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Search engine optimization isn’t easy, especially if you aren’t tech-savvy. One thing is certain: without SEO, your website will likely be relegated to the depths of search engines. And this is the virtual equivalent of no man’s land; the majority of searchers don’t bother moving on to page two. To truly make the most out of your web presence, you’ll need to cooperate with Google’s rules and work hard to put your business on the digital map.

Many webmasters know what SEO can do for you, but don’t know exactly how to get there or what to expect. When it comes to improving your ranking, there are several common mistakes that new businesses make. But with the right warning, you can avoid wasting money, time, and getting hit by Google penalties. Here are a few mistakes that you should avoid:

 

Stuffing Keywords

When business owners have the keywords they need, one of the most common business mistakes they make is thinking they can just pad content with keywords and it’ll rank. This will only hurt your overall strategy. In fact, the opposite will happen. Google’s algorithms are very smart, and they recognize when something spammy is happening.

 

If you think Google won’t understand your content unless you apply as many keywords as possible, think again. The search engine giant has a proprietary search called Latent Semantic Indexing. This semantic rule is a mathematical method that aids the page crawling process and searches for synonyms and other clues to gather the most accurate information about what’s happening. For example, if your page was called “Woman’s 70s Halloween Outfits,” it would expect to find other relevant clues, like “bellbottoms,” “afros,” “hippie,” “flowers,” and “peace.”

 

Expecting Results Overnight

One of the worst things you can do is to expect results from your SEO campaign overnight. Many business owners make the mistake of falling for sweet promises from marketing firms. Tyler Mandroian, the CEO at an SEO agency based out of Denver, says determining how long a campaign will take before you see results isn’t as easy as you think.

 

“Unfortunately, there’s no clear cut answer, as it depends heavily on the strategy, and the level of competition you’re up against,” says Malley. “However, you should start seeing results within a couple of months, but don’t be surprised if it takes a bit longer. It is worth noting though, that the progress you see in the early stages should pale in comparison to the results you see at the end of the first year.”

 

One study found that the average SEO campaign took anywhere between 4-12 months to see results. Instead of rushing and paying premium prices for a non-existent fast-track that might involve black-hat SEO tactics,  the key is to remain patient and trust the process. The long-term benefits of investing into your SEO will be well worth the wait.

 

Publishing Content That Isn’t Original

With the push and continuous updates of Panda (Google’s way of patrolling quality content), you can forget about publishing content that isn’t original simply to get better rankings quicker. This includes plagiarized content, “shallow” content, and content that’s pushed via article spinning software.

 

Article spinning is a grey hat technique that allows individuals to create multiple versions of articles automatically, thereby evading Google’s hunt for duplicate content. While this used to be a more popular practice a few years ago, Google has cracked down. They expect all webmasters to publish original content that’s valuable to their website visitors, and they certainly don’t like being tricked while other webmasters work hard to get to the top spots.

 

Ignoring Local Search

Local search can do an immense amount for your business, especially if you own a physical location. Through local SEO, you can better reach nearby customers who are actively seeking a service or product as soon as possible. One comScore study found that 76% of consumers who searched locally made a purchase within a few hours. Local search is feasible through the use of citations and various directory placements that make finding your business much easier. Google takes citations very seriously, and the more your citations are in order, the higher you’ll appear in local search results.

 

Choosing The Wrong Keywords

Proper keyword research can make or break your entire SEO strategy. Without the right keywords, you won’t be able to attract customers that intend to make a purchase. Use keyword research tools to help you pinpoint the best phrases for your website. Keep your keywords organized in an Excel sheet or other document for further review and reference (you’ll constantly be coming back to this area as your business grows). If you put the time and effort into keyword research, the benefits will be tenfold: these keywords can also assist with your content marketing, PPC, social media, and can even help you flesh out your buyer personas.

 

Not Focusing on Display Advertising
Many new companies don’t narrow down their target market, don’t focus on their message and more importantly, figure out exactly how to deliver that message to the right audience. Display Advertising is a very effective strategy to increase marketing conversion. The efficient part about this type of advertising is that it allows you to choose how you would like to deliver a message to a specific audience. For example, if your audience is a younger crowd that doesn’t like to read, you can use a short video clip.

 

It’s important to do your homework before you start an SEO campaign. Small mistakes and errors in judgement makes companies lose out on opportunity cost and time and resources to undo the damage.

There are a variety of tools to help educate yourself before you even bring on a SEO company. Learning the right questions to ask are absolutely imperative before hiring an SEO firm.

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