There is a lot to think about when writing content for your website, whether it be for a landing page or a blog post like this one. Not only do you need to create content that is relevant and engaging for your audience, you also have SEO to consider, and all this together can feel like spinning plates.
Great use of SEO is a sure-fire way of attracting a bigger audience to your site, but there are many mistakes you can make with SEO that can actually be detrimental to your website. We will look at some of the more common SEO mistakes and how to fix them.
Local SEO is the process of optimising your entire online presence to stand out to people looking for goods and services in your local area. If done correctly, this can help drive more customers to your business. It can be one of the most potent marketing tools in your arsenal – and can even allow your business to outrank much bigger brands in the search engine result pages!
With that in mind – how do you go about mastering local SEO so your online presence helps your business grow? Read on to find out!
What is SEO and why is it important?
You may already be aware but SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’, and basically, it’s a term for attempting to force your way up the ranks and increase your visibility on search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. The more you show up on these search engines, the more likely it is that people will find and visit your page. People clicking on your website is only half the battle however, as once they are there, it’s down to you to make sure your site is attractive and engaging enough for them, that they want to buy whatever it is you may be selling.
As you are reading this blog, we assume you know the very basics of SEO, so we will move onto some of the more common SEO mistakes you can make and how you should rectify them.
Common SEO mistakes
There is no real set number of keywords you should use in a blog, as you never quite know what Google’s algorithm is looking for, but it would be good practice to use a keyword only a handful of times on a page. If your business makes and sells ice cream in Sheffield for example, you may be focussing on a keyword such as ‘handmade ice cream in Sheffield’, and you should try and write that keyword 3, 4 or 5 times on the page without it looking obvious you are just throwing it in there and it standing out, as it should flow nicely with the rest of the content. A long time ago Google would have liked it if you completely filled the page with keywords, it still would have ranked highly. Some of these highly ranked pages back in the day would be nonsensical, and filled with a crazy number of multiple keywords. Nowadays however, Google’s algorithm has improved, and it would see this as ‘keyword stuffing’ and your page would be penalised by Google.
For this blog, one of the keywords I focused on was ‘common SEO mistakes’ and I have used it 5 times on this page, including cleverly sneaking one into this sentence.
Take a look at the content on your website and blogs and see if you can trim down some of the keywords. On the opposite side of this, maybe you don’t have enough keywords, if that’s the case you should be rewriting some of this and including a few.
Not using relevant keywords
It may be that you have used a perfect number of keywords and your page is ranking highly on Google for the term ‘handmade ice cream in Sheffield’, but if your business is selling used ice cream vans, then you are going to attract the wrong audience. There will be plenty of people that are looking for ice cream finding your site, but they will be leaving it after a few seconds when they realise your site is not relevant to them. Make sure the keywords you are focussing on is attracting the right people.
Optimising your website for mobile use
It is highly likely that you created your website on a desktop computer or a laptop, and maybe your website looks amazing, its all singing and dancing and the content is brilliant, but if someone finds your website on their mobile phone (which is much more likely nowadays) it could look terrible if you have not optimised your website for mobile use. The content and text may not be formatted properly, images could be in the wrong place etc, it’s a mistake I’ve made myself. This mistake could cause many of your site visitors to leave straight away, Google’s bots will see this and it will affect your SEO negatively.
Never updating your website
This is a simple one. Many people will create their website, feel happy with it, and then leave it untouched for years. Search engines love to see a website that is active and being updated, so its always best practice to check the content of the website, see if there is anything you can edit, and keep those blogs coming.
Too many headers
We know you want your website to stand out, but if you don’t have enough text to match the number of headers on your website it could negatively affect your SEO ranking. This one is obviously an easy fix, just make sure that for each header you use, you have a good body of text underneath it. The headers are also a great way to implement keywords.
Use landing pages
Landing pages are a great way to target specific customers, for example if your business sells van insurance, rather than just have one page titled ‘van insurance’, you could have multiple landing pages on your website such as;
- Van insurance for builders
- Van insurance for plumbers
- Van insurance for gardeners etc.
All of the above are the same product but having multiple pages allows you to focus on different keywords. This gives Google and other search engines the opportunity to understand your website a little more, as well as potentially attracting customers who are searching more specific keywords.
These landing pages can also work well with PPC advertising as your keywords can match more closely to the linked page.
Create a sitemap
You don’t necessarily need a sitemap on your website but it can definitely help your SEO efforts, as they help search engines find and understand your site much quicker. It can also inform the search engine which of your pages are the most important to your website, which helps your preferable pages show up on searches rather than the ones which would be less use to you.
You can either create an XML sitemap, or a HTML sitemap, with the former being the most effective for search engines and therefore your SEO ranking.
If you are unsure how to create a sitemap there are plenty of resources online to help you with this.
Metatags are not always visible on your website (although they may be displayed on search engines) but they are seen by the likes of Google, and it will help them understand your website in greater detail, which of course can only help your SEO ranking. There are various types of metadata you can include on your website, and we will show you some of the more commonly used.
The image seen below is what appears on Google when you search for Zync Tech. The title tag is the heading that appears under the logo, and the meta description is the small paragraph that appears below the title. Not only do these two things help the customer understand you, they also help Google understand you, which can only be a good thing for SEO.
Alt text, is text you can put ‘behind’ any images on your site. Alt text can help users with visual impairments understand your images with the use of a screen reader, of course it also helps search engines understand what your image is and it only helps if your image is clearly relevant to your website. You may be tempted to stuff keywords into your alt text but we advise you only do this if it makes sense, as you don’t want to alienate any visitors you have that require the use of the screen reader.
The simplest meta tags you can use are headings, for example a h1 heading is clearly the title of your page, and h2 headings are likely subheadings. It is good practice while writing content for your website to think ‘how can I help Google read my website?’
If you created your site with a website builder such as WordPress or Wix then it is very easy to include metatags as there will be dedicated sections on the builder to include these. If not, you will need to code these in yourself.
Improve your SEO ranking
Overall, there is no definite way to make your website climb to the top of the search engine charts, there can be a lot of trial and error involved, such as playing around with different keywords, updating the content, or even trying to improve the load speed of your website. The likes of Google and their algorithm is always changing, and you never know for sure exactly what they are looking for, not only this but it’s extremely likely your business has competitors who are fighting to rank highly using similar keywords to you.
The best practice to try and improve your SEO ranking is to follow some of the steps we have given you, and to keep your website active and up to date.