SEO used to be a bit of a dark art, but Google constantly revises algorithms and has made it a far more reputable. However, the relentless updates mean you need to keep working on your SEO to get the best results.
There are probably a handful of things you are doing wrong with your SEO strategy- fix them now and head into 2019 with a better ranking and more customers.
Forgetting about your ‘Google My Business’ listing
Having a ‘Google My Business’ listing is vital if you have physical premises. If you don’t have a listing, you will be losing customers. People check the listings to find hours, addresses, and photos of the store. When people are looking for a store near them using Google maps, unless you have a GMB listing, you won’t be showing up. How many more customers are you going to lose when you could fix this today?
Only having on-site SEO
Having great SEO on site is nothing if you don’t have referral sites. To really make Google work for you, figure out ways to get backlinks to your site. This might be active guest posting on other blogs and sites, getting mentioned in news articles, anything to get your site linked back.
Not updating page titles and meta descriptions
Adding meta descriptions to your pages is an easy SEO win and there are so many sites that don’t bother. If you have a WordPress site, install the Yoast plugin and that walks you through this step so you never miss it.
Not maintaining your website regularly
Having a regular SEO audit helps to keep your site on track. There are apps that can crawl your site and find SEO errors, or Google Analytics finds problems too. Get a friend to go through your site and make sure it’s easy to navigate and the user experience is good. Does it load fast enough? Is it optimised for mobile devices?
Not updating URLs
If you delete a page or restructure a site, those old URLs may still get traffic. Tell Google where to redirect that traffic to so it knows where to send the visitors to.
Making text into images
People like pictures on sites, especially helpful images like infographics. However, Google can’t ‘see’ the words on the picture. Make sure those valuable words are on the page as text, not an image.
Not updating content regularly
Google loves fresh content. It shows the business is active, and constantly displaying relevant info. If you have old blog posts, go back and make sure they are relevant still, the information is correct, and the links are still live. If gives you some easy wins in the SEO race.
If you buy backlinks, they will be linking from banks of backlinks. Google notices and doesn’t like it and your rankings will suffer as a result. Earn your backlinks by posting targeted relevant content and get high quality traffic.
Creating content for crawlers
While Google might love your site, if you just have a mass of poorly- written keywords, your customers will click away. Make your content written for customers first, Google second. Create a content strategy for the big picture: what is your site for? Who is it for? Create content for them.
Resting on your SEO laurels
Google are constantly redefining their algorithms and as a result, you need to be constantly re-working your website to suit. Make sure your site is easily accessible on all relevant channels. Think about technology advances, and how best to use it.
Going cheap on your website
Having cousin Dwayne create your website might save you some money rather than hiring professional developers, but it might cost you in SEO rankings. He might understand WordPress but does he understand the value of meta data? Alt names of images?
Setting up your site for SEO and then ignoring it
You can’t set it and forget it. While your site might be beautifully optimised upon inception, it doesn’t continue to remain that way. While you’re not maintaining your site, your competitors are. And they are stealing your customers.
Creating word salad
Any content writer will be able to tell you about a client who insisted on using a very specific set of keywords that didn’t quite fit into the writing. Jamming unusual long-tail keywords into content is obvious, and it turns people off. Also, overwhelming the site with keywords may end up scuppering your SEO plans- Google can tell when you do it, and they don’t like it. Don’t cram every single keyword into every paragraph. Write for clarity first.
Forgetting your customers
With all the optimising happening, it can be easy to forget that very first step. Think about your customers. Think about what they Google to find your site. What questions do they type into Google BEFORE they hit your site? For instance, if you’re a pet store, before they type in ‘dogs for sale in Auckland’, they might search ‘what dog is best for families?’. Be helpful and make your website somewhere that answers their questions.
Trying to put every keyword on every page
Pick one keyword for each page and that page only. Put that keyword in a natural way in the URL, title, in the content, and in the alt images tags. If you throw every keyword at every page, you are not going to get the results you want.