SEO should be a vital component of your marketing campaign – after all, the more potential customers who see your website, the more sales you will make. If you are engaged in an SEO campaign that has been going for a few months without seeing results, you may be making mistakes in the process.
If you’re worried about the progress of your SEO campaign, here are 5 simple things that you could be getting wrong and how to fix them (assuming you’ve already got the big things right):
Mistake #1: Your Keywords are too Broad
While it would be nice to get people from all over the world visiting your website, the reality is that unless you’re running a multinational corporation (in which case you would have people to do the SEO for you) you only need to corner a specific section of the market.
If sell surfboards from a shop in Manly, for example, there isn’t much point getting people in California to visit your website, and trying to attract too broad an audience will hamper your ability to actually reach your target market.
Rather than trying to be on the first page all over the world for “surfboards for sale”, you will have far more success focusing on “surfboards for sale in Sydney” or even “surf shop Manly”. These less competitive keywords offer much greater chances of success in reaching page 1 of the search results.
You could potentially also be too broad in the content of your keywords. If you only sell surfboards, and not wetsuits, there isn’t much point having a keyword for “surf gear Manly” because you will attract people who need wetsuits and other accessories, and who aren’t going to buy your boards.
Getting your keywords right will be hugely beneficial in not only improving your SEO results, but more importantly in driving sales.
Mistake #2: The Landing Page isn’t Relevant
If you sell a variety of items, you want people who search for one specific option to be sent to that page of your website that displays exactly what they are looking for.
Going back to our surf shop example, if you sell a whole range of beach gear and someone searches for “surfboards Manly” then you don’t want to just send them to your homepage. They are likely to be confused or annoyed about needing to navigate through towels, bikinis and wetsuits to get to the surfboards, and just click away.
Rather, you want links from the keyword “surfboards Manly” to take your potential customer straight to your surfboard range, as this is what they are looking to buy. This advice is extra important for PPC campaigns, as you are paying for the click even if the person immediately leaves your site.
This is also related to your keywords, as you want to send people to the parts of your website that they are looking for. Rather than just having “beach gear Manly” as a keyword, it would be more effective to have separate keywords for swimwear, towels and surf gear – and even better again to break these down by category.
Mistake #3: Your Website Takes too Long to Load
If you’ve done your research on SEO, you’ll know that having images and videos on your website will help to engage your visitors. However, if you aren’t careful then these might have a negative impact on your page’s loading speed.
If your site loads too slowly, then people are likely to just get frustrated and click away. This will not only cost you potential sales and mean that your PPC campaign is largely a waste of money; it will actively bring down your search ranking.
You will need to make sure that your page loads quickly so that people have the chance to experience your awesome site. You could do this by setting your pages to load as people scroll down, rather than all at once, or by reducing the memory requirements of your pictures and videos.
This is a problem particularly for retail websites, which should have pictures of all their available products organised by category. If you have a lot of pictures on one page then you might consider doing both, or possibly breaking your products up into different pages.
Most online clothing stores use this strategy, with the larger ones having the page load as you scroll down as well. They (understandably) want the pictures to be as high quality as possible, so it is necessary to limit the number of pictures on the one page.
If your page is slowing down when you get a lot of traffic, there are some great plugins from WordPress that will help your server to cope with the high demand.
Mistake #4: You Focus on the Wrong Kind of Links
You probably already understand the importance of link building as a way to generate traffic for your website, but a lot of people simply focus on building a lot of links, rather than getting good quality links.
Think about it: a single link from a quality and popular blogging website (such as Buzzfeed or Huffington Post) is going to drive a lot more traffic to your page than fifty links from random websites that barely anyone reads. Search engines also place more weight on links from popular websites than random directories.
Speaking of directories, you need to get your page onto common ones. If you’re in the hospitality industry, being on Yelp will help to get more traffic to your site and more customers to your business, for example.
You also need to be careful not to fall into the trap of making a spammy link campaign. If Google decides that the links back to your website are not coming from original articles, or that you have too many links from the same articles, it will not only reduce your ranking but also reduce the ranking of the platform that publishes your articles.
If you can publish good quality content you will hopefully get other people to share links to it without your input, which will not only create better quality links but is also cheaper and easier than trying to run your own link building campaign. Social media makes this especially easy, as you can share your own blog posts or newly released products for your followers to look at and hopefully distribute further.
Mistake #5: Your Content isn’t Link Worthy
Following from the point about getting good quality links to your website is the importance of making your content interesting enough for other people to want to link to it. You need to publish original, well written and informative material in order for other people to bother linking to your website.
If you have a blog portion of your website (which you should) then you need your blogs to be worth sharing. This can be done by creating an engaging headline, interesting images (like infographics), ensuring paragraphs are kept short, using dot points, etc.
Going back to our earlier surf shop example, a good post might be an explanation of the different options for surfboard fins, or even a video tutorial about the basics of surfing. Essentially, your content needs to add value to your website – otherwise it’s pointless.
It is also important for your content to be well written. If you have a post riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, nobody is going to trust it as a source of information. As well as this, if the writing is bad enough that people need to struggle to understand you then they won’t bother reading it.
This is a common trap that people fall into when they try to outsource their content creation. If you simply pick the cheapest writers you can find, they are unlikely to give you well written articles to publish. In addition, your writers need to actually understand your products and industry in order to be informative.
Cheap writers will not bother doing proper research, and will simply publish articles that are already common knowledge. A post entitled “What is a Surfboard” will not encourage people to buy a board from you.
You also need to make sure that you aren’t simply providing free information, but are encouraging people to buy your product. If you write about the different options for fins on a surfboard, for example, you should make sure you link the options to appropriate boards that you sell.
It can be difficult to work out where you are going wrong in an SEO campaign, and even if you are doing (generally) the right things, minor mistakes can still cost you ranking points. Most of the simple mistakes above are fairly easy to fix, and once you get them right you will start to see results.
The most important things to make sure you are doing right are the keywords and landing pages, as this is the basis of a good SEO strategy. Once your keywords are specific enough that you can get to page one of Google, and they link to relevant landing pages, you should see an increase in your sales.
If you are worried about the progress of your SEO campaign, you should remember that you might not be making any of these mistakes, especially if you have only been focusing on your SEO for a few months.
It takes time to see results, so while it doesn’t hurt to check and make sure that you aren’t making these simple errors, you shouldn’t try to fix things that aren’t broken. If you read this list, look at your website and don’t think you’re doing anything wrong, don’t try to make changes.
If you are making any (or all) of these mistakes, however, fixing them will go a long way towards increasing your search engine rankings and helping you to gain new customers.
Did you find that you were making some of the above mistakes? Let us know in the comments below! We would love to hear from you and see how you are going to fix the issues.
Charlotte is a digital marketing and communications practitioner at SEO Shark. She takes on a range of roles relating to SEO and has a keen interest in studying the SEO industry and its future direction, particularly in relation to content marketing. Charlotte takes her writing very seriously and always seeks ensure the content she produces is of a high standard of quality.