re not going to see an instant ROI from content marketing, but just think about this: how long does it take for a company to see good ROI from a revamped customer service initiative? How about a social media?
It takes time for people to get noticed so invest in it. If you haven’t fully bought into content marketing yet, here are some of the long term benefits:
- Added search traffic
- More links
- Build trust with your audience
- Attract more leads
If you want to do more research, here’s a resource on 44 must read content marketing resources.
3. Poor Design
One of Google’s guidelines for building a high quality website includes creating a site where people would trust it enough to enter their credit card. A large part of that comes from investing in a great design.
Imagine walking into a store with boxes and products littered everywhere versus a store like Nordstrom where everything is well organized and beautifully designed. The experience is drastically different, right?
If you look at stores like Amazon or Zappos, you can see that they make things both beautiful and usable for their customers. You might not have a huge budget for design if you’re just starting out, but at least go with something clean and tolerable to others.
4. Not Investing for the Long Term
Let’s face it, SEO is like customer service. Content, link building, ongoing keyword research, and iterations all take time. Zappos and Nordstrom didn’t become globally renown for their service overnight. Here are some numbers to show to executives if you still need to secure buy-in for SEO:
- 70% of the links search users click on are organic – not paid.
- Inbound leads cost 61% less than traditional, outbound marketing.
- Businesses with websites of 401-1000 pages get 6x more leads than those with 51-100 pages.
- 81% of marketers rated their blog as useful or better.
- 75% of users never scroll past the first page of results.
Bottom line: SEO is like nurturing a baby. Give your campaign time and it will become big and strong.
5. Not Tracking Progress
Not tracking your progress is like shooting in the dark. Having Google Analytics installed is not enough – make sure you take advantage of it. Even today, e-commerce stores don’t have conversion tracking enabled. Similarly, large publishers don’t have goals enabled. This means a lot of companies are mission out on the ability to see how their efforts tie into their bottom line. Don’t be one of those companies.
To get you started, here are 7 time-saving Google Analytics custom reports that will help you track the effectiveness of your campaign. These reports include information on PPC, SEO, social, content efficiency, and more.
Bonus: Lack of Beneficial WordPress Plug-ins
This bonus is for those of you on WordPress. If you run a self-hosted WordPress blog, there are a lot of great plug-ins that will help your overall online marketing efforts. Some of these include:
- SEO plug-ins
- Social plug-ins
- Image compressors
- Data backup
- and much more.
Here’s a blog post on 19 stellar wordpress plug-ins.
When it comes down to it, SEO isn’t some kind of black magic. It’s simply another marketing channel that helps you gain more traffic and customers. You might have other business priorities at the moment, and that’s understandable. That’s why this blog post can help you address some mistakes you are making and point you in the right direction to quickly fix them.
What are some other SEO mistakes that I missed?
Image Credit: Lord Jim