So you’re ready to take the search engine results page over and start growing your business. You’ve written great copy that perfectly describes your products and their benefits, tagged everything from your H1s to your images like you were having a going-out-of-business sale, and started brainstorming great content ideas that will have customers coming back for more. Great!
Except it isn’t working. Try as you might, your rankings are sinking and your competitors are basking in the glow of the top results on Google. It can’t be that you are targeting the wrong keywords; you’ve already done research on that. It certainly isn’t your copy, since you know how to write great web copy. What is it, then?
Many companies without enough experience tend to make simple mistakes that hurt their chances of ranking on the front page. Here are 3 mistakes that harm your SEO, and 3 quick fixes. Patch these up and you’ll be well on your way to healing your search engine optimization campaign.
#1) Being too heavy on media (videos, images, etc)
Media is great. Nothing attracts visitors like crisp images, informative videos and eye-catching copy. But too much and you’re hurting your chances. SEO is more about the consumer now than search engines, and while tagging and captioning images and videos helps Google read what you’re all about, too much of it and you stumble upon a killer SEO mistake: slowing your website down. A recent study from retail giant Wal Mart noticed that every 1 second of increased page speed resulted in a 2% jump in conversion rates.
Quick fix: first, get to the root of the problem. Use a web page speed tester, and see what the issue is. A few quick fixes include using smaller images and at lower resolutions, but the real trick is to embed videos from YouTube onto your site instead of hosting them yourself. This takes the job away from your servers and puts it onto YouTube’s basically infinite video hosting capabilities. Remember: nearly half of all consumers won’t wait longer than 10 seconds for your page to load.
#2) Forgetting about off-page SEO (especially with local)
There’s enough work to keep you busy 8 hours a day just on your site alone (in fact, there’s a whole industry dedicated to it), but you can’t forget just how important off-page SEO is. Local SEO is even more heavily affected by off-page signals than normal, so if you’re looking to expand into a local market, you need to start getting your name out there. For example, a local business might have dozens of possible off-page link opportunities just waiting to be taken advantage of.
Quick fix: off-page SEO is as much an art as it is a science, but there are plenty of basic tenants that you can get to work on right now.
- Create social media profiles and include your Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP!)
- Sign up with your local COC
- Join related industry groups and forums
- Set up a Google My Business profile
My business signals alone account for 15% of your local rank!
#3) Boring anchor text
Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink, and a key way that Google tries to figure out what you’re all about and how customers know where they are heading when they click. Anchor text should not just be a way that you show Google which products or services that you’re selling or how to help rank for a keyword, it should be a way for you to increase clicks and make sales. First off, repetitive and bad anchor text will raise suspicions from Google (they may think you’re spam!). Second, users like seeing creative, catchy sales text.
Quick fix: Make sure your keywords are in the text but not forced, that you don’t repetitively use the same keyword, and that you don’t spam by using the URL as the anchor text. Using keywords is fine, but also use synonyms of that keyword, and make the text actionable and natural.
SEO in the end is hard to define, and takes a coordinated effort across multiple disciplines to begin ranking high in the SERP. There are a few things, however, that you definitely should not do and a few tricks that you can start taking advantage of immediately if you want to rank higher. Avoid these 3 killer SEO mistakes, and get them fixed quickly if you’ve already made them. There’s no better time than now!