Don't blink or it will be 2017, and the ineffective search engine optimization (SEO) strategies used prior will have followed your enterprise into the New Year.
To start getting more results from your efforts now and in the future, leave these six SEO mistakes in the past:
1. Botching Keyword Research
Finding the right keywords can make or break a campaign. Traditional buyer keywords are valuable and should still be a part of your strategy, but top-of-the-funnel terms also pack a lot of value, especially when preparing content for your site or blog. Here is one method we use.
Create a list of problems your product or service can solve and use that to create a list of problem-based questions or phrases. For example, instead of "SEO services" you would target "get more website traffic" or even and educational phrase like "why do SEO," here is an example from our blog a year or two ago.
This phrase is by no means a high-traffic one but, it has sent several visitors to our site, some of which turned into customers. Replicate this across 100 phrases and it really starts to add up.
2. Blogging Without a Promotional Plan
A recent newsletter I read summed this up perfectly: "Most people don't know how to build links the right way so they tell you content is king because producing content is so much easier than getting good links to point to your website." Content is valuable but only when you promote it properly. Stop posting multiple times per week if you aren't going to promote it, unless of course you are so popular people link to you naturally. Content promotion trumps content creation in 2017.
3. Wasting Money on or Expecting Great Results from Cheap Services
We have touched on SEO pricing a few times of late because it is still such a big problem. There are basically three types of cheap services to watch out for. The first type is companies who promise rankings (and deliver) only for you to find out the keywords you're ranking for aren't sending you any traffic. The second type of SEO services hijacks your website and re-creates a clone of it on a site they own. This works so-so until you leave, then they dominate for your brand in search and you are left with nothing to show.
Any guess which company does that? Leave them below! Anyway... ask yourself this: "If a company can rank for so many terms so inexpensively, why are they sharing that with you for so little?" The third offender is the company bragging about how large they are. All this really means is they likely have a ton of entry-level employees working on your project. You hire a company to work with an expert in your field and the time of an expert is not cheap.
4. Not Building Links
There are some really easy keywords that you can rank for without any links. Most of you are not in that boat though and as such, an active link building campaign is needed. If you are working with a company that does not offer link building, it is time to replace them or hire a link building agency to supplement their strategy.
5. Not Treating SEO Like Marketing
SEO is marketing. Marketing is defined as, "the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising." Nowhere in that definition does it say "magic trick" or "mysterious voodoo art" or "instant cash machine.. SEO is an amazing marketing tactic, but at the end of the day it is still marketing. If your product doesn't work or your sales team can't close, SEO can't fix that. If you content is terrible, people aren't going to link to it. If your site is hideous, people won't trust or buy from it. SEO companies can and should help you fix those issues, but you have to be willing to change and improve to be competitive in 2017.
6. Failing to Educate Yourself as a Consumer
As a consumer, understanding that SEO is a highly measurable, adjustable, and effective method of marketing is important but so is knowing its' limitations. Fly-by-night providers live in the unknown and prey on the uninformed. Business owners and SEO agencies can make a ton of money as online marketing spending continues to grow year over year. In order for both sides to be successful though, it is critical to have realistic expectations and the willingness to change for the better when needed.
Accountability in 2017
Since all of you are Website Magazine readers, you already have a leg up on the average business owner but, the more you know, the better you can hire and keep your SEO provider accountable for their work so don't stop learning...ever.