(photo source: Nima Badiey)
Mistakes are bound to happen! We all make them - but in life we try to avoid them. Sigmund Freud was once quoted:
"From error to error one discovers the entire truth."
But when businesses are hard-pressed for time and money, mistakes are not an option. Even if you are a Fortune 50 company, you may be in greater danger to succumbing to SEO ignorance. Upper-level management may not understand what it is or why it's even important. Here are five common mistakes to avoid at all costs:
1. Self-centered Marketing
Just because a landing page looks nice and has a lot of content doesn't mean that it has any relevance. If your homepage is full of your "company", chances are that relevance for your consumers as well as search engines is lost. Many companies make the mistake of adding too much of themselves on a landing page, without explaining to the user what they do, and how that will help the user. Make content relevant and straight-forward.
2. URL Structure
A lot of website have URL problems, but one mistake that has to be avoided at all times is long and irrelevant URL structures. Why are you making it harder for crawlers and users to see your information? Recent research shows that short URLs within Google SERPs get clicked twice as often as long ones. So by sticking to short URLs you get both better rankings and better click-through. Avoid underscores, capital letters, spam words, and digits. Use static URLs, and 301 redirects for permanently moved pages.
(photo source: frankfarm)
3. Lack of Substance
Create meaningful content and deliver it in a way that people can find it. Remember that Google's job is to get meaningful content to their users, and the best way to do that is to produce and deliver meaningful content. Adding a few "well-placed" keywords is not going to do that. Remember to update your blog frequently with well-written content that display thought-leadership! Keep in mind to write for a human audience, not Googlebot. Keyword-heavy content might have produced results in the past, but will definitely not work for the long-term. The priority shouldn't just be making your site #1 on Google, but to get people to engage with your company through your website. Keep in mind that an interactive experience that is boring, frustrating and inhuman will drive your potential customers away and will hurt your search results in the long run.
4. Links for Their Own Sake
Just because you have a lot inbound links doesn't mean that they are relevant. Since Google is trying to provide the best information available for their users, having too many links for questionable sources, especially if they're acquired in a short period of time, can get your site "penalized" by Google.
5. Ignoring Social Media
Social media is not optional--integrating RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook, and even Myspace to your consumers. There are significant benefits from combining search engine optimization and social media marketing tactics ranging from increased social network discovery via search to attract links for improved SEO. Staying relevant in consumers' minds and creating a conversation is key.