“The Seven Deadly Sins” of SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a vital skill that small business owners must learn and thoroughly understand if they want their business to benefit from an online presence.
There are actually four stages to learning SEO:
- Unconscious incompetence; we don’t know what we don’t know.
- Conscious incompetence; we know that we don’t know.
- Conscious competence, we know that we know, but we have to focus to apply it correctly.
- Unconscious competence, wherein we know what we know, and we don’t have to think about it to apply it.
This is actually an old training model adapted to show why some people make serious mistakes when applying SEO to their websites.
However, we must keep this skill up-to-date. Search engine algorithms continuously change due to upgrades made by the industry, not to fool the unwitting, but to ensure fair application to all users.
SEO preparation is the key to a smooth integration of content into any website. A good web developer/designer knows about SEO, a great web developer/designer is also an SEO expert or employs one, and prepares the SEO portion of the site before writing the first line of code. Just as Abe Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
The 1st Deadly Sin of SEO: Thin Content
Quality content on any website is necessary; even those websites that concentrate on images, images need optimization with keywords as well. By utilizing the keyword in the file name, alt-text, captions, and surrounding text the website owner who utilizes many images on their website can avoid thin content. Just be careful not to overdo it, even too much Dom Perignon will give you a hangover. Then, use the SEO Overview Tool to analyze the relevant strength.
Google’s Hummingbird algorithm specifically looks at the text surrounding keywords to analyze the searcher’s true intent. Hummingbird asks what the searcher is actually looking for. Website owners need to surround keywords with synonyms and alternate, relevant terms that express the intent of their keywords. By far, the best analogy so far is iCrossing’s article, Google Hummingbird Explained, where they show a searcher asking, “What is the best seafood place near me.” Hummingbird knew the searcher was looking for a restaurant; however, it mistook me as ME, as in Maine. An obvious mistake even a human reader could make tying seafood to Maine.
Whether or not a website owner uses Pay-Per-Click, they should use Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Take those keywords and use a Thesaurus to gather synonyms to expand the list of words to use in your content.
Fact: “Organic vs. Paid Search Results: Organic Wins 94% of Time”
The 2nd Deadly Sin of SEO: Incorrect configuration of the Content Management System (CMS)
Every CMS requires at least some configuration for SEO, whether your website platform is WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento or another CMS, be sure to look into the necessary steps to configure it for SEO.
Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin has been downloaded more than 14 million times and nearly 3600 people have reviewed the plugin with an average of five out of five stars.
This plugin will generate an XML Sitemap, clean up permalinks, and remove redundant and unneeded code from your website. According to their site, “Yoast WordPress SEO is the most complete SEO plugin available for WordPress. It offers everything you need to optimize your site.”
Fact: “WordPress celebrated 10 years of existence in 2014.”
The 3rd Deadly Sin of SEO: Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is most often due to website owner’s unconscious incompetence. Duplicate content in many cases happens without the owner’s awareness. Google Webmaster Tools can help you identify and eliminate duplicate content. Printer friendly copies of your content, link tracking problems, and many other configuration problems create duplicate content.
The most significant problems are that it will take longer to load your site and search engines could split your SEO efforts between the multiple locations where that content is located.
The 4th Deadly Sin of SEO: Acting on Rumors
Many website owners believe everything they read on the web regarding SEO. There are many myths regarding SEO, yet there are many legitimate sites that provide accurate information pertaining to SEO. Why not go directly to the “horse’s mouth” to get information regarding SEO? As stated above, use the tools provided by the CMS or Google Webmaster Guidelines.
Nevertheless, people still want to believe they can buy likes on Facebook and 3000 backlinks for $10. Do they actually believe a multi-billion dollar corporation such as Google will give credibility to a website that indulges in these types of shenanigans? Social media is an important part of your total marketing strategy, but buying likes and links should not be.
Fact: “52% of U.S. small businesses use social media to promote their businesses…” Yet, “Less than 20% of small and medium-sized business websites have a link to a Facebook page, and fewer have links to Twitter and LinkedIn.”
The 5th Deadly Sin of SEO: Not Investing Enough in SEO (time or money)
This deadly sin is conscious incompetence, most website owners know they have to invest in SEO to bring people to their site, those that know what it takes, often believe they can do it themselves. Unfortunately, in many cases these are well-meaning small business owners who are already spending too much time away from their families. How can they possibly fit in SEO?
Therefore, they often try SEO services that promise number 1 ranks on search engine results pages (SERP), but are short on delivery. If you need quality SEO services check out Course Vector, there’s no better return on investment (ROI) than well-orchestrated SEO. Have you ever tried directory listings, blogs, videos, or press releases to build SEO for your site? We will explore every legitimate avenue to drive traffic to your site. For quality lead production that will not break the bank, simply fill out the contact form to receive a free marketing plan for your business or enterprise.
Fact: “91% of US Internet users search every month” & “The top 5 results get 75% of the clicks!”
The 6th Deadly Sin of SEO: Investing in SEO after the Site is already built
This goes back to Abe Lincoln and his axe. SEO is a continuous process that should begin well before any code is written. Most website developers/designers do not know enough about SEO, just as most search engine optimizers do not know enough about designing a website. That’s why at Course Vector we have SEO and content writers who provide the SEO input, including blogs for your site before the process begins and track SEO for the site as long as you remain with us.
One of the top methods of building inbound traffic is having an informal, informative blog about your product or services.
Fact: “Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links.”
The 7th Deadly Sin of SEO: Not Focusing on the User
Focusing on quality content that will attract and hold the user/reader’s attention is the best possible method to maximize SEO efforts. Many website owners become too enamored with SEO and lose focus on the ultimate prize, the user. After learning a great deal about SEO, suddenly everything is about SEO and they place less focus on the people reading the content.
The ultimate purpose of every website should be to convert visitors to clients. Whereas it is necessary to do well in your goal to reach the top five on SERPs, you must entice the reader to answer your call-to-action (CTA). Whether that is making a purchase or simply registering on your site so you can follow-up with future promotions by email.
Fact: “The most active demographic group for blogging is 21-to-35 year olds with 53.3% of the total blogging population.”
Consciously avoid the seven deadly sins and seek instead the pearl that is SEO.
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