Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a crucial part of any marketing strategy in 2021.
While there are countless SEO tips that can improve your organization’s visibility online, it can be difficult to keep up with evolving trends.
Google’s best practices change rapidly. That means you’ll need to avoid making mistakes if you don’t want to get hit with a penalty or drive customers away.
But which common mishaps should you watch out for? Take a look at the three examples below and take steps to prevent these issues before they arise.
Using Black-Hat Methods
SEO has come a long way.
In the beginning, Google wasn’t so great at figuring out which websites deserved to outrank others.
As a result, many people tried to cheat the system – and some succeeded in doing so.
Years ago, you could get your website to the number one spot in search results without providing any real value to web users.
The tactics often used in these cases have now essentially been outlawed by Google.
Known as “black-hat SEO” techniques, these maneuvers are generally manipulative and underhanded.
They’re meant to trick search engines without helping actual web users.
Tactics like keyword stuffing, spammy link-building, cloaking, and content spinning used to act as shortcuts to better rankings.
Now, using those tactics can result in major website penalties. Your site can even be removed from search results all together if you get caught partaking in these egregious violations.
In other words, you’ll want to avoid using these techniques entirely. If you don’t, you could risk everything you’ve built.
To protect your brand (and to ensure your site provides as much value as possible!), you’ll need to stay up-to-date on the latest SEO best practices.
Although there are certain hallmarks of good SEO that won’t change much from year to year, you generally shouldn’t be following recommendations that can be traced back to 2010 or even 2015.
Go through your strategy in detail to determine what needs to be updated and make sure any professionals you work with are committed to white-hat SEO principles. That way, you can be sure you aren’t unknowingly going against Google’s best practices.
Taking an Inconsistent Approach
It’s easy to understand why SEO falls by the wayside.
After all, you have a business to run.
Unfortunately, you won’t see the results you’re after if you fail to put the effort in consistently.
Optimizing only a few pages, posting a new blog whenever you remember, or neglecting your link-building strategy simply won’t do.
As a result, you might think that SEO doesn’t work – but that’s really due to user error.
If you want to improve your search rankings and start seeing more organic traffic to your site, you need to prioritize consistency.
Businesses that don’t have the bandwidth and aren’t in a position to hire an in-house SEO expert will often rely on an SEO reseller program to get the marketing support they need.
Working with a marketing agency can take some of the pressure off while granting access to a higher caliber of expertise. Whether you outsource to another marketing company or you find a freelancer who can take your SEO to the next level, you’re more likely to make progress when your strategy is based on regularity.
Because SEO is meant to be a long-term strategy, it requires you to consistently build your web presence and value over time.
If you can do that, you’ll set yourself up for success. But if you’re not willing to make that commitment, you’ll end up making a costly marketing mistake.
Forgetting About User Experience
Sometimes, business owners assume that SEO is all about on-page optimization or off-site link building.
But technical SEO matters quite a bit – and that means your web design can have a big impact on your rankings.
If you want to improve your position in SERPs, you need to have a functional, attractive, and responsive website that provides the high-quality experience users expect.
User experience (UX) is more important than ever to both Google and web users. UX principles are now considered to be ranking signals, so issues like slow loading speeds and a lack of mobile-friendly design can adversely affect your SEO.
When it comes time to develop a marketing strategy, remember to make web design and user experience part of the conversation.
If you ignore the need for UX, any optimizations you make won’t matter too much. A website users don’t want to visit really isn’t worth marketing.
The need for SEO is clear. But that doesn’t mean an SEO strategy is easy to execute. By avoiding these three common mistakes, you’ll limit your risk as you optimize your site and market your business.