Several years ago, the Internet wasn’t really used as a means of promoting businesses. These days, however, almost every business owner does Internet marketing in one way or another. In fact, over 500 websites are created every minute! The stiff competition in terms of online marketing has compelled businesses to double their efforts in providing an excellent experience to their online audience while also making sure their content is being indexed by search engines. A smart business owner knows that a website cannot serve its true purpose unless it is properly optimized.
There are many factors that can affect your website’s performance where optimization is concerned, but three of these factors are especially important not only because they are crucial to successful on-site SEO, but also because many business owners fall into common pitfalls concerning these three factors. Falling into these pitfalls causes you to lose good search rankings and website traffic, which consequently causes you to lose opportunities for increasing sales. This is why you need to learn more about keywords, content, and calls-to-action, and how to avoid the common pitfalls concerning these three SEO factors.
Keywords are essential to SEO, and one of the common mistakes people make when they optimize their websites is to optimize for the wrong keywords. Do not fall into the trap of targeting keywords simply because you think those are important words, not because you’ve collected data that points to those words as having strong potential for driving traffic. Note that when you target the wrong keywords, either of these will likely happen:
- Your chosen keywords will drive traffic, but not really the kind of traffic you were aiming for, which means you still may not get the conversion rate you expect, despite a significant increase in web traffic.
- Your keywords will successfully attract the kind of traffic you want, but only in limited amounts, which means your competitors are likely to get the bulk of qualified traffic and consequently, better conversion rates.
These two results are definitely things you’d want to avoid. You can do so by taking the following into serious consideration when doing keyword research:
1. Search Volume
Never assume that a keyword is popular. Rather, you should get your SEO team to do extensive keyword research before creating any content. Your choice of keywords should depend on data gathered during keyword research. To be specific, you should focus on keywords that are being used by many search engine users, but not too many of your competitors.
2. User Intent
You need to gain a better understanding of user intent in order to identify more relevant keywords and earn more qualified traffic. For example, if you optimize for the keyword “running shoes,” you’ll rank for any search that has to do with running shoes. That’s fine if you sell all sorts of running shoes. However, if you’re targeting fashionable women who take up running for fitness or sporting purposes, then “stylish running shoes for women” may be a better keyword to optimize for.
3. Long tail Keywords
These days, it is generally a good idea to focus on long tail keywords, as they are often more specific and more relevant, as shown in the example used for user intent. Even if they result in less traffic than a one- or two-word keyword, they usually lead to higher conversion rates, which means a higher percentage of sales.
You should also be careful not to overdo things where keywords are concerned. For example, you may identify a thousand ideal keywords, but that doesn’t mean you have to optimize for all of them. It is generally wiser to pick a handful of those keywords and then focus your SEO campaign on them. Remember as well to distribute your keywords evenly throughout your website; this works better than putting all your keywords on every single page of your site. And remember to do keyword research on a regular basis. Language changes, and so does the popularity of search terms. You’ll want to make sure the keywords you use are always fresh.
Now that you know how important it is to identify the right keywords, you should be ready to learn the value of properly aligning your chosen keywords with your content. If your content and keywords aren’t properly aligned with each other, Google will likely give you very low rankings or ignore you completely. And even if you’re lucky enough to land on the first three pages of Google’s search results, any user who clicks through to your page will most likely leave within seconds of seeing that the page doesn’t contain the information he/she is looking for.
Here are a few useful tips for optimizing web content:
Keywords identified as high-priority should be used in pages that are also positioned high in the hierarchy of your website. Several of the other pages on your site should also link to the pages with high-priority keywords. This tells Google and other search engines that those are the most important pages on your site. When a user types in the keywords on those pages during an online search, Google is bound to consider those pages highly relevant to the search and possibly give you high ranking for it.
2. Write with Authority
With the recent algorithmic updates they implemented, Google has gotten better at recognizing high-quality content and is expected to get even better at it in the future. And one of the things that make a piece of content valuable and brands it as being of high quality is the level of authority it projects. Make sure your content has enough details to drive across the message that you know exactly what you’re talking about. It has to be original, engaging, and credible. This is why it is important to let only professionals handle content creation for your business. Remember, inexperience shows.
3. Apply Best Practices
The SEO of today isn’t as structured as the time when you had to mention keywords a certain number of times, depending on the length of your content. In fact, it’s now okay to mention your keyword just once in the body of the content. However, you do have to include your keywords in your page titles and Meta tags. You also need to be careful of unintentionally having duplicate content. Use Noindex, Nofollow, and/or rel=canonical tags to tell Google not to index duplicate pages.
It is also advisable to treat web content as a living organism; you need to constantly nourish it and care for it. You need to have a content calendar so you can keep your content fresh at all times. If you allow your content to stagnate, your competitors are bound to bump you off the top of search results when you least expect it.
Bear in mind that the ultimate goal of your SEO efforts isn’t to gain more traffic. Rather, it is to generate revenue. Your business isn’t going to grow if all you did was get more people to visit your website! You need to get them to appreciate your products/services enough to avail of them. This is why you need to have strong calls-to-action. Here are some tips on how to create effective calls-to-action:
1. Consider each stage in the buying cycle.
Not everyone who visits a website is ready to make a purchase. There are those who are those who are still seeking more information that will help them reach a purchase decision. You need to have calls-to-action that appeal to this type of visitor. You could, for example, encourage the visitor to download a PDF where your products/services are described in detail.
It is also a good idea to have calls-to-action for those who wish to speak with a sales representative; having a live chat option and encouraging visitors to use it would be a great idea. Making sure your calls-to-action appeal to all types of visitors definitely helps improve your conversion rates.
2. Broaden your scope.
A 10% discount on a customer’s next purchase is generally deemed more appealing than a 15% discount on a specific product. People typically want the freedom to choose what they’ll spend their money on, so a discount that’s applicable to any purchase will always be more attractive than a discount for a particular purchase, even if the latter has bigger value. Remember that your goal is to get more people to buy stuff from you; not to get some people to buy more of a particular stuff.
3. Track your conversions.
Set up a system that can accurately track where your conversions are coming from. This lets you know which of your calls-to-action generate the most leads and helps you adjust your SEO campaign accordingly. Monitoring is important in all aspects of SEO, and that includes your calls-to-action.
Any of the common pitfalls in these three components of SEO can lead to lower search rankings and ultimately to poor performance in online marketing. Do not let any of these mistakes hold you back.