SEO Do’s and Don’ts

Your website SEO plays a vital role in your content strategy and marketing and promotions campaigns. Whether you have outsourced your Search Engine Optimisation marketing or focusing your efforts in-house, it is important to know the basics of SEO and have a cohesive approach with all your communication tools.

Like every good investment, SEO marketing requires ongoing maintenance to get the most out of your marketing dollars. Here are key SEO housekeeping tips to help you with the ongoing maintenance of your website, along with the mistakes you should avoid.

Common SEO Do’s

SEO Tip #1 – Create a content schedule

It is more important than ever to update your website with fresh, new and original content to keep abreast of your competitors. An expert SEO company should show you how to write user-focussed and search-relevant content for your website. Look for ongoing opportunities where you can add fresh content to your website and update your content. This may include adding the following to your website:

  • media releases
  • testimonials and case studies
  • blog articles
  • seasonal offers
  • competitions and promotions

Set a weekly schedule where you update content on your website, publish a blog post and update your social media networks. Research your target audience to understand their pain points, hopes and desires – and write about them! The more you update your website with interesting and relevant content, the more encouraged Search Engine spiders will be to crawl your website, and also the more value you will be able to offer your end user.

SEO Tip #2 – Develop a link-building strategy

Set aside at least half an hour to an hour three times a week to build your link profile. This time could be dedicated to blogging on relevant websites, writing guest posts, or writing great content for your website that other websites will want to link back to.

A good SEO marketing company will tailor a link building strategy for your online business that will provide links back to your website from trustworthy and relevant websites. Link building is an important part of SEO and it is up to you to not only maintain and audit your existing link portfolio but to grow your link profile with quality links. These strategies may include:

  • writing quality blog posts
  • blogging on related websites
  • writing guest posts
  • participating in forums
  • social networking
  • digital PR

Every three to six months depending on how large your website is, you should check for broken links and that you are not linking to bad neighborhoods and that link submissions to directories are still current.

It is always a good idea to revisit your off-page strategy and analyse your competitors’ sites to see if there are any new prospects for link building and citation building . There may be new directories or blogs that have been launched that you can target. Analyzing each of the links in your link portfolio can also give you a good idea of where the gaps are in your link building and citation campaign and where there is room for improvement.

SEO Tip #3 – Ongoing keyword research

Keywords are dynamic and search trends evolve continuously, so what keyword a customer may use for Web searches now, might change in six months’ time. Use keyword research tools to monitor your keyword strategy, expand your list of keywords and optimize your website accordingly.

Keyword selection is an ongoing process and your list of keywords should be continually expanding and growing. Periodic keyword research will identify are any missed keyword opportunities that you can capitalize on. Keyword research includes analyzing your website and also doing competitor analysis.

SEO Tip #4 – Analyze your website statistics

Ideally, web statistics should be monitored weekly to track your statistics and understand better how users are interacting with and navigating your website. You can use this information to improve the usability and functionality of your website and expand your keyword strategy.

This is very important for the ongoing optimization of your website. A specialized SEO company should work with your website developer to firstly install Google Analytics on your website and show you how to analyze your Web pages. This data can be used to evaluate the success of online marketing strategies and understand where to best allocate your online marketing budget. This will include analyzing the following:

  • traffic sources
  • visitor analysis
  • content analysis
  • conversion tracking

Google Analytics provides great insights into where your site visitors come from, and what they are interested in – this provides major input in your SEO marketing strategy. You need to regularly review the data a minimum of once a month and adjust your internet marketing strategy accordingly.

SEO Tip #5 – Optimize your page content

Depending on how large your website is or how time critical the information is on your website, you should review your Web pages every three to six months. This involves:

  • checking content to make it is up to date
  • identifying new opportunities to add content
  • checking for broken links
  • checking internal link distribution

Ongoing page optimization is important for the SEO marketing of your website. A professional SEO company should teach you how to a regular health check or SEO audit every three to six months. The duration would depend on how many pages your website has and if the website needs to be updated.

On page optimization also includes updating Web pages with an SEO-friendly infrastructure such as:

  • correct filename structures
  • optimized title tags and headings
  • optimized meta description tags
  • keyword rich anchor links
  • alt tags on all images

Optimization of your website is an ongoing process but it doesn’t have to be an arduous task. By setting up regular tasks to regularly do an SEO audit of your website, your website will operate at an optimum level.

