Major SEO Mistakes That Are Killing Your Marketing Strategy

SEO — it’s a term business owners hear a lot when talking about marketing. While it is no secret that this technique is important to any successful online strategy, many still don’t really know what it means or how it works.

The lack of true knowledge on the matter makes creating effective marketing plans incredibly difficult. Without a sound understanding of what SEO is (and is not), business owners are far more likely to make costly mistakes, investing resources in activities and people that will never return anything on the investment. Make sure your business doesn’t suffer from bad SEO and increase website traffic by avoiding these six major mistakes that many Webmasters make.

It is no secret that having a fully optimized website is key to any effective marketing strategy. Despite being aware of its importance, many business owners are still really confused on what search engine optimization (SEO) actually means, more or less how to implement its tactics properly.

At the simplest level, “optimized” is just a fancy term for a website that is formatted so the search engines can read what content presented on its pages. Indexing robots from Google or Yahoo comprehend information on websites differently than a human visitor; search engines can’t just read what is on a page, but instead require a series of signifiers to understand what a website is trying to say and in what order.

Websites missing crucial on-page optimization features such as unique title tags, META descriptions or content header tags are likely performing poorly in terms of organic traffic because search engines simply can’t understand what the page is trying to tell them. If Google (and the other Internet giants) can’t properly digest content on a page, they are unable to assign any sort of value to it. Since the primary goal of search engines is to deliver the most relevant and trustworthy inquiries possible, they are far less likely to display a site deemed invaluable prominently in organic results.

Complacent Webmasters are the most likely to become SEO dinosaurs, running campaigns based on outdated information. These individuals are those who learned the tricks of search engine optimization a few years ago, but have failed to update their knowledge (or marketing strategy) since. Although SEO rules are still fundamentally the same, best practices are constantly evolving. Online marketing is an incredibly fast-paced industry where revenue-generating techniques of 2013 (or even 2015) may not necessarily be as profitable in 2016 and beyond.

Those who fail to keep their SEO education current not only risk being outpaced by more informed competitors, but also are more likely to use an outdated tactic that actually hurts organic search performance. Several SEO methods that were once acceptable in the eyes of Google or Yahoo are now considered “black hat” or invaluable spam. Websites deemed to have spammy content will be penalized by the search engines, potentially removed from results pages entirely.

Staying on top of the latest rules of the trade is as easy as a Google search! Keep an eye on reputable industry websites, such as Search Engine Land or the SEO Moz Blog, to remain current with best practices and check back often.

When creating an effective online strategy, setting concrete goals should be at the top of the to-do list. Business conversion goals can and should vary — whether the user is prompted to book an appointment, fill out a contact form or signup for a newsletter, the more ways a website visitor can contact your business, the more likely they are to become a paying customer. To generate the desired ROI from any campaign, websites should be formatted according to these goals using specific, attention-grabbing calls to action as a driver.

Equally as important as defining goals is setting realistic ones. Don’t expect to achieve a strong organic search engine presence overnight — it simply won’t happen. Building and maintaining a reputation as an expert (or the “best) in a given field is something that is developed over time, for human visitors and search engines alike. Google can take from three to six months to index website content, ultimately providing the highest return to pages with fresh, beneficial content added on a regular basis.

Keeping this in mind, opt for more long-term goals that strive for gradual achievement over time. Success, even in smaller doses, will build upon itself as the campaign itself grows. The important thing is to stay patient and keep your eyes on the big picture.

One of the most common misconceptions about search engine optimization is that it is a technique that you can set and forget. In fact, business owners would be wise to stop thinking about SEO as a one-time action. A dominant organic search presence is something that is only achieved through ongoing, long-term efforts. A business website must be regularly updated with fresh content and onsite optimization methods should stay current with the latest best practices. Conversely, business owners must also stay diligent about their off-page SEO efforts as well. Webmasters should keep social media profiles updated while also constantly looking out for new, reputable industry networks or content influencers to team up with.

Long story short is that search engine optimization will provide fruitful, residual results as long as it is maintained properly. When implemented correctly and properly matured, SEO techniques will show profitable results that business owners can count on for weeks or months to come.

It is impossible to know whether any marketing campaign is effective or not (and why) without tracking website data. When analyzed properly over time, this information has the power to guide future strategies for ongoing success. Without it, there is no way to discern if a business owner has truly retained any positive return on their investment in online marketing.

To get the clearest picture of my client’s digital marketing campaigns and their overall effectiveness, I always pull website data from a variety of tracking services. Getting information from Google Analytics (GA) alone tends to paint an incomplete picture of a page’s true performance online. I also use information from Webmaster Tools, contact forms and in bound calls to determine what efforts are actually converting customers and which campaigns are falling flat.

Because after all, business websites are meant to make you money, right?