There are a number of methods and approaches you can take to help boost the online visibility of your website. Webmasters, bloggers, and others continue to argue about the methods that are most effective, but we believe that SEO is one of the most important. No matter what your overall approach to creating visibility for your website is, you’ll need a solid SEO approach to aid in the success of those methods. Unfortunately, we see far too many webmasters make critical mistakes with their SEO tactics.

There are a number of errors that webmasters make when it comes to their SEO tactics. Sometimes, these missteps are the result of poor implementation. Other times, errors are the result of changes made by Google that are not adopted by webmasters. In this post, we’ll discuss the top five SEO mistakes made by webmasters, and offer you some helpful hints on how to avoid them.

#1: Lacking a Domain Name/Website that Google Cannot Crawl

This seems like common sense, yet according to Google’s Matt Cutts (the company’s SEO and search mastermind) this is the most common SEO mistake that webmasters make. If your website lacks a domain name, you are giving Google’s search tools nothing to crawl through. When there is nothing to crawl through, there is no way to rank your page. More importantly, too many webmasters fail to create a website that is easily crawled by Google’s spiders.

According to Cutts, you can avoid this issue by taking the time to click through your own website. Click on your navigation links to ensure they take you (and thus visitors) to various pages throughout your site. It is also important to check and see that your content is easy to find and not hidden away somewhere.

#2: Using the Wrong Keywords

If your website isn’t using the keywords that people are entering into search engines, your SEO efforts are more or less wasted. There are various tools available online to help you analyze the keywords related to your product and/or industry that are commonly searched. Use those tools to find the keywords actually used by searchers and then integrate those terms and phrases into your content.

As an example, Cutts points out that very few people actually search “Mount Everest elevation.” Instead, most people will search for terms and phrases such as “How high is Mt. Everest?” The differences can be small, but they can have a massive impact on the visibility of your site.

#3: Create Compelling Content

The people at Google believe it, marketers believe it, and we believe it. Content is king today. If you aren’t creating compelling content and marketing it to people, then why would they visit your website or show interest in your products and services? You need to focus your SEO efforts on integrating proper keywords into content that is unique, fresh, and compelling.

Your content needs to be unique to your website, not just copy-and-paste materials from a competitor or manufacturer website. When it comes to addressing this problem, Cutts offers the following advice:

  • Create content that is compelling by focusing on the factors that generate interest in your products and services among consumers.
  • Look past link building: As a webmaster, you should focus more on creating this compelling content and spend less time building back links to other sites.
  • Improve marketing: Content may be king, but without smart marketing to garner attention, that content is useless. Think about the steps you can take to generate interest for your products and services in your community. This can include social media, mailers, billboards, and newspaper ads. You need to be willing to reach out and create awareness in the community.

#4: Ignoring Titles and Descriptions

When consumers are conducting online searches for products and services, they aren’t going to find your website if you don’t have proper titles and descriptions attached to your site and its pages. Page titles, page descriptions, and product descriptions are critical in improving the visibility of your website. Just like the other content on your site, Google’s spiders crawl through this content to judge the viability of your site and rank it accordingly in its search results.

Avoiding these problems is possible with a few tweaks to your SEO tactics. Consider the following steps:

  • Make your home page title accurate. If your title doesn’t accurately reflect your overall site and product/service, people won’t find it when they conduct a search.
  • Create unique descriptions: When consumers search for your business website, Google and other search engines provide them with a brief snippet describing your company, services, and/or products. If you want to land higher on search results you’ll need accurate descriptions that draw people in. These descriptions should be clear and concise.
  • Answer their concerns: Consumer search for products and services online because they need an answer. Write a compelling description that answers the question that drove consumers to search for products/services related to your business.

#5: Segmented Approaches

Last but not least, you need to ensure that your SEO approach is not segmented. Far too many webmasters set SEO goals without taking the time to generate an approach that is applicable across your entire company. SEO tactics need to benefit all departments in your company and integrate easily across the company. For example, when you’re optimizing the content on your product description pages, the same SEO tactic used there need to apply to a new video to be sure it is easily found as well.

Google Suggestions

Google is always open to helping webmasters improve their SEO tactics to propel them toward success. We cannot conclude this post without pointing out the fact that Google offers you a number of tools to help fine tune your SEO efforts to ensure your website is visible. Tools such as the Webmaster Forum and Blog from Google offer you regular updates on SEO trends and mistakes to avoid. Meanwhile, Webmaster Videos provide detailed walkthroughs that can help you stay ahead of trends and easily figure out how to retool your approach over time.

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