Common SEO don’ts

So you’ve got the tips. Now, what about the the most common SEO mistakes made and how you can avoid them?

Mistake #1 – Optimizing your website after it has been designed

This is a common mistake of websites designed with “look and feel” in mind, but not a view on how the website will be found. The importance of working with an SEO expert to design websites with an SEO technical infrastructure, taking an SEO-first approach, is key.

Common mistakes include websites that cannot easily be indexed by Search Engines and use javascript to render content, and websites that are image rich and text poor. Optimizing your website should not be an afterthought; it should be an integral part of the design process. This may avoid timely and costly mistakes of having to redesign or rebuild a website that is not SEO friendly.

Mistake #2 – Targeting the wrong keywords

Keywords are the foundation of all SEO strategies; they form the navigation structure, define the landing pages and on page elements for your website. In addition to Search Engine Tools like the Google Keyword Tool, there are other keyword research tools and strategies that can be employed such as focus groups, social marketing and so forth that can be used to find appropriate keywords to help you reach your SEO goals.

But if you start on the wrong footing – for example, targeting too broad keywords without the right intent behind them, or choosing only highly competitive keywords, you won’t see the benefit of SEO months down the line.

Mistake #3 – Content which is not updated regularly or stuffed

Creating content that is original, engaging and compelling is a very important part of Search Engine Optimization. You can update content by creating new landing pages, updating your company blog and adding media releases, case studies and testimonials to your website.

Remember that while you want your copy to be keyword focussed, you are writing for the people visiting your website and not purely for Search Engines spiders. Search Engines will drive traffic to your website but compelling copy is required to convert visitors into sales.

Keyword spamming or stuffing is very old-school and black hat SEO method. A common SEO mistake that people can make when designing a website is stuffing their website design with keywords that are used too frequently or out of context. Keywords must be inserted seamlessly and naturally within the text and the title tags, meta description tags and keywords must reflect the content on the page and be SEO synchronized.

Mistake #4 – Duplicated content

Search Engines love fresh and original content but frown on duplicated content. Not only will you be penalized if duplicate content is found on your website, you may be penalized if content on your website is being duplicated by other websites.

There are tools readily available on the Internet to check whether your content is being duplicated. Copyscape is a very easy tool to use. You just enter in the URL of the page that you want to check and you will receive a list of pages that has duplicate copy. For more detail, you can subscribe to their premium Copysentry service.

Mistake #5 – Link stuffing/farming

What is worse than not creating a link building profile is paying a website for links back to your website. These are generally known as link farms and is any group of websites that all hyperlink to every other site in the group.

To create your link profile, links back to your website must be credible, relevant and trustworthy. If Search Engines find that websites are linking back to your website to artificially increase your link profile, you may be heavily penalized and your website may be removed from the Search Engine index or drop its rankings significantly.

Some natural ways to encourage other websites to create links back to your website are to create great original content that other websites will want to link to, list your website in credible and relevant directories, participate in community forums, and create digital PR campaigns.

Mistake #6 – Forgetting about conversion

Remember SEO is not just about turning up on the first page of Search Engines or driving traffic to your website that will simply chew up your bandwidth.

It is about driving quality and better targeted traffic to your website to keyword rich landing pages whether you want your visitors to purchase your product, hire your service, book your hotel, download your software or find out more about your product and service. This all starts with the right keyword research and strategy so that you are tergetting relevant phrases and matching the intent of the search to your page content.

Mistake #7 – No ongoing SEO monitoring of your website

You may have invested a lot of time and money and even hired an SEO company to optimize your website. Your website is ranking high in Search Engines and you’re very pleased with the result. However, Search Engines change their algorithms frequently to improve Search Engine results for users and enhance the experience for users.

Search Engine Optimization requires ongoing monitoring of keywords, link building strategies, competitive analysis and adding fresh content to maintain or improve your Search Engine ranking and keeping abreast of your competitors.

In summary…

SEO is about achieving the optimum balance – there is a fine line between creating keyword rich text and keyword stuffing, between genuine link building and link spamming and, in regard to web design, a balance between design features and conversion optimisation.

Contact us to help you find that balance. Our SEO experts are trained to share their knowledge and expertise with you. Our SEO Services will help you reach your SEO goals, with the confidence and know-how to improve your Search Engine page rankings and optimise your ongoing SEO activities.