Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a must for any business marketing strategy.
By optimizing your site for search engines, you’ll make it easier for your potential customers to find you online.
But while SEO is necessary, it can also be incredibly complex.
It’s subject to ever-changing best practices, so even experts may have a hard time keeping up.
If you don’t stay on top of the latest developments, however, you could risk everything you’ve worked for.
Whether you’re handling your own marketing or you’re relying on an SEO reseller program
to execute your strategy, it’s important to avoid some of the biggest mistakes.
With that in mind, we’re sharing a few SEO don’ts to watch out for when marketing your small business.
DON’T… Set Unrealistic Expectations
With any marketing strategy, you need to go in with realistic expectations.
That doesn’t mean you can’t be ambitious. But if you don’t have a solid understanding of how the strategy is meant to work, you’ll deal with frustration and disappointment later on.
Unlike digital advertising, SEO is meant to be a long-term strategy.
It builds your organic traffic and brand awareness over time. This more natural approach can translate into longevity and cost-effectiveness.
In other words, SEO isn’t a quick fix. It doesn’t start working immediately. So if you need more traffic fast, you’d be better off using PPC ads instead.
The trade-off here is that SEO is one of the most affordable lead generation tools around – and it comes with a great ROI.
You should know going into it that it could be several months before you see any significant changes in your rankings.
If you stay the course, your hard work will be rewarded.
That is, as long as your strategy is consistent.
SEO isn’t a “one-and-done” marketing method.
Not only do you need to be patient, but you also need to persevere.
In order to see a payoff, you need to put in the effort.
By making a commitment to your optimizations, you’ll set yourself up for success.
But if you aren’t regularly publishing new blog posts, optimizing new pages, and acquiring new backlinks, you won’t see the progress you’re looking for.
To avoid this scenario, make sure you understand how SEO was designed to work and what you’ll need to do to get the results you’re after.
DON’T… Use Outdated Techniques
When business owners become frustrated with the time and effort SEO requires, they might be inclined to look for shortcuts.
It’s vital to understand that there are
no shortcuts with SEO.
And if someone tells you otherwise, it’s almost guaranteed that they aren’t on the up-and-up.
Years ago, website owners could get away with manipulative tactics that would help them cheat the system.
But since then, Google has gotten much better at catching those who try to fool search engines for their own gain.
So-called black hat SEO often involves the use of outdated and underhanded techniques that go against Google’s best practices.
Keyword stuffing, content spinning, and spammy link-building all worked at one time – but now, Google won’t reward you for engaging in these practices.
In fact, Google could actually penalize you for them. If the issue is egregious enough, your site might disappear from search engine results pages (SERPs) entirely.
That’s a huge issue for small businesses that depend on local web traffic.
You’ll need to familiarize yourself with Google’s current best practices for SEO or entrust a reputable professional to ensure you don’t violate these standards.
Even an innocent mistake could be misconstrued as a deliberate attempt to outwit Google.
To minimize risking your brand’s reputation, you’ll want to stay updated and avoid anything antiquated.
DON’T… Forget About User Experience
SEO involves a lot more than adding keywords on your site.
You’ll also need to make sure your site provides a great experience for all visitors.
If it’s too hard for customers to find the information they need or navigate your site on their mobile device, it won’t matter how much of your content you optimize.
At a bare minimum, your website needs to be fast, accessible, and secure – all while providing visual appeal.
Google cares about user experience because it matters so much to web visitors. No one wants to feel frustrated when they visit a site; they want to find what they need quickly and move onto the next step.
To ensure web searchers get the most valuable and relevant results first, Google has updated its algorithm to give preferential treatment to websites that provide an excellent user experience.
So if you ignore the need for mobile-friendly design or you don’t make an effort to speed up a sluggish page, you’ll have trouble making headway in SERPs.
But if you get your technical SEO in order and prioritize great website design, your marketing efforts will go much further.
As a small business owner, it’s easy to get caught up in the DIY mentality. But unfortunately, that may mean you’ll be more prone to mishaps that could derail your strategy. By recognizing and preventing these SEO don’ts before they happen, your small business will be in a better position to reach customers from both near and far.
Jeff Shipman is the Director of Marketing Innovation at Semify
, a white label marketing agency based in Rochester, New York. Semify provides quality SEO and PPC fulfillment solutions at-cost so that digital marketing agency owners can achieve their dreams. Before moving to Western New York, Jeff earned a BA in History and a MBA at St. Bonaventure University. Go Bonnies!