SEO begins at home, so if your website sucks then so will your SEO, and no matter how many juicy links you build, the long term relevance and effectiveness of the campaign will fail, as without the right structure, foundations and quality in terms of your website, at some stage it will all come unstuck.
We show you eight main mistakes that so many website and business owners are guilty of and how to avoid them to make sure that your SEO campaign really does deliver, both in the short and long term.
Cheap / Low Quality / Overseas Hosting
Your hosting is important and it does impact your SEO, especially as one ranking factor is page load time which cheap and cheerful hosting can often play havoc with. If you are targeting the UK market, make sure your website is hosted in the UK with a decent host, as server downtime, dead pages, slow loading times and constant website issues are not going to help you when it comes to performing well in the search engines.
“Make Your Own” Website Platforms
I might get a bit of negative feedback with this point, but if you are truly serious about your SEO then using a free, off the peg website platform that you literally have no control over is just not going to help you. Most of them, although good looking, really do lack the main functionality and control you will need going forward, which is why finding your local web designer or web design company is worth every single penny, as the good ones will give you an SEO friendly system, a bespoke look and feel and also a ton of advice that money literally cannot buy.
Content is the king of onsite SEO and without it, you are either not going to rank very well, or you stand the risk of ranking well for a short while and then slowly drifting away as your competitors start to write content instead of you. You need to make sure that every one of your web pages is spot on in terms of quality, relevancy and is free from typos and grammatical errors. You also need to make sure that you write a new blog at least once a month, but if you can, once a week, as fresh, relevant and quality content is loved by the search engines and can really help you to push above your rivals that might not be worrying about writing.
Ever since Google announced that it was rolling out a mobile friendly update to its algorithms, the requirement to have a mobile friendly website was even more important than previously, as if user experience was not your priority, then not seeing your website falling down the mobile rankings surely would be. Although the update was nowhere near as severe as we all thought it might be, the need for a mobile friendly, responsive website is crucial for your SEO, as if you are missing ranking places due to your website then no matter how hard you try with your SEO, you are always going to be on the back foot.
Preferred Domain / Canonicalisation
Most of the new CMS platforms take care of this for you, but if you fail to set your website to resolve to the WWW version or the non WWW versions, then essentially, you will end up with two versions of your website, which means identical pages and therefore a potential Panda Penalty heading your way for duplicate content. Although so easy to avoid, it can often get overlooked when launching a new site or transferring to a new design, so always make sure to set your preferred domain to avoid such issues.
Title Tags / Meta Description / H1
Your title tags and H1 headers are a crucial part of your onsite SEO strategy, so failing to give them enough time and attention will mean you lose some valuable ranking points. Make sure your title tags are natural but yet feature things you want to rank for, are at the correct limit of around 50 – 60 characters and the most important keywords are first. With your H1’s, make sure they have they keyword relevance in place and that each page has a unique, relevant and SEO friendly H1. When it comes to your meta description, although they have little impact on SEO, they can help with your CTR, so make sure you put some time and effort into making this effective as well.
So many website owners forget or do not understand the power of internal linking, but internal links really are very important when it comes to onsite SEO and should be thought of when publishing content. Where possible, internally link relevant content to other pages on your site. For example, if you sold Glass Vases and you released a blog on Glass Vases, then make sure at some point in the article you link through to your Glass Vases sale page from the blog, using the anchor text Glass Vases. Do not over do this and do not fill all of your content with internal links, and never by afraid to link out to other, high quality, relevant websites if you want to source something or link to them.
Not Making Use Of Free Tools
If I told you that there were free tools that would help you understand how the world sees your website and how Google sees your website, you might not believe me or you might simply nod, yawn and then never think of it again. Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics are two crucial (and free) tools that you need to have on your website, as GWMT will allow you to see how Google sees your website and fix any errors it reports, and Google Analytics allows you to really see how every single user interacts with your site, what they do and how they do it, allowing you to improve your site based on real data, not just “friends and family” opinions.
This article was provided by IS Digital Marketing, SEO and PPC specialists, offering a wide range of Online Marketing services for companies across the UK.