SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a dark and mysterious art to most people. As a result there are a few mistakes that crop up time and again on small business websites.
- Keywords. Most people seem to understand the idea of keywords and they often compile a list of them that they want to rank for in search engines but they tend to do this as a separate task to writing the copy for their website. As a result they often want to rank for keywords that they haven’t used, even once, anywhere on their website. Google cannot guess what you have in mind; you have to provide content that is clearly relevant to the keyword someone is searching for.
- Overly general keywords. Small businesses can easily be squeezed out of the rankings by large corporations or websites with national or international scope. With the odds stacked against you it is foolish to challenge the big boys in their own back yards. Everyone is fighting for the general keywords like ‘marketing’ but if you are a small business only providing marketing services in a distinct geographical area then you don’t need everyone who is searching for ‘marketing’ coming to your site. So, rather than take on the impossible task of ranking for ‘marketing’, choose a more specific keyphrase instead. ‘Marketing services [your town]’ might be a more reasonable target to set yourself and a cheaper one too.
- Keywords meta tag. There is still a widely held belief among non-web designers that you just have to cram all of your favoured keywords into the keywords meta tag and you will magically rank in the search engines. This hasn’t been the case for some time and Google takes no notice of what you put in the keywords tag. Others may take some notice but are still far more interested in the content of your page. Again, if a keyword is important enough for you to put in the keywords tag then it should be in the main copy somewhere.
- Not enough content. Many small business owners seem to treat a website like a printed brochure and plan their site as if someone is going to read it from start to finish. As a result they try not to repeat themselves and keep things as concise as they can. However, as we saw earlier they need to mention all of the keywords that they want to rank for (and more than once!). Keywords that are used in title tags and h1,h2 tags etc. are considered more important than in the body text so it makes sense to devote a whole page to each major keyword you want to rank for. You can also mention them elsewhere and then link to the specific page too.
- Static Content. Unfortunately for small businesses Google likes regularly updated content. This doesn’t often make a lot of sense to small business sites that may still contain relevant content even if they haven’t been updated for a couple of years or more. To get around this we have to force things a little and create a News section where updates about new products or services, special offers and advice for customers can be posted. These news posts then need to link back to the existing content. Pushing this content out to Twitter, Facebook and other social networks can also be useful. This process can be automated so it doesn’t add any extra work.
- Splash pages. A splash page is a home page for a website that contains little or no real content and usually offers a pretty picture and a ‘Click here to enter our site’ type link. They, again, assume that visitors are going to view the site like a brochure, start to finish. In reality, if they are coming from a search engine, they are going to be directed to the page that is most relevant to their search term. Splash pages offer no value and can also put off visitors that do see them. The Internet has conditioned visitors to want their content immediately. If they cannot see what they want straight away they often choose to go elsewhere. Strange as it sounds some people just can’t be bothered to click a link that says ‘Click here to enter our site’ and you’ve lost them.
So, there you have it. These are not complex issues but they still crop up all over the place. No amount of off site SEO and promotion is going to make up for these basic errors so it is essential that you get them dealt with before you try anything else to increase your search engine rankings.
If you would like your website checked to see what mistakes need fixing then please Contact Us now.