The seven deadly sins could sound a bit over dramatic but when you think about the challenges a small business faces, one of these sins could be the death of first page rankings. Even scarier is the amount of information or misinformation that is available on the internet. Following the wrong advice can cause you to commit one of these sins, knowingly or unknowingly! So pay attention and make sure you don’t commit one of these SEO sins.
LUST – Lusting for Likes
When it comes to social media, there is the innate tendency to chase likes and focus on getting more likes for your business or personal page. Focusing only on likes will not tell you if you are improving your online visibility or increasing your revenue. Your first step should be to determine your goals for social media, and what actions will help grow your brand or business. Instead of tracking the number of likes on your social posts, you should measure website engagement and other metrics that lead to customer acquisition, sales, and revenue.
Don’t spend all your time chasing the goal that something will go viral, be authentic, engage with your clients and your audience!
GLUTTONY – Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is the practice of trying to over optimize a page to manipulate the site’s search engine rankings for a keyword or search term. Keyword stuffing is when terms appear frequently or unnecessarily in the text, in a list, or throughout the content and meta details of the page. Doing this excessively can result in a negative user experience and can actually harm your site’s rankings known as the “Google Over Optimization Penalty”. Instead of keyword stuffing, create content that is relevant, useful and content-rich, that uses your keywords in context and only as needed.
GREED – Revenue Focused
This would seem to make sense, focusing on the bottom line is what business owners are supposed to do, however if you are only looking at the end of the customer journey you will miss all the other opportunities that are available. The online sales process can be long and complicated as it follows the customer journey. Consider those potential clients who are at the beginning of the sales cycle and not yet ready to sign on the dotted line. Don’t bombard potential clients with popups, reminders, forced signups or chase them with remarketing; make their experience a good one, make them want to come back and buy from you again.
SLOTH – Complacency
SEO isn’t a fix it and forget it practice, in order to keep a website at the top of search engine results and attract the right customers, your SEO needs to be updated regularly. Websites and social media also have to be maintained and monitored to make sure they are up-to-date with best practices, and to ensure it is apparent to all users that your content is current. There is nothing more worrisome than a site that still has a 5-year-old date on it! Consider how visitors know if they are looking at an active business website: Are the prices right? Are the hours correct?
Then there is the ever-changing digital landscape, the rules change, the competition changes, the technology changes. When it comes to SEO and social media, the most important consideration is the constantly changing algorithms. Does your website meet current best practices? Have you adjusted your site for Google’s updated requirements for page speed and mobile-friendly design? Have you thought about how voice search may affect your business?
Your online competition is also ever-changing; although a new local competitor may not stack up against you off-line, they may do a better job reaching your existing or potential clients online. While you may have been the neighbourhood go-to location for years, a new businesses can arrive and push hard on social media and digital advertising, causing your business get lost or forgotten about.
This is why we manage many of our clients on an ongoing basis. The only way to stay current and relevant in the digital world is to maintain and update your website regularly.
WRATH – Aggressive Competitor Targeting
Although it is important to be aware of competitors and monitor their success (or failures), it is also important not to resort to aggressive tactics. There is often that temptation to leave negative reviews for your competitors. In our experience, this doesn’t work and will often backfire. Most people can easily identify a fake review, and if they can source it back to you it will have a negative impact on your business. Another frequent aggressive tactic is bidding on your competitors branded terms in AdWords, this can be a costly mistake if not done strategically. Rather than take out your wrath on your competitors, focus on your business and what you can do to improve your online visibility, focusing on what you have to offer and how good you are. Spend your energy getting reviews for the good work and look at what you can do to keep your clients happy.
We recently had a client that received a negative review, and so did 3 out of their 4 local competitors, this quickly demonstrated who the guilty party was. More importantly, our client then reached out to all of their loyal clients and quickly increased not only their overall rating but the number of positive reviews and their overall score.
ENVY – Rank Envy
As a small, medium or large business it is tempting to constantly look at first place in organic rankings and see who is there. Frequently clients will focus on a single term and evaluate their place in the search engine rankings to see how well they are doing, fearing when they aren’t in the first place. There is actually nothing wrong with this, however it is essential to be realistic about what search queries your business should rank for. What keywords do you deserve to be in first place for? It is not realistic to chase the first ranking in organic results for a term that a national chain ranks for. For example, it is unlikely you will outrank large book retailers like Indigo or Amazon for the term “books”, but you can rank for “independent book seller” or “local bookstore” and these are the clients you want as they are more likely to become loyal customers.
PRIDE – Vanity Metrics
Vanity metrics are simple indicators, such as downloads, pageviews or registered users. Sadly these are easily manipulated and do not line up with the numbers that really matter. You can absolutely look at how many million page views you have and tell everyone about it – BUT did it lead to any sales? Were they empty visits? Or even worse were they looking for your competitor? You need to look at the important metrics like sessions and page views to understand engagement and ultimately ROI. To truly be successful you need to focus on the actionable metrics, look at the numbers that can give you valuable information that you can use to improve your marketing or conversion process.
Stay tuned as we dig a little deeper into each of these SEO sins in upcoming blogs or if you are “Guilty” contact us – don’t worry, we won’t judge we are here to help using Strategy not Sins!