We hear it all the time. “No thanks, we’re handling SEO internally.” And then a few months later we check back on the site’s search engine rankings and we simply sigh. If only businesses understood the complexities of search engine optimization. If only businesses understood that search engine optimization is not a “once and done” endeavor. If only businesses realized that search engine optimization is one of the least expensive ways to attract new site visitors and leads. If you are a business who knows SEO is important, and you are thinking of handling it internally, give me 3 minutes to introduce you to five common SEO fails.
SEO Fail 1: Addressing SEO as an afterthought
If ranking on key search terms and phrases is important to your business, that needs to be a stated as a priority before you begin designing/redesigning your website. SEO best practices need to be factored into every step of the website development process – from strategy through website design and build. Treating SEO as an afterthought is a recipe for SEO failure, yet so many businesses decide to put off SEO and don’t budget for or prioritize it during a design/redesign project. The problem is, most sites can’t be “retrofitted” to be SEO-friendly, so it’s best to develop your SEO plan with an experienced agency who has done this many times before.
SEO Fail 2: Selecting a non-SEO friendly CMS
Your content management system (CMS) can support or dramatically impair your SEO efforts, so select your CMS wisely. At the minimum, look for a CMS that allows you to customize meta title and description fields including blogs/news, heading styling, page URLs for all pages and ALT tags, as well as embed analytics tracking code anywhere you need it. Many CMS’ and web developers are not necessarily well-versed in SEO best practices, so without initially communicating your SEO priorities, you might find down the road that your options are limited. A non-SEO friendly CMS makes it nearly impossible to achieve your SEO goals, so don’t jeopardize your success before you even begin.
SEO Fail 3: Narrowing your site architecture
Most businesses fail to develop a site architecture that is SEO-friendly because they are taking strategic direction from management teams who aren’t SEO experts. When developing your site architecture plan, you must take your SEO goals into consideration. Sure, taking a “less is more” approach will reduce your web development and content development budget, but it will also limit your ability to rank in search engines and obtain new business opportunities in a big way. Fresh, themed content is to search engines as oxygen is to humans. Feed the beast. If you want to be found, your site architecture and content needs to be focused around your keyword priorities, and scalable to meet your future business and marketing needs.
SEO Fail 4: Lack of tag research
Many businesses understand the need to for meta data, but most have no idea how to approach the execution of them. Adding a bunch of keywords and submitting your site to Google is not quite in alignment with SEO best practices. There is a science to crafting meta titles and descriptions and that science isn’t something that just anyone with a marketing or IT degree is necessarily privy to. Your content strategy and your tag strategy must be intertwined, as well as be focused around your target audience and their search behavior. Without research-based insight and a solid content plan, you can add tags until you are blue in the face and it simply won’t help.
SEO Fail 5: No ongoing SEO strategy
Search engine optimization is an enduring process and without a continued SEO plan in place, it is inevitable that your rankings will begin to decline. Any time a new page or new content is added to your site, it needs to be properly researched against your marketing goals, and tagged appropriately. Additionally, search engine algorithms change hundreds of times a year, so keeping up with the latest is a full-time job handled best by experts who do this day in and out.
Why set yourself up for failure?
Google alone has more than 3 billion searches each day and 75% of visitors will never go past the first page of search results. SEO is simply here to stay, and where your business appears in the search results has a direct impact on your ability to attract visitors and convert them into leads. Don’t miss the opportunity to approach SEO with a strategic focus and skilled resources.
Ready to discuss how SEO can help grow your business? Contact ZAG Interactive online or at 860.633.4818 for a complimentary consultation.