SEO! The nasty word when it comes to digital marketing. SEO has gotten a bad rap because it is the most technical of the marketing campaigns to run, the most time consuming and the least visible in terms of results for most business owners to see value. Unfortunately, SEO is often pigeon-holed as well into more digestible terms such as, blogging, keyword research, or local search. SEO is actually all of those things and more! SEO is not only important but critical for your business to succeed and grow long term now more than ever before as verticals become more crowded and more players vie for the top spots on search engine rankings. In this piece, we’ll take a look at some of the first basic mistakes made around SEO and look out for Part 2 as we get more in-depth!
Perhaps it’s good to start off with a quick definition before getting into the mistakes. SEO is simply, search engine optimization. What does this mean? From Wikipedia, “Search engine optimization is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines. SEO targets unpaid traffic rather than direct traffic or paid traffic.” This is important to understand as this encompasses any and all practices you employ to drive traffic to your website. Posting on social media, doesn’t count towards your SEO score, making sure that that user can find more information about you when searching on Google or Bing absolutely does! Your Google My Business Knowledge Panel is its own platform but it does count towards 25% of your local search online. It’s important to think of SEO as a multi-faceted approach to building your reputation online. When you are ready to dig in and do the extra and often times slow and methodical work to raise, secure and keep yourself top of mind for key search terms, SEO campaigns, link-building tactics and content creation are the keys to creating solid and long lasting results when it comes to SEO.
- Mistake 1 – Not creating an SEO plan!
This is probably the biggest mistake a business owner can make when running any marketing campaign but SEO is not a process that can be run by the seat of your pants, nor does it usually take one person to effectively run campaigns. SEO is a methodical often laborious process of consistently capturing, tracking and measuring performance of your website and content against performing data, industry averages and specifics to create an effective strategy to raise the awareness of your website both for the user and the search engine itself. You must create a plan, know your current gaps and weaknesses and then implement the plan on a consistent basis. Most businesses won’t see a ‘jump’ or an improvement in search performance for at least 3 months and really will see results of SEO campaigns at the 6 month mark. It’s important for business owners to understand and have these expectations and know that you will need to invest both time and resources (money!) to get the results you are looking for.
- Mistake 2 – Misunderstanding what SEO actually is!
This is often the next biggest mistake when it comes to SEO and builds off of Mistake 1. If you don’t have a plan you’re out of luck and may produce varied and sub-par results. If you don’t even know the ins and outs of SEO you’ll be shooting in the dark even with a great plan. SEO is a combination of best practices and content activities that rank your website for existing key search terms. You’ll want to do research, or have a professional do the research on current performing keywords, industry trends when it comes to search and optimal implementation strategies. Remember, SEO is more than just writing a blog, you have to consider your local footprint as well and how you show up against competitors.
- Mistake 3 – Not spending enough time or money on SEO!
Sadly, this is the biggest mistake I see when it comes to SEO. Business owners often can’t or don’t see the results to justify the spend both in time and money it takes to achieve success when running SEO campaigns and initiatives. I have heard time and again, sure, we wrote a few blog posts but we didn’t see anything improve so we abandoned that strategy. SEO is the ground game to your passing game with digital ads. With SEO, you’re looking to gain a few yards and position your business to score. You won’t score many touchdowns with SEO but you need to have these plays as part of your playbook. Invest in SEO and you will see the results long term and before investing, make sure this is what you need in your business. I often consult clients and let them know if they need sales now, running ads is the best way to get clicks and calls. Is SEO critical? Absolutely, but you need to invest wisely. Long term, as your business grows, you’ll need aggressive SEO campaigns to top the competition. Incorporate SEO as part of your strategy early and you’ll reap those rewards sooner than expected. Stay tuned for Part 2 as we get into best practices and technical mistakes business owners make with SEO!
If you have questions about SEO, email marketing, paid ads, social media, or digital marketing, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to helping you reach your target customers more effectively in the digital space!