And for good reason: Recent studies show that over 85% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses.
That means, if you're a small local business, appearing prominently in search results is critical for you.
Though it can appear daunting, there are definitely some solid tried & true tactics out there that can improve your search visibility. And on the other side of that coin, there are definitely some ways that you can be sabotaging your own search engine visibility.
In this post, you'll discover the top 5 most common search engine optimization mistakes and how you can avoid them.
5. Ignoring Title Tags & Meta-Descriptions
If you aren't strategically writing your title tags, meta-descriptions, and
Failing to manually create your SEO tags can leave a ton of search visibility opportunity on the table. By planning out and writing unique title tags and meta-description for each page of your website, you'll give yourself a chance to appear for the keywords and phrases that are most important to your audience (and by default…you).
While meta-descriptions alone can have little to no SEO benefits, using persuasive meta-descriptions (as shown in the Papa John's example above) offers you an opportunity to increase your click through rate.
If you're a local and/or brick & mortar business, appearing in the top three listings of local search results (also known as the local search “snack pack”) is absolutely critical for you.
If the concept of local search engine optimization is completely foreign to you, then chances are – you're not optimized for local search.
I could write an entire blog post (or 50) on what good local SEO is and how to achieve it, but here's the brief explanation: Local SEO is optimizing your website to appear higher in the local search results.
As the Google algorithm has shifted to show more relevant results to users, people are now served geographically local websites that match their search queries at the very top of the search engine results page.
Good Local SEO ensures that your company listing gets a spot into the “snack pack” of top local listings.
And to make a quite a long story short: The lion's share of great local seo is having consistent, accurate address/phone number citations on your website & across the web, along with having positive reviews, and being listed in relevant local directories.
If you haven't given your local search optimization any attention, now's the time to get on it.
3. Skimping on Keyword Research
It's certainly not breaking news that providing fresh, relevant, high quality content goes a long way in improving your search visibility.
And the very first step in creating that awesome content is having an understanding of the kind of content you should be generating. “What kind is that?” you may be asking. The kind of content your customers are looking for. The way to uncover that critical insight is through solid keyword research.
- Everyone has their own particular process, but in essence, keyword research consists of:
- Reviewing your web analytics (we prefer Google Analytics),
- Analyzing keyword search volume & competition (we like Google Keyword Planner)
- Noting keyword & content trends (Google Trends and Buzzumo are both great resources here).
Doing all of this results in a content strategy that comes from a place of knowledge, rather than the “throwing spaghetti on the wall” approach. Developing content takes a lot of time. Making sure not to skip your keyword research helps assure you're spending your content creation time wisely. And of course, providing great keyword rich content on a regular basis will put you on the fast track to improving search visibility.
2. Forgetting About Link Building
Although much about this process has evolved over the years, link building is still relevant! Back links still show the search engines that your content is interesting to others (so, quality) and that other sources trust you.
Gone are the days when site masters could simply “trade” links with each other. The cheese has been moved. A good link building strategy starts off with a good content strategy (see keyword research above).
So begin your link building strategy by creating solid content, and then spend a good amount of time promoting that content through social media, email, and reaching out to bloggers in your niche who might link to your content.
While link building looks different than it did ten years ago – having high quality sources linking to your website is still one of the basic tenants of achieving high search visibility
We're emerging on the other side of the “mobilegeddon” and a new world rules are in place.
If your website is not responsive or mobile friendly, not only will increasingly mobile visitors be annoyed with you, but search giant Google will now count this fact against you when it comes to your search rankings.
At flyte, we recommend upgrading your website to mobile through Responsive Web Design. A responsive website fits to scale–with the same high level of usability–no matter the screen size.
This will make your customers happy, because they won't have to pinch & squeeze their screens just to view your website on their smartphones…this will make the search engines happy, because you're providing a pleasurable experience for your customers…and this will (or should) make you happy, because less mobile customers will hit the back button and exit your website (“Hello, more conversions!”) and your search visibility will improve.
These are just a few common search engine optimization mistakes that can hinder your quest to improve search visibility for your business. If you have any further questions on search engine optimization, be sure to hit us up in the comments.
SEO Fan Girl