If SEO had existed in Shakespeare’s day, the playwright might have written, “The fault, dear colleague, is not in our stars, but in the poor optimization of our website.”
A poorly optimized website cannot fulfill its purpose. Many factors go into onsite optimization, but three elements stand out as not only crucial, but also frequently harmed or completely overlooked.
Let’s take a look at each of them and discuss how you can give them their due and dramatically increase your SEO performance.
1. Keyword pitfalls
Keywords should be made of tougher things.
Keyword research boosts SEO. If a business is optimizing for the wrong keywords, two bad things happen:
- The SEO campaign attracts traffic, but not qualified traffic.
- The SEO campaign attracts qualified traffic, but only on the sidelines, handing out the bulk of the traffic and the juiciest leads to competitors.
Prevent these results by doing keyword research properly and thoroughly. Here are some important factors to consider:
- Search volume. Which relevant search terms are the most popular? Many companies make the mistake of assuming that a particular term is popular. They put all their effort into being number one for a term that few people care about – a huge waste of SEO resources.
- Intention. Without considering a search engine user’s intent, you will attract too much unqualified traffic. For example, “credit card fees” may be a popular term, but users may be looking for a credit card or information on how to reduce debt or calculate fees. On the other hand, the “best credit card to use” is more likely to be searched for by someone looking to get a new credit card.
- Long tail terms. Often, the best SEO strategy is to focus on long-tail terms, meaning very specific, relevant search terms with high buying intent. For example, there may be several terms like “buy a new credit card in phoenix arizona” that would produce relatively little traffic but a high percentage of sales.
- Don’t overdo it. A business may be able to identify thousands of keywords to optimize, but do they have enough SEO budget to handle this workload? A smart keyword strategy only tackles enough keywords to be supported by a robust, multifaceted onsite and offsite campaign. Trying to be master of all keyword phrases will not make you master of any.
- Don’t do it just once. Keyword research should be updated periodically: search terms fall out of favor as the language changes, a company introduces new products and services, etc. Perfectly executed keyword research from 2010 is likely to be flawed now.
2. Content pitfalls
If content is SEO food, write on it.
Once you’ve identified strategic SEO keywords, they should align with your website content, a task easier said than done. If content doesn’t align well with keywords, as it often does…
- Google will ignore your content or give it a low priority.
- People will click on your link in Google’s organic results, but they’ll see that the content is wrong…and leave.
Cover the following basics when optimizing website content:
- To prioritize. High priority keywords, i.e. those in your sales wheelhouse, should have dedicated pages placed high in your website hierarchy and linked most often from other pages on your site. This tells Google that these dedicated pages are important and your strengths; Google will deem them important to people searching for those keywords and will rank your content accordingly.
- Write with authority. Google is getting better every day in recognizing and rewarding high-quality content. As defined by Google and humans, valuable content is useful, informative, better than other content on the same topic, credible, original, and engaging. If a company takes a hands-off approach to copying, handing content over to inexperienced outside writers, it may be lacking in each of these areas.
- Follow SEO best practices. Gone are the days when you had to mention exact keyword phrases a specific number of times with a certain frequency. It is important, however, to put keywords in page titles and subtitles whenever possible. Title tags also remain important for SEO, so they should include the most important keywords for the page.
3. The pitfalls of conversion
O customers, customers! Why are you customers?
The goal of SEO is not to generate traffic but rather to generate leads and e-commerce revenue. An SEO campaign can generate all the traffic in the world, but if none of the visitors become customers, the campaign has failed.
Your website pages should have strong call-to-actions that make it easy for search engine traffic to take the next step in the business relationship. Without it, your SEO spend is wasted. Here are some tips for creating effective calls to action:
- Make it wide enough. An e-commerce website will generate wider interest by offering 10% off the next order than by offering 15% off the next order of a particular product, especially if that product is infrequently ordered or extremely specialized. At this point, it’s not about what you want to sell; it’s about what the most potential customers want to buy.
- Attract users at different stages of the buying cycle. A ready-to-buy website visitor may wish to speak to a sales representative. However, a visitor in search mode may prefer to download a PDF describing your products in more detail. By providing calls to action that appeal to both, you increase the number of visitors entering your sales funnel.
- Follow him ! Your website should be set up to accurately track sources of conversions; otherwise, you won’t know which search engines are generating the most leads, and you won’t be able to continuously improve your SEO campaign. Failing to follow phone leads, which for many companies are much more promising than web leads, is a common problem. An even more common problem is failing to validate leads, separating them from other types of conversions. An infographic made by our team explains validation at a glance (see below).
To be visible to organic search, or not to be visible to organic search, that is the question. I hope this article has provided some answers.