If you sell dishwashers, you want to be at the top of the list when someone searches ‘dishwashers for sale’. Yes, random. I just did the dishes. Solid introduction though so far, right?
Search engine optimization is the act of structuring your website and company’s online presence so that your webpages populate at the top of relevant search results. This is a big deal because the alternative to SEO is SEM (search engine marketing); where you pay per click to have your website populate at the top of search results pages. I will withhold my thoughts on SEO and SEM BOTH costing money for another blog and stay focused on the task at hand.
Below are the top 10 SEO Mistakes I see companies make.
This list is all about easy to make & easy to fix SEO features. It is loosely ranked by SEO importance.
11. Not including Image Alt Text
Don’t forget to add an image alt tag to every image you load onto your site. The alt tag should be a brief description of the image itself and the page that it is sitting on. This dramatically helps search engines understand the image you are using as well as increases your site’s “credibility” with the search engines.
10. Not including Headers
Help Google understand the page it’s looking at by appropriately providing headers to your website. The longer your word count on a page, the more header types you should consider using. Although headers aren’t as important as they use to be, it doesn’t hurt and it definitely doesn’t reduce your chances of populating at the top of search engine results!
9. Not having an SSL Certificate
An SSL gives your website the green ‘https://’ at the front of your domain address, often paired with the word ‘secure’. This is not just to make your customers feel safe, it actually drastically improves the security of your website. There are free SSL certificates in the world today! Your website should have one! Click here for a detailed description of an SSL certificate.
8. Disregarding Meta Titles & Descriptions
Make sure each page has a unique meta title and description. This can take about 10 minutes per page, depending on whether or not you already know your meta title & description.
Here’s an example of a meta title (“Balboa Park”) & description in use on a search engine result:
More information on meta titles and meta descriptions can be found here.
7. Citation Inconsistencies
Making sure your business’s contact information is listed on third party websites is important. This includes being listed with correct contact information on social media profiles, search engines, directories and review websites. Setting up 100+ citations online is a great idea, but make sure to constantly monitor them to make sure the information isn’t changed.
6. Wayyy too large of media files (photos and video)
Do not upload a large file to be viewed on your website. This decreases page load speed, which not only gives a poor user experience, but search engines hate it!
5. Disregarding the Server’s job
Your server has some very important SEO purposes, mostly based around page load speed. In most cases, make sure to integrate CDN and setup server-side caching.
4. Not setting up 3rd party accounts
It takes little time to properly set up accounts/profiles for all major search engines, review sites and social media accounts. Consider going to 3rd party directories related to your business as well.
3. Forgetting to submit your sitemaps
Yes, search engines scan the ‘internet world’ for new/updated webpages. That said, you can expedite this process by submitting your website’s sitemaps to Google & Bing/Yahoo. This also gives you the added benefit of making sure the search engines are indexing the pages you want them to index.
2. Beauty first, SEO second
Let’s be honest, everyone wants a beautiful site. And don’t get me wrong, we agree! A website is the window a prospect looks through to see your business. It needs to look good!
That said, what is your strategy to drive prospects to your website in the first place? A pretty site is worth nothing unless it is being viewed by a relevant crowd.
If SEO is important to your business, make sure it’s a part of the conversation when redesigning your website.
The problem lies when your only focus is having a beautiful website.
There are a few key front-end facing variables (discussed above) that must be considered to give each web page the best chances
1. Not setting up the fundamentals
Ugh… I hate when #1 is something obvious.
But seriously, this is absolutely the number one mistake we see time and time again. If you don’t set up the fundamentals, you have already put yourself down a peg in giving yourself the best chances to get to the top of the search results.
Think to yourself whether or not your product/service offering is being searched by users through search engines. If you answer ‘yes’ to this question, make sure you take search engine optimization seriously, as it can be a great way to generate new business opportunities for your company.