If you have a website and don’t have an SEO, these are a few of the things you can quickly go and check yourself. If you do have an SEO, they had better have brought any of these issues to your attention. If they haven’t, you may want to question if you have the right SEO working for you.
Here are 6 of the most common SEO mistakes.
1. Building website on a free sub domain
As a website accumulates inbound links, it begins to rank better within the search engines. When you build your site on a free subdomain, you risk that if you ever choose to move your website (and there are numerous reasons that you may decide to do so), you will lose credit for all of the links aimed at your “free subdomain” website.
Why? Because most free subdomain providers don’t allow you to 301 redirect your old site on their service to your new one. A 301 redirect is the only way to “tell” a search engine your site has moved without having to start over again from square one with your search engine rankings. Same goes for using a social website, such as a Facebook page, as your only online presence.
2. Not optimizing local listing pages on popular local sites
Twenty percent of all Google searches are local in nature. And lately, Google Places is showing up at the top of the search results for more and more of those search queries. If you want to be found for locally based searches on Google, claiming and optimizing your Google Places listing is vital.
Additionally, Google fetches data from many other websites and it’s believed that they take that data (mainly reviews) into account when ranking your Places page within the Google Places results. This means that claiming and monitoring your listings (and getting good reviews) on sites like Yellowpages, Yelp, CitySearchs, City Directories and others is important to your SEO efforts.
3. Doing nothing on the “link building” front
Today, Links are widely believed to be the single most important “off page” SEO factor. Simply put, without links from other websites, your site won’t rank.
The more competitive your niche? The more links you will need to get.
Unfortunately, many small business owners put their sites up and completely ignore the inbound link building process afterward. While link building can often be confusing to some small business owners, and it can definitely be time consuming, there is no doubt that if your goal is to improve your search engine rankings, you absolutely need inbound links.
4. Home is Not Where the Traffic is
Sure, it’s your home page, but that doesn’t mean that you want it to rank for the word “home.” Unless you’re a real estate company or a homebuilder, it makes no sense to call your home page “Home” — and even then you’d want to expand that out with other terms that cover your business.
Your home page should be targeted to the primary terms that you’re trying to rank for. For example, if you’re a plumber, then your home page title should target your plumbing services in your locality.
Also, I do check with a site is whether there are duplicate versions of the home page. Because If you are serving duplicate versions of your home page to the engines, they are duplicate content. The engines will usually figure out which version to index, but sometimes they get it wrong – and why make them think if you don’t have to?
5. Set it and forget it
SEO is not a once and done process, even though some people believe it is. Search algorithms change on an almost daily basis. Your competition isn’t necessarily sitting back sipping iced tea waiting for the traffic to roll in.
Even keywords change as new phrases enter the lexicon and may begin to outpace the ones you were initially targeting. And if your corporate strategy changes, don’t you think the optimization efforts on your site may need to change?
Someone needs to be in charge of monitoring your site. That includes an analytics solution and other monitoring tools, such as Google Webmaster Tools.
It’s amazing how many sites haven’t implemented an analytics solution or at least don’t have one implemented correctly. Does your analytics solution track your entire sales funnel? Do you know where in the sales process you lose the majority of your prospects?
With those tools at hand, problems — and potential opportunities — on your site can be identified.
It may take time to get the new pages crawled, to get the right, good quality links into the pages, and for them to move up the rankings. All the players involved in the SEO process must understand this. So set the expectations early and frequently with clear communication.
6. Ignoring Audience Building by Mail
I don’t remember when I started using the term “audience building” originally but I realized pretty fast that blogging is about building an audience of regular visitors and foremost subscribers. Around 2007 we were still pretty enthusiastic about feeds or RSS as we nerds called them back then. Feedburner was still pretty young and Google didn’t yet let it rot for years. So the number one goal was to get feed subscribers.
Mail seemed to be only second rate medium of the past, full of spam and an overload of messages in general.
Cool email marketing tools like Mailchimp wasn’t free for starters back then as far as I remember and Aweber looked pretty bland at that point. So my motivation to become an email marketer and contribute to the overkill of messages spilling from the inbox was around zero. Over the years Google has tried to sabotage the open feed format and later even killed their feed reader. Feeds are again cool ever since because the new competition on the market brought a lot of innovation but mail is the only channel that can truly reach a mainstream audience nonetheless.