The Top 5 SEO Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

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The following post is a guest post from SEO extraordinaire, Jenny Munn. 

Search engine optimization….does the phrase conjure up a shudder when you think about it?

Love it or hate it, organic SEO is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website. However, many webmasters, marketers, and business executives are often still confused not only about what to do, but the order to do it in. This is due to:

  • The multitude of changes over the last few years

  • Not understanding core SEO fundamental activities vs “trendier” tactics

  • The prevalence of outdated advice and misinformation that stubbornly refuses to go away

  • Over thinking and over complicating, AKA “paralysis by analysis”

Based on these reasons, it’s understandable that many are overwhelmed by the concept. Fortunately, SEO doesn’t have to be so confusing or frustrating. I’ll let you in on a little secret: SEO is actually easier than it was before! It’s really just a combination of good ol’ common sense, marketing 101 principles, and avoiding distractions that can sabotage your best-laid SEO plans.

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Optimizing Your Site

Here 5 of the most common mistakes we see that derail SEO efforts:

  1. Targeting uber-competitive keywords that are out of your league

    Straight talk here – if you’re competing with the big dogs for every single word you want, then just know you’re in for a long battle. Instead of trying to bag that one perfect keyword (which doesn’t exist, by the way), focus on keywords that have a lower monthly search volume, but that will result in more targeted and qualified traffic.

  2. Failing to see the big picture

    Yes title tags are important…so are links, content, site speed, mobile optimization…each of these are individual elements that contribute to SEO. But I often see marketers get very focused and nit-picky about the individual nuances without seeing the bigger picture of how they all fit together. This is especially relevant when knowing what to be more lenient on, what to compromise on, and what to let go of altogether.

  3. Churning out content without analysis or strategy:

    Publishing content once a month, twice a week, or even three times a day? How is that working out for you? If you don’t have a plan in place to track the results of your efforts, you’re just left guessing at the end of the day. A little analytics knowledge will take you a long way to getting more leverage out of your existing activities, including getting content found.

  4. Not understanding fundamental marketing principles:

    Sometimes people get so hung up on the mysticism of SEO, they forget that it’s still marketing at its core. Specifically, knowing your target market inside and out. Don’t just check off the box for incorporating keywords into your content and think that you are done. Remember to write with persuasion and take into account things like the pain points of your target market and the buyer’s journey as you are crafting your content.

    5. Not putting first things:

    First things first means focusing on foundational SEO elements instead of bright shiny objects. That means 1) identifying, mapping and using practical keywords 2) making sure the technical side of your site is as optimal as possible for search engine spiders 3) having useful, substantial, engaging content on your site 4) maintaining good site architecture 5) investing in an updated design and 5) understanding who your SEO competitors are. Once you have these items in place you can turn to trendier SEO initiatives like structured markup, purposeful link building and content strategy.

While this is not an exhaustive, nor tactical, overview of the many mistakes out there, these are the ones I see being made most frequently. SEO is a process that does take time, patience and persistence – but is really not as hard as it’s made out to be.

  Jenny Munn is an SEO Consultant who specializes in creating strategies and training marketers how to execute SEO successfully. She’s passionate about her field, and believes organic search engine optimization is a no-brainer for organization who want to reduce costs, increase the number of qualified website leads, and bring more value to their organization. Find out more at jennymunn.com or visit her SEO consulting blog at jennymunn.com/blog.