Opinions expressed by Contractor the contributors are theirs.
As a small business owner, optimizing your website and content for search engines can be invaluable in driving traffic to your business. However, some businesses ignore the most important SEO guidelines that are crucial to improving their visibility.
SEO is an essential tool that ensures that your business stays competitive and captures the right audience. When done correctly, it can be the key to helping business owners diversify their marketing strategy and become successful.
Below are the top three common SEO mistakes made by small and medium businesses. – and how they can overcome them to ensure they gain visibility and attract new prospects.
1. Expect results overnight
The first thing business owners need to understand is that SEO takes patience and success doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes small business owners refrain from applying a solid SEO strategy because of the time it takes to see results.
When a web page is newly published, Google’s algorithms take a long time to validate the relevance of the new content. In fact, Google uses over 200 ranking factors to measure the quality of your content. The content you create needs to build a reputation for SEO to attract customers organically. It may take up to a few months before you start to see significant results. Specifically, according to a study by Ahrefs, the average age of the top ten ranking pages is over two years. For the first place, the average age is almost three years.
As a small business owner, you should also take the time to monitor your SEO campaign for the weeks after your content is published. Tools like Google Analytics provide an easy way to track your webpage’s performance and help you understand the source of the traffic. It can also help determine if specific content is not worthwhile in the future.
Related: The best free SEO tools to increase your rankings
2. Neglecting to do tailor-made keyword research
Keywords are powerful, especially when it comes to SEO. When putting together keywords, it is important that you do your research and ask yourself this question: Does the intent behind this keyword meet the needs of my audience? Keyword rich content will help generate the highest search results.
Almost all customers find new businesses with a Google search that includes keywords that match their needs. For example, if a customer is looking to buy the best touchscreen laptops, they’ll likely type “best touchscreen laptops” into Google’s search bar. Try to put yourself in the minds of your audience and apply the keywords that define your ideas and topics.
Another important tactic is to give up the keyword practice of a page. Google’s machine learning (AI) system, RankBrain, will focus on grouping similar keywords and keyphrases together to show nearly identical search results. If you find two or more articles on the same topic on your website, the best practice is to combine them into one detailed piece of content. This will help avoid keyword cannibalization and allow you to target more keyword variations.
Related: How can AI improve SEO?
3. Don’t include backlinks in your content
According to MonsterInsights, backlinks are the second most important Google ranking factor – otherwise the the next most important quality content.
Backlinks are a non-negotiable element when building web content. Inclusion of external resources is part of the formula that organically increases your website’s ranking and popularity in search engines. Most small business owners will ignore this fundamental step in the SEO process because of the time and research it takes.
However, including a few high quality backlinks versus 100 low quality backlinks is what really moves the needle. When incorporating offsite resources, make sure they are credible. Google’s quality guidelines penalize unnatural links and prohibit links that do not provide useful content to users. Some of the best sources of backlinks can be found through older pages that are regularly updated and focus on news in your industry.
Understanding the factors that affect your SEO results can be difficult and time consuming. However, when you prepare with the right approach, SEO will drive your customer acquisition and growth.
Related: How To Build SEO Backlinks: A Beginner’s Guide