The task of getting your information in front of potential customers is critical, as search engine optimization or SEO skills have become a vital part of modern business, the skills and techniques required for success continually evolve.
Many large companies have taken to farming out these important SEO tasks or hiring staff just to tackle the job.
That isn’t an option for many smaller businesses that also rely on their web presence to survive, and they find themselves taking on this important task and hoping they don’t make a mess of it.
Here are four common SEO pitfalls to avoid when promoting yourself online:
1. Bad Titles
The information that appears in your title bar, the description of your website’s content that appears at the top of an open browser window, is a lot more important than most people realize.
Search engines use that information when looking for the search terms users enter when doing a search, so if the only information in it is the name of your company then that’s all the search engines will see.
People who search for your company name already know who you are, so not being creative and descriptive when titling your page could cost you traffic.
Titles should be loaded with information about the content on the pages. That’s what people are looking for, something that tells them what you and your company do, the products you sell, the services you offer.
Do some research into how people interested in your products or services search for them.
Find out what keywords they use when looking for the products you offer and put those terms in the titles of your web pages. If it’s not there for the search engines to read they’ll never see it.
2. Bad Content
If your website is full of nothing but filler, then modern search engines will know it.
When Google, Bing or some other company offers its users search results that are full of nothing but fluff content designed to be a placeholder for an advertisement, readers get frustrated and look elsewhere for their needs.
That’s why those giants of the online world work hard to create complex search algorithms that can tell the difference between useful information and junk.
How search engines know what they’re reading and how good it is are closely guarded industry secrets, but rest assured they can do it and will give your websites poor search result rankings if your content is bad.
If you’re not Shakespeare, there are plenty of people in the world who think they are and most of them are willing to work to pay the bills. Find one and give her a job.
3. Bad Backlinks
Backlinks, links at other websites leading back to yours, are a critical component used by search engine software for ranking a website or its pages. Creating them can help move a site’s ranking ahead, but only if they’re meaningful.
If your website specializes in hard-to-get car parts, then backlinks from a pet shop aren’t useful.
This is a sort of variation on the notion of content being important. Not only can search engines tell if a site’s content is worthwhile, it can tell if the links on that site should be there.
A shotgun approach to back-linking may seem like a good idea, and it may even give your traffic a temporary boost, but eventually the search engine’s clever programs will figure out the ruse.
4. Failing to Monitor Changes
Making random changes to a website may increase its SEO or it may tank it entirely.
If you don’t have a way to track traffic after you’ve made a change then there’s no way to know if the change was worthwhile or not.
Services such as Google Analytics show exactly how many people came to your site, how they got there and what they did during their visit. This information is invaluable to your SEO work.
While these basic measures will help, they’re just the beginning of your ongoing SEO journey. Keeping up with blogs like this one will give you great advice and keep you on top of changes in the online landscape.
About the Author:
Laura E. is a current graduate student who writes online for car insurance companies to help people save on their auto insurance payments. When not studying or writing, she likes to relax with her coffee and a good book.