By Debbie Allen
When you’re growing your business, you have to be concerned with every piece of content you add to the Internet. And whether we have an interest in it or not, SEO (search engine optimization) is something that becomes important as we compose articles, press releases, and other online documents. The process can sound more intimidating and complicated than it really is. In reality, the basic focus of SEO is getting traffic through the use of keywords. Although a comprehensive approach should be used when applying SEO techniques, it seldom is and that is the basis for most problems related to SEO.
SEO is all about using keywords, or the search terms that people use to find websites and/or articles and other online information. SEO strategies can be long term – they may require weeks or even months to be effective. However, the time is worthwhile, because the results are also lasting. There is almost always a huge ROI for well-thought-out SEO strategies.
Initial SEO investments include identification of keywords that will provide good results, content optimization of existing site pages, the creation of additional content, and link building strategies.
There are some very common mistakes made related to SEO that can not only make it more difficult to achieve good rankings with the search engines, but the mistakes can actually damage your business reputation.
Mistake 1 – Keyword Stuffing
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that if it’s good to use a keyword once or twice, then using it several times (or more) will be better. Unfortunately, that is not how things work. This is referred to as keyword stuffing.
Some people will go as far as adding keywords to sentences in ways that do not make any sense at all. Rather than trying to write content in a way that will please search engines, you are almost always better off to write it in a way that will please readers. In other words, just keep things simple, easy to read, and forget about trying to add in keywords just for the sake of having more.
Tips: Include the keyword in the title and in the first and last paragraph (preferably in the first and last sentences). You can include it a time or two more, but don’t overdo it. Just use the keyword where it naturally fits it, and if another word will work just as well, then use it too.
This gives you anchor link diversity, which brings up another point; it is not wise to always link to the same text over and over.
Mistake 2 – Getting Links from Spam Sites
As mentioned, building backlinks is very important. However, not just any backlink will do. Some backlinks can drag your site down instead of helping it. Be sure to link only to reputable sites that relate to your site in some way.
Tips: Build links slowly and wisely with sites that are trustworthy. Don’t forget to include internal links. Also keep in mind that Google will investigate sites that suddenly build hundreds of links. This is not ‘natural,’ and in most cases, black hat techniques are being used where links are added very quickly. In such cases, sites are penalized.
Mistake 3 – Writing to Please Search Engines
Some people try to write and format content in a way that pleases the search engines. However, the reality is, all content should be written in a way that pleases readers. It should be formatted in a way that is easy to read, and the site should be easy to navigate. In essence, if the content is pleasing to readers, it will please the search engines.
Tips: Content should ‘look’ easy to read. Long blocks of content should be broken up into short paragraphs. It is wise to use sub-headings, lists, and bullet points. This type of formatting makes content easier to skim, which means it will be easier for site visitors to find exactly what they are looking for.
Mistake 4 – Neglecting to Optimize the Page URLs
Optimizing page URLs to include keywords offers multiple SEO benefits. It ensures the links will show up in searches, and it helps to give users an idea of what the page is about, even before they read it.
Tip: Including keywords in the URL helps ensure a desired position with search engine rankings.
Mistake 5 – Forgetting to Indulge Site Visitors
One of the most important measurements of the success of a website or blog is the time a visitor spends on the site. With that in mind, it is necessary to make great efforts to indulge and engage site visitors. In other words, the time visitors spend at a website should be pleasant, and therefore, the hope is that visitors will stick around awhile and that they will return!
Tips: Internal linking strategies are one way to keep visitors around longer. Other methods include designing the site with user-friendly navigation, offering article series, providing expert information that is presented in an easy to read format, and including other techniques that make the experience of visiting the site a pleasant one.
SEO is not rocket science, but you do need to take care to avoid the common mistakes.
When building your business, you will definitely need to use SEO strategies. However, when using these strategies, it is important to avoid certain mistakes that can lead to a damaged business reputation. These include keyword stuffing, getting links from spam sites, and/or getting links too quickly.
SEO is not rocket science. It really is basic stuff that makes sense. You should provide good information that your readers will want to read. Just as you’ve heard for years, content is king. It really is true. You’ll never go wrong if you stick with providing quality content for your readers.
Debbie Allen is a seasoned content writer and online marketer. Besides writing articles about business reputation management, Debbie has several blogs, including a guide for freelance writers and a site designed to empower women.