Small business owners are often eager to start using SEO techniques to increase their visibility online. However, many small business owners make SEO mistakes that can hurt their ranking and visibility.
In this article, we will discuss six of the most common mistakes when using SEO. We’ll even throw in some tips on how to avoid making these mistakes in the future. However, before we dive into the errors, let’s discuss why SEO is essential in the first place.
Is SEO good for small business?
Good may be an understatement. SEO is critical for small businesses. SEO is one of the most important marketing strategies for small businesses period. Studies show that if your business can achieve the number one result for a given keyword, the user has a 71%-92% chance of clicking on your result. That’s a potential customer!
Not employing SEO best practices can cost you dearly. Not only will you be missing out on customers, but you’ll also be losing ground to your competitors who are using SEO correctly.
Now that we know how important SEO is for small businesses let’s look at some mistakes small business owners make when trying to optimize their websites.
The biggest SEO mistakes small business owners make.
We see so many mistakes being made when small businesses try to optimize their website that it’s tough to prioritize which ones are the most common. However, we’ve compiled a list of mistakes we see most often and mistakes that have the potential to do the most damage to your ranking.
Not using SEO.
One of the biggest mistakes small business owners can make is not using SEO in the first place. While it may seem like a complex and time-consuming process, there are several simple things you can do to improve your SEO – even if you’re not a tech-savvy SEO expert.
For example, including keywords in your website content and titles can help your site show up when people search for those terms. If you own a window washing business, you may be inclined to throw up some photos on a website and call it a day. But including relevant keywords like “window washing,” “residential window washing,” or “commercial window washing” will help you rank higher in search results when people are searching for those terms.
Additionally, making sure your site is accessible and easy to navigate can also help search engines index your site more effectively. You want to ensure your site is structured in a way that makes sense and is easy for users and search engines to understand. Making sure the menu is easy to find, and all the pages on your site are linked together correctly can help search engines (and potential customers) find the information they need.
By applying just a few SEO best practices, you will see a significant difference in your website’s traffic and performance in search results.
Not tracking progress.
Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, but they often don’t have the time or resources to track their SEO progress. This can be problematic because SEO is an essential part of online marketing.
Without tracking their progress, businesses may not realize how effective their SEO efforts are, and they may miss out on opportunities to improve their ranking. Small companies may never know if they’re making progress or need to adjust their strategy.
Thankfully, some tools and services (i.e., SEMRush, Ahrefs, etc.) can help small businesses track their SEO progress. By taking advantage of these tools, businesses can stay on top of their SEO game and make sure that they’re doing everything possible to improve their ranking. There is, however, a steep learning curve associated with these tools, and it may be worth hiring an agency or consultant to help interpret the data.
Not targeting the right keywords.
Another major issue that small businesses face is not targeting the right keywords. It’s essential to target keywords relevant to your company and have a high(er) search volume.
For example, if you own a pet store, it would make sense to target keywords like “pet supplies,” “dog food,” or “cat toys.” But if you only sell dog food, it wouldn’t make sense to target keywords like “pet supplies” because people searching for that term are likely looking for a one-stop shop that sells everything from dog food to cat toys.
You want to make sure you’re targeting realistically attainable keywords. Keywords with an astronomically high volume are most likely out of your reach, and trying to rank for them will only result in frustration.
To find the right keywords for your business, you can use several tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or Moz’s Keyword Explorer. These tools will help you identify relevant, high-volume keywords that you can realistically target.
Focusing on quantity over quality.
This is a big one. When small businesses develop backlinks or content, they focus too much on quantity over quality.
For example, a small business may think that they need to generate as much content as possible, so they pump out articles without giving any thought to quality. Or they may try to game the system by buying backlinks from low-quality websites.
Both of these tactics will hurt your ranking rather than help it.
Search engines are getting smarter, and they can tell when you’re trying to game the system. They will penalize you for it by lowering your ranking.
You want to ensure that you’re taking a quality over quantity approach with your content and your backlinks. Make sure that the content you’re producing is well-researched and well-written. And when it comes to backlinks, ensure you’re only getting them from high-quality websites. Keep in mind these websites should be relative to your niche.
Ignoring user experience.
The user experience goes hand in hand with quality content.
If you’re producing low-quality content or if your website is challenging to navigate, users will have a bad experience. And when users have a terrible experience, they’re less likely to return.
Search engines know this and take user experience into account when ranking websites. So you want to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to create a positive user experience.
Some things you can do to improve user experience include-
- Producing high-quality content. Don’t over-fluff your content or stuff it with keywords. Write for humans first and search engines second.
- Creating an easy-to-navigate website. You want users to be able to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. Use clear and concise navigation labels and ensure your menu is easy to use.
- Ensuring that your website loads quickly. The average user won’t wait more than a few seconds for a website to load. If your website takes too long to load, users will likely get frustrated and leave.
- Ensure your site is mobile-ready (i.e., responsive). Ever go to a website on your phone, and it’s challenging to navigate, or the text is too small? It’s incredibly frustrating. Well, that’s how your users will feel if your website isn’t mobile-ready.
These are just a few areas you can focus on to improve user experience.
Remember, the goal is to create a positive experience for users, so they keep coming back. If you can do that, search engines will reward you with a higher ranking.
Expecting instant results.
This should’ve been first because it’s the most important one. And it’s the mistake that almost all small businesses make.
When you first start using SEO, you’re not going to see results overnight. It takes time for search engines to crawl your website and index your content. It takes time to build backlinks and improve your authority.
One of the most important things you need to do when using SEO is to be patient. It takes time and effort to see results, but it will be worth it in the end.
Depending on the small business’s industry, goals, and objectives, you can usually expect results in 3-6 months. It’s worth noting that countless variables come into play when determining how long it will take to see results – but that should give you a ballpark figure.
We help small business owners that are tired of SEO mistakes.
Small business owners can make SEO mistakes that can hurt their website’s ranking and visibility. In this article, we outlined six of the most common mistakes we find in SEO strategies. We also provided solutions for each mistake so that you can avoid making them yourself!
What was your biggest takeaway from this article? Are there any other mistakes you think small business owners make when trying to optimize their website for search engines? We would love to hear from you; just drop us a line.e