SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, is something that will help you massively when it comes to finding customers and, specifically, visitors for your website. Without SEO in place, your website can look fabulous, but no one will find it, especially if you are competing with many rivals.
SEO means that when someone searches online, assuming they search for the keywords you have used as part of your SEO strategy, your site will be at the top (or as close to it as possible) of the search engine results. The higher you are, the more trust people put in your site, and the more likely they are to click through to you. As long as you then present them with a website that makes them want to buy from you, good SEO should see your sales soar.
But you have to be careful with SEO. Not having any strategy in place is bad for your business, but just as bad (perhaps worse) is having bad SEO in place. This is bad for your business because search engines will actively penalize your website for bad SEO, and that means you are effectively hidden – your sales will definitely drop. With that in mind, here are some of the things that can negatively affect your website’s SEO so you can avoid them at all costs.
Doing It Yourself
It is entirely possible to do your SEO by yourself. If you write your own blog posts, for example, you can ensure that you use them to your advantage not just by offering your visitors more information but by including keywords and phrases, linking to other sites, incorporating images and ALT text, and many more SEO techniques that will help you.
However, if you’re not confident in your SEO skills and you’re not able to keep up with the changes that happen so frequently in this area, you might actually be doing more harm than good to your site, and you could easily fall foul of the search engines algorithms and rules. Therefore, it’s best to hire professional SEO services to do the work for you. You can then focus on other areas of the business, and your SEO will be in good hands and positively influence your website.
Having A Slow Website
When you think of SEO, you’ll probably think about keywords and content, but there is much more to SEO than this (another reason to hire experts, as mentioned above). In reality, SEO is all about ensuring the user experience is good. The better the UX, the more positive search engines will see your website and the more they will promote it.
Slow loading times are not something any website visitor is going to enjoy, and in most cases, they won’t stand for it. They will simply move on to another website very quickly. They won’t return to your website once they’ve had a bad experience, so even if you fix the issue, it could be too late.
Therefore, make sure the website is running at a good speed right from the start. Google will look at website loading speeds and will use slow speeds to penalize you, so it’s well worth making sure that all is running well at all times.
As well as checking the site, you can ensure that all your image files are compressed to make them smaller (but keep the same high quality) and make sure that whatever hosting company you choose has large enough servers to cope, otherwise this could also slow down your site, and if it does, it’s out of your control.
If someone takes the time to choose your website over someone else’s, and they go there because they expect to find a lot of useful information that will help them make a purchasing decision and ensure that they think of you in a positive way, putting their trust in your expertise, they won’t be particularly pleased if they find you are hosting a lot of broken links that mean they can’t get where they want to go. This will be disappointing and frustrating and they will think badly of your site. It’s not professional, and it might make them wary of trusting you.
To fix this issue, you need to regularly check that the places you have linked to – and remember that linking is an integral part of SEO – are still there and that the links still work. If they aren’t working, linking elsewhere (if possible) is better than removing the link altogether.
Not Optimizing Metadata
Using keywords to optimize your metadata is a great way to boost your position in search engine results. Metadata is, as the name implies, data that offers information about other data. In the simplest example, completing the ALT text on a website image is metadata, and so is writing a short description of the site for search engines to display under the clickable title of the site when they show results.
If you don’t optimize this data for SEO, you are missing out on some important help for getting your website noticed. Yet you must do this properly, as not including the correct data or forgetting keywords, or using the wrong ones will, at best, mean your work is doing nothing to help you get seen, and at worst, it might actually cause you to be penalized by the search engines for not having relevant content.
Having Duplicate Content
If you have duplicate content on your site, search engines will spot it. Even if no one else knows about it, the algorithms are designed to pick up on anything similar to another site. This will mean that you drop the rankings, and if the work is plagiarized entirely, you will be penalized harshly.
Even duplicate content from your own site is an issue, so if you need to write about something similar to something you have written before – most usually when it comes to creating landing pages, for example – make sure the wording is different; otherwise, you could find you have some serious issues that could damage your business.