For those of us that work in the internet and web design world, we understand the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and its role in driving qualified traffic to a website. However, in other businesses and large corporations, there is still a lack of familiarity with Search Engine Optimization and how it really works. This lack of knowledge can lead to management decisions that can be detrimental from an SEO perspective. There are a number of mistakes that are commonly made as a result of this unawareness.
Common SEO mistakes made by businesses
- Being Too Late to the Party
It is easier to do things right the first time than having to do them over again. Many companies, even those that are aware of the importance of SEO, tend to start the optimization process too late in the game. It is important to understand that there is more to SEO than keyword selection and copywriting. Search Engine Optimization needs to be considered in many important, early stage decisions including those regarding technical implementation.
- Choosing a Weak CMS (Content Management System)
Many CMSs don't have the capabilities to implement even the most basic SEO features such as title tags, headers and link anchor text. While other Content Management Systems allow some of these basics to be applied, they may not be crawler-friendly or indexable by the search engines. Other CMSs can also create duplicate content concerns. Before choosing a CMS, make sure to address these issues- this will help alleviate some headaches down the road.
- Developing a Site with Search Engine UNFriendly Techniques
- Over-optimizing the Site's Pages
Over-optimizing a site and writing content for search engines only can quickly lead to a poor user experience, a decrease in conversion rate and lack of being seen as link bait. It is always better to write quality content for users, not search engine bots. Users are the ones that will purchase your product or use your services.
- Misusing or Not Using Canonical Redirects
It is essential to make certain that more than one version of your site does NOT exist on the internet. Some websites allow both http://example.com and http://www.example.com to exist without using a proper 301 redirect to redirect one version to the other. This situation is a duplicate content issue and needs to be correctly as soon as possible.
- Having Duplicate Content
There are numerous ways that duplicate content can appear on a website. This is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately because search engines frown on the use of duplicate content. Some ways to implement duplicate content include creating print pages and referring to a site's pages with more than one URL.
- Using Poor Internal Anchor Text
The use of internal links within the pages of a website help search engines learn what the page being linked to is about. By using keyword rich anchor text, the search engine will know that the linked page is all about your important and relevant keyword(s). Don't make the all-too-common mistake of using "Click Here" and "More" as the anchor text on internal links. This is a loss of a great opportunity.
- Presenting Weak Content Pages
There are many existing websites that implement pages that are too light on content. Even though these pages may appear to be content rich to a user- with product images, product information and price- they are in reality very thin on content. Product and other site pages that are set up in this way will either be seen as a poor quality page or duplicate content.
- Ignoring Site Promotion
One major mistake companies make is thinking that the process is over once the website is launched and live. Like any other product or service, a business's website has to be promoted and marketed. Time and effort must be invested in the promotion of the site. Website promotion comes in various forms including: paid search advertising, link building, participation in social media and blogs, etc.
To avoid the negative effects that these mistakes can have on your website, it is important to get the entire company on board- including senior management, IT department, etc. Before embarking on any website project, everyone must understand the business implications of decisions concerning the company website and Search Engine Optimization. If all of these issues are taken into consideration early in the design process, the chances of SEO problems/issues are greatly reduced.