Today’s technologies have made online search a bear. In an effort to streamline the user’s experience, things like voice search, apps and social media have made the marketing efforts of companies all the more complicated. Now it’s no longer enough for businesses to do research on keywords and stuff their content with them. Instead, businesses and sites have to “search engine optimize” and work to quite literally spoon-feed their content to users in the way that those users want to consume it.
180fusion, today’s leading SEO and digital agency, says that most of today’s companies are operating on SEO efforts that are outdated and futile. According to them, consumers are “using apps, social media and search engines to get their answers to questions that have completely evolved in format.” For companies who’ve yet to adjust to users’ new habits, this means their SEO efforts are likely lagging behind.
To help companies get the most out of their SEO endeavors, we sat down with 180fusion to help identify which mistakes companies are making.
Not Choosing the Right Keywords for Your Site
At the end of the day, optimizing your site is all about using and choosing the keywords you want your website to rank for. 180fusion points out that one of the most common mistakes companies make in their SEO efforts is overlooking the long-tail keywords most search engines and users lean towards. Typically, businesses make the mistake of describing their products and services in a way that does not accommodate the words potential customers use in their searches. Of course, it’s all well and good to create good content, but it means nothing if it’s not searchable for users. 180fusion encourages sites to avoid the wrong keywords by using tools like the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to get a pulse on what words are trending among users about the topic that you’re writing on.
Keyword-Stuffing Your Site
Today’s efficient search engine bots ensure there’s no space for “hacks” like keyword-stuffing in the SEO space. While stuffing your content and website with keywords to boost your site’s ratings might have worked a few years ago, these days it’s just not cutting it. In fact, loading your site with keywords and phrases attracts the wrong kind of attention from search engines who view this tactic as spammy. Not only will keyword stuffing not boost your ranking, it can also get you booted further down the results pages.
Instead of packing your site with keywords that can render your content useless, go for a list of relevant keywords and phrases. Remember, today’s consumers are very aware of the content they’re looking for, and search engines are also getting much better at identifying the intention behind their queries. Be sure to investigate what users are searching for that brings them to your page and the types of questions they want your content to answer.
Using Broken or Low-Quality Links
The only thing worse than skimping on the opportunity to use links is using bad ones. In order to get the ultimate results out of your SEO efforts, 180fusion says marketers should go for quality over quantity. As the agency points out, it’s better to link sites that are relevant and high-ranking than ones that don’t provide quality content or are unknown. For this, think of linking in the same way that you would when you would cite sources for research papers in high school and college.
You would always go for the more credible source back then, and you want to do the same now. Furthermore, don’t underestimate the power of linking to sites that have previously linked back to you. If you can establish a give-and-take relationship with other sites, you can increase the number of sites that use your own links and significantly grow your site’s traffic.
Additionally, steer clear of ineffective anchor text in your links. As 180fusion points out, this type of content is a waste of potential SEO opportunities, primarily because anchor texts indicate to readers and search bots what a link is about and how it can benefit a search. As such, drop any content that calls for a user to “click here” as an anchor text. Refrain from coming off as spammy by ensuring that you include a variety of anchor texts instead.
Not Optimizing for a Mobile-Friendly Experience
It’s not all just about content and keywords. In fact, more and more search engines are putting an emphasis on sites that perform well. In particular, they’re looking for sites that can sufficiently operate on mobile devices—the number one pick of today’s users. Because search engines like Google and Bing are shifting their focus to mobile-friendly websites, providing a streamlined mobile experience for users is key.
Identify the ways in which your site can improve your users’ mobile experience. 180fusion recommends that even those sites that have already made the crossover to mobile re-evaluate their techniques, as search engines are constantly upping their standards for quality. What may have been an optimal mobile-friendly experience last year might be complexly passé now. Ensure that your mobile load time and navigation tools operate without effort by studying your user bounce rate.
Don’t let these common SEO mistakes drag down your digital marketing efforts. SEO is a dynamic field that requires ongoing strategizing, fine-tuning and industry awareness so that companies can get the most benefit from their efforts.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.