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The world of SEO can be a confusing one, with multiple contrasting tips and opinions online, we know how hard it can be to find advice that you can act upon. It may only take a mere few hours to research and implement SEO strategies, but it can take many, many more to truly master SEO. 

Sometimes the things that are holding back your SEO are right under your nose – so we’ve made a list of common mistakes (and how you can fix them).

1. Expecting too much too soon 

The most common mistake is starting SEO and thinking you can kick-off your shoes and leave it to its own devices. It’s unrealistic to expect your SEO to be perfect right away. 

The key is to focus on long-term goals. SEO is a long-term commitment that needs regular care and attention. If you ‘set it and forget it’ you’re not optimising and therefore your SEO isn’t going to reach its full potential. Some people may try and avoid this by enlisting ‘quick fixes’, but these really aren’t worth the risk. Google is well-aware of this ‘black-hat SEO’. If you dabble in illegitimate practises you risk being penalised or even banned from search engines. 

2. Picking unsuitable keywords

SEO requires an element of creativity. You need to find your niche and take a targetted approach to your keywords. If your keyword is too general and receives a lot of traffic it’s going to be incredibly hard to reach those first-page rankings. Picking a national keyword means you’ll be competing against the rest of the country to rank, so focusing on highly localised keywords is much more beneficial. Long-tail keywords can also be more advantageous for smaller businesses, as it’s much easier to climb closer to top rankings. 

3. Forgetting local SEO

We’ve discussed local SEO in a past blog post, and it’s surprising how many businesses fail to utilise it. Local SEO isn’t as complicated as you may expect. Local SEO allows you to promote your services to the people in your area that are actively looking for that type of service. Google and Google Maps are the most used forms of searches, so make the most of those resources (and don’t forget to use Google My Business, its free!). 

Map with pin in 'washington, d.c'

4. Focusing on quantity, not quality

The way you format the information is just as important as the content itself. Consider the structure of your content – is it providing what the reader wants to know? Is it just a huge chunk of text that’ll put readers off or are you breaking it up with bullet-points, videos, images? Consider the quality of your user experience.

Here’s the thing that many companies struggle to understand: no one wants to read the same articles over and over. If you have something to say about a topic that is already highly saturated with content, put your own spin on it or make it different somehow, or else it’s likely to get lost in the crowd. By creating unique content, and harnessing your own knowledge and experiences, you can build your position as a pioneer of thought-leadership. 

5. Neglecting mobile users

When people have a negative brand experience on mobile, they are 62% less likely to purchase from that brand in the future.  Here at Newicon, we prioritise responsive web design to ensure better user experience for mobile and tablet users. Your site needs to work for these devices or it could cost you potential customers. You can test out your site from a different device (or use Google’s tool) to see if it’s mobile-friendly. 

6. Not running regular website audits

One thing we specialise in is website audits, so we know how vital they are. A good audit can provide you with actionable insights into your business. Audits can make you aware of any potential issues with your site that could be a big factor in your search ranking. They can help clarify your goals for your site and can help provide solutions. Audits are a great way to benchmark the performance of your site, touching upon user experience, broken links, and why you might not be ranking as highly as you’d expect. 

7. Ignoring the small details

Many of the issues found are often seen as too insignificant to act upon, but we’re here to tell you not to ignore the small stuff. There are so many factors that affect your SEO it can feel impossible to follow them all and that in turn, can lead to even more confusion. In our experience, there are a few elements that people tend to forget the most: title tags, meta descriptions and image alt attributes. They’re quick and simple to write, and they present you with another opportunity to target your focus keywords. This optimisation of on-page SEO can work together to boost your site. 

The trick is to understand your target market so well that you can use keywords to position yourselves in front of your likely customers. The better you know your user, the easier it will be to make your brand visible to them on search engines. 

In conclusion, there is much more to SEO than just what you see on the surface. If you want it to work to its full potential it is a long-term commitment. Optimising it takes work and a commitment to tracking analytics, as well as a clear understanding of how this works with your business objectives, but when its done right SEO can be extremely beneficial to your business. 

Glossary: 

Black hat SEO – This is an unethical method that aims to get site ranking higher in search engines. This often involves the practice of actions that are against the search-engine guidelines. Black hat SEO can result in your site receiving penalties from search engines or potentially even bans. 

Local SEO – Looks to serve a user search results that are relevant to their location. 

Long-tail keywords – A method of adding your local area to the end of your keywords, for example, instead of ‘cool computers’ a long-tail keyword would be ‘cool computers bristol’. 

User experience –  User experience refers to the feelings that a person has while using a system or product, especially in terms of how easy or enjoyable the experience is. 

If you’re interested in working with Newicon on your next digital project, get in touch now.