Dumb SEO Mistakes Even Smart Marketers Make
In case you missed it, Google’s SEO master mind, Matt Cutts, recently posted a video talking about the top 5 SEO mistakes that webmasters and even smart marketers make. As an Account Manager for a digital marketing agency that lives, eats, sleeps and breathes these details daily, I understand it takes a certain level of understanding to implement SEO well. Mistakes can be made and certain details may be overlooked along the way.
However, these are not super advanced mistakes that take rocket science to fix. Rather, these are common mistakes that can very easily be overlooked and hinder more successful results in the long run.
Here they are…the top 5 common SEO mistakes Google’s Matt Cutts suggests you should avoid:
(1) Having a website that is not crawlable by search engines or not having a domain/website at all.
(2) Not including the right words on your web page.
(3) Don’t think about link building; think about compelling content and marketing.
(4) Don’t forget to think about the title and description of your most important pages such as your home page and internal product pages. You want to have the answer people are looking for.
(5) Not using webmaster resources and learning about how Google works and what SEO is about.
Have a Company Website and Make Sure it’s Crawlable
You would think all companies would know to have a website on a standalone domain and make sure that it’s crawlable by search engines. This is just common sense. Or is it? According to Cutts, this is the biggest SEO mistake webmasters and marketers make.
Google uses bots, spiders and crawlers to find and index web pages. If Google can’t find your content, then your content can’t be crawled and indexed, which means people won’t find it a Google search. Bottom line, if you are a business owner or marketer, make sure you have a website that is crawlable, preferably set up by a webmaster.
Include the Right Keywords on Your Web Pages
Are you including the right words people search for on your web pages? Are users able to find your website?
Matt Cutts gives a great example using the keywords “Mount Everest elevation.” People will most likely search on words like “how high is Mount Everest” rather than “Mount Everest elevation.” If you are a restaurant, your website should include the menu in plain text instead of just a PDF. Include business hours as well. Most people searching for restaurants are looking for the menu, hours and locations. Another example: people very interested in learning specific information about CRM software for their business will most likely search on words like “what is CRM software” or “how CRM works” instead of just “CRM” by itself.
Keywords essentially shape your web pages. Using the wrong keywords, or a limited number of keywords results in missed opportunities and traffic that won’t convert. So, include relevant keywords that people actually search for and have content on your web pages that answers people’s questions.
Create Compelling Content
Compelling content is way more important than link building. Cutts says not to focus on building links. Focus more on what you can do to market your company website to make it better known within your target community without solely thinking about search engines.
Search engines want to provide users the best possible results to their questions. This means providing quality content that is actually useful, not content stuffed with lots of keywords. Focus on why people will want to visit your website in the first place and then market it accordingly with quality, compelling content that people will want to read and return to for reference time after time.
Improve Titles and Descriptions
According to Cutts, pay close attention to your titles and descriptions, especially on your home page and high traffic pages. Make sure your web page titles are not “Untitled” or blank. If a user tries to bookmark a web page that is untitled or blank, it would make it difficult for them to find your content later. Titles should be around 70 characters or less, including spaces. Descriptions should entice people who discover your content in a search engine to click on your web page by letting searchers know this web page provides an answer to a question. You want your website and individual web pages to be a good resource for them. Descriptions should be around 150 characters or less, including spaces.
Cutts also suggests running tests to experiment with different titles and descriptions on high traffic pages such as your home page to see which titles and descriptions produce more quality visits.
Make Use of Free Webmaster Resources
Google provides a plethora of free resources to help with SEO. Cutts strongly recommends you take advantage of all these free resources. In addition to Google free resources, use tools from other search engines like Bing as well. Here are several useful resources below:
Google Webmaster Tools – http://www.google.com/webmasters/
Google Analytics – http://www.google.com/analytics/
Google Trends and Insights for Search – http://www.google.com/trends/
Google Traffic Estimator – https://adwords.google.com/o/TrafficEstimator
Google Keyword Tool – https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool
Google Ad Planner – https://www.google.com/adplanner/
Bing Webmaster Tools – http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster
Be a Smart Marketer
In summary to avoid common (dumb) SEO mistakes, make sure you have a company website that’s crawlable by search engines, includes the right words on your pages and has compelling content. Market your website effectively with well-written titles and descriptions and use free webmaster resources available to you. Be a smart webmaster or marketer that stands out in the crowd!