Search marketing is fast becoming the most popular strategy among marketers, and for many good reasons. It’s great for increasing exposure for businesses of any size, it’s cost effective, and, in a recent survey, 85% of retailers said that search marketing (including paid and SEO) was their most effective customer acquisition tactic.
But, perhaps you’re reading this and thinking “Why doesn’t search marketing work for me?!” There are many pitfalls and errors that people make whilst implementing search marketing into their business strategy. That’s why, in this blog post we’ve gathered 6 of the most common mistakes you should avoid whilst search marketing.
Mistake One: You’re not tracking
If you don’t track your search marketing, then you really have no way of knowing if what you’re doing is effective, or simply a waste of time. And if you never know which areas of your site are performing well, and which are performing poorly, then you’ll never have the expertise needed to optimize your site and gain more conversions.
The wonder of SEO is that if you do it right you can send lots of free traffic directly to your site. But, of course, free traffic is not going to keep your business afloat in the shark-filled sea that is the internet, you need that traffic to turn into sales! By measuring your SEO efforts with a tool such as Google Analytics you can break down each individual aspect of your search marketing and measure just how effective it is.
It also must be noted that the internet is constantly changing, and this makes search marketing a continuous effort. If you find that you have a highly ranked keyword or phrase one day, it doesn’t mean that you will rank highly tomorrow, or the next day.
Mistake Two: Focusing on quantity, not quality
There’s nothing wrong with focusing on quantity. After all, research tells us that the ideal blog post takes visitors 7 minutes to read (so roughly 1400 — 1750 words). In addition, Google has specific algorithms which will downgrade thin content. But, just because content is now expected to be more lengthy, doesn’t mean it should lose all quality.
In order for your content to gain consistently high rankings among search engines it has to be authoritative, well-written, and valuable so that people will want to read it, share it, and hopefully even link to it.
Speaking of links, you should also avoid quantity over quality here too. It’s great to have links to other sites within your content, but they have to be the correct kind of links. If you’re linking to sites that are irrelevant, low quality, or down-right offensive, you risk not only your brand being associated with that site, but also Google dropping you from it’s search engine altogether.
Mistake Three: Black hat baddies!
Continuing from the point above, if stuffing your site with a bunch of spammy links doesn’t get you dropped to the bottom of the search engine then this will. No matter how tempting black hat tactics may seem you should always avoid them. The damage caused by black hat techniques is almost always too harsh to recover from.
Black hat techniques include things like:
- Unrelated Keywords — adding unrelated keywords to increase traffic
- Link Farms — seeking several low quality links
- URL Hijacking — registering your site under a domain name that is a misspelled version of a popular website. E.g. Facepook.com
- Comment Spam — automatically posting tons of comments to your content
- Duplicate Content — copying content from other sites without permission
If any service or agency approaches you offering these services in exchange for a payment then refuse. These aggressive tactics do not follow search engine guidelines and so will have no positive effect on your search marketing.
Mistake Four: You’re not optimizing for local search
Not optimizing for local searches is a big search marketing mistake because it means that instead of just competing with others in your area, you’re competing with businesses worldwide.
A few weeks ago in the UK (a few months ago in the US) Google released an algorithm update called PigeonRank. PigeonRank allows you to rank higher for searches that are local to you.
To begin optimizing for local searches you need to include region-specific keywords throughout your site. You can also enhance your local search marketing by signing up to review sites that display your address, such as Yell.com and Google Places.
Mistake Five: Broken links!
Broken links are dangerous because they make your site look untrustworthy, not only to your customers, but to search engines too. Search engines want to direct users to authoritative and relevant sites, so when they present your broken link to the public who click on it and find nothing of interest, they look just as bad as you do.
Broken links are inevitable as you redesign your site, move thinks around, delete old pages, and so on. But, if you do not keep a vigilant watch over your site then these bad links will begin to give you a poor reputation.
The best thing to do is NOT delete old pages. You can easily implement 302 redirects so that users can still find this content even if they are searching for it years after it was first published.
Mistake Six: Keyword stuffing and/or no keyword research
Keyword stuffing is another one of those black hat techniques that you should watch out for. It’s the process of plying a webpage with irrelevant or unnatural keywords in an attempt to manipulate search engines. But, not at all surprisingly, it doesn’t work.
Keywords are such invaluable tools for the search marketer when used correctly. By correctly, we mean researching keywords that your ideal customers will be searching for, preferably in the vocabulary that you expect them to use, in order to ensure that your site appears before them in the search engine results. You should put a lot of thought into keyword placement because in order to be fully effective your keywords need to be specific enough to be found through organic search and also able to be used naturally throughout your content.
Search Marketing can do wonders for your brand awareness whilst assisting you in gaining more customers. And, now that you know not to make the six mistakes above, your SEO will be much more effective. However, we have to note that search marketing is a slow, but steady and worth it, process. You won’t see a huge increase in results over night, but the results that you do achieve, and the traffic that you get to your site will be the users that are most likely to convert into loyal customers.