Search engine optimisation or SEO is the (dark) art of getting your website to rank highly in Google and other search engines. Once you have optimised your website properly (and any good web designer will do this for you), there are only a few things you need to do on an ongoing basis. One of them is blogging (more on that below). And there is no need to pay anyone tons of money every month to “do SEO for you”. There still might be some SEO mistakes you’re making that you should be avoiding.
So, here’s what not to do:
1. Picking the wrong keywords to rank for
When you set up your website, it’s important to pick the right keywords. What are people who are looking for your products or services going to enter into Google to find you? Ask around if you’re not sure.
Try to avoid very generic terms. There is too much competition around generic terms like shoes, plumbing or photography. Be more specific by optimising for key phrases rather than single words (these are also called long tail keywords).
2. Using keywords excessively
Once you have picked your keywords and phrases, avoid over stuffing your pages with them. It was the thing to do ten years ago, however, now it’s regarded as one of the biggest SEO “sins”. Google will rank you down for this. Pick one keyword per page and use it in strategic places. Yoast SEO (a WordPress plugin) is an absolute lifesaver when it comes to guiding you through this process and it’s free in its basic form which is enough for most small businesses.
3. Lack of relevant and valuable content
One of the key mistakes is having not enough content. Blogging will provide your website will tons of relevant content that becomes part of your website and you will be building upon it with every blog post.
Relevant content is one of the main factors that your page will be ranked for, so make sure you pay attention to this.
4. Giving people no reason to click through from the search results
Having good content is one thing, but you need to make sure people click through to it. This is why it’s important to craft the little snippet of text that is displayed on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Yoast SEO will also remind you of this.
5. Having no “Call To Action”
You’ve got people on your website because they clicked through. Now you need to keep them there so they don’t bounce off immediately (bad for SEO). Have a compelling call to action that will encourage readers to click to another article or maybe check out your products or services pages. Maybe you want them to sign up to your newsletter – send them to a relevant landing page to do so.
6. Having non-optimised images
Using images is important to make your website appealing to visitors. But these images need to be optimised otherwise they can do you harm. The two main things are 1) that your images are not too large so they don’t slow your website down and 2) that you add a so-called “Alt tag”. An Alt tag is the little bit of text that appears on your website if the image can’t load for whatever reason. It also gets picked up by software for visually impaired people so having an image description (for their benefit) and the keyword for the page (for your SEO).
7. Slow site speed
Talking about slowing your website down, make sure your website is generally optimised for speed. Having a slow loading website can be frustrating for visitors so make sure you get this right. User experience is another key factor for SEO, so Google will rank you down, if your website is too slow.
8. Faulty links
Clicking on links that don’t work is also frustrating, so this is another important point. Check on a regular basis that all your links are working. If you need to delete a blog post or a page, make sure that you redirect to a new relevant page. If you don’t, the system will redirect visitors to a 404 Error page. Google does not like seeing those and will mark you down for it as one of the SEO mistakes.
9. Bad link building
Backlinks are important for SEO, but they need to be relevant. If your website appears in random directories or on unrelated websites, Google will rank you down. The links need to be coming from related websites, so guest blogging on websites within your industry and entries in relevant directories are valuable. Most relevant backlinks will build over time as others discover your awesome website and your stellar blog content and link to it.
10. No or irregular web updates
A website that is never updated and just sits dusty in a forgotten corner of the internet is not going to do well in Google. Search engines love websites that are regularly updated with relevant and valuable content. Blogging can do that for you naturally as you’ll (hopefully) be posting new content on a regular basis. Updates such as new products, changing prices, adding new members of staff, etc. all count, too, of course. But these won’t happen on a regular basis.
Over to you
As you can see, blogging is one of the easiest ways to improve your SEO. If you’re not blogging yet, you’re really missing a trick. It can help you to avoid several of the above SEO mistakes.
Search engine optimisation is one of the topics I teach in my blogging training as it’s super important to get this right. If you’d like to find out more about me as a blogging trainer and coach, please pop over to my About page.