Both rookies and SEO professionals that are looking to run a successful SEO campaign can easily make some basic mistakes that could end up ruining the success of an online marketing campaign. Understanding that these mistakes happen is the first and most important step when it comes to preventing, detecting and rectifying them. For the larger part, these missteps will not severely affect the long-term health of your campaign. However, a few of these mistakes carry the risk of obtaining a manual penalty and minor mistakes that are compounded together over time can suppress the growth and success of your online marketing efforts. It is in your best interests to make every effort to detect and rectify these mistakes before they get out of hand.
By studying and understanding the following areas, you can start your next SEO campaign on a more solid footing because you already understand the issues that often tend to go bring your SEO initiative down.
#1Relying Solely on the SEO Agency or Expert to do the Job
It is true that outsourcing some SEO initiatives or activities makes basic business sense. It is nearly impossible to handle all the work perfectly alone, and ordinarily, outside SEO agencies are an economical alternative to having everything done in-house. They have significantly more resources and relevant industry relationships when compared to hiring full-time employees directly.
However, delegating all the work to the SEO agency you have chosen without participating in the process could severely limit your ability to judge and guide the campaign’s success. There are no SEO experts or agencies that intimately know your industry, business, niche, audience and competition like you do. Therefore, it is in your best interests to maintain an active role in the campaign. This is done by providing meaningful and valuable insights as well as overall direction to the campaign based on the intimate knowledge you have about the business and the industry you are in.
#2Lack of an Effective Strategy for Online Content
Before some of the major search engines updated their algorithms several years ago, it was very common for small, one-page micro-sites to dominate the search engine results pages based on the power of their inbound link profiles rather than their onsite content quality. These are basically the links directed to the micro-sites from external websites and are also referred to as backlinks.
One of the far-reaching changes that took place due to the algorithm updates companies like Google implemented was the elevation of websites in search engine results that had a lot of strong, relevant and high quality content. It is now almost impossible to rank favourably for any kind of competitive keyword if your website lacks high quality, relevant content. Nowadays, major search engines have the ability to make a distinction between high-quality and low-quality content based on:
The quality and quantity of inbound links to a page
The quality and quantity of social signals that are linking to a page
Spelling and grammar on a page
The cues on text formatting on a page (italics, bold, bullet points)
Use of sub-headings
The length of the content
Outbound links from a page
When planning your strategy for online content, it is important to develop quality relevant content that is informative as it will add lasting value to your website. There are several simple ways you can achieve this. Some simple examples include:
Using infographics that break up data in new ways to offer a fresh view or perspective
Offering useful advice that is based on personal experiences and knowledge
Publishing internal data that is difficult to collect and hard to find elsewhere
#3Focusing on Quantity rather than Quality of Content
It is a well-known fact that the more content you publish on your website, the more indexed pages you get and the more potential shares and links you get. However, this is a deadly trap that many SEO rookies and experts alike often fall into when running an SEO campaign.
Do not be fooled by such simple assumptions and think that more content is the perfect answer. You should focus instead on the quality and relevancy of the content rather than simply the quantity. Only when you are sure that you are publishing the best quality content that not only appeals to the search engines but to your target audience should you start thinking about expanding your pool of content.
#4Lack of Patience
It is unfortunate that attempts to get quick SEO campaign results invariably end up in failure. Good marketing will cost money and take time to achieve the desired results. That is why you must be willing and able to invest the required time and financial resources in order to be able to make a sound decision as to whether or not a specific campaign is working successfully. An SEO campaign normally takes several months to show reliable results and that that is why it is often recommended that you give your new SEO initiatives three to four months before you start looking at the results and make changes base on what is working and what is failing.
Increased competition throughout the SEO landscape will simply not allow you to sign up one day and be ranked first the next day. Each part of the campaign needs to be executed and then audited. This includes ensuring that any site problems are corrected, that the proper research is conducted into relevant keywords and that the content and link building programs are in place and are delivering as expected. Keep in mind that you must clearly understand the timeframe needed before agreeing to any proposed strategy and signing off on it.
#5Poor funding for the Campaign
It is common to see business owners getting lured in by the so-called “low-budget” SEO service providers that promise “Guaranteed” results and then, unfortunately deliver no tangible and useful results. Most SEO service providers that purport to be low-budget often create content that is written using low quality non-native speaking writers or even use machine created content that takes pieces from several other pieces of content and moulds it together. These agencies are also prone to keyword stuffing, and low quality link building practices which can turn into a nightmare if detected by the search engine companies and penalised.
Conversely, hiring high quality writers that both understand the niche and have the ability to produce content that reads well to potential customers, ensuring that fully trained web developers work on the website and ensuring that high quality sites are interested in linking to your website by engaging them directly are expensive and time consuming parts of a quality campaign. Everybody likes to pay the least amount for any product or service but it is important to completely understand what is being offered so that you are comparing apples to apples.
Here are some of the methods or tactics you need to focus on:
Building your personal brand through blogging
Engaging in social media marketing in order to organically build the social presence of your brand
Designing and executing a sound and high-quality content strategy ensuring that your website is able to attract inbound links
#6Splitting Efforts, Time and Resources across all Social Media Channels
There are numerous social media platforms nowadays, with each one having a certain potential audience. Nonetheless, this does not mean that you should invest in any and all social media channels to promote your brand. Certain channels will have an audience that is relevant to your brand, and these offer the best path to a positive return on investment. Focus your efforts and resources on the best way to provide a better quality experience and offer something of value for your target audience or potential customers. Always keep in mind the principle whereby 80% of your success will be dependent on 20% of your tactics and hone in on what works and ensure that it is repeated.
Social media is a fleeting medium and this means that you must ensure a continuing stream of interesting and worthwhile posts that engage your audience. The time needed to get the information, offers and interesting links posted as well as answer questions and comments can be immense and getting support from an SEO provider can be the best solution. Make sure you are still involved though because you have the vital knowledge that can turn an innocuous question in to a big sale or long term client.
#7Failure to Share or Distribute the Workload
It is important to understand that online marketing is a vast and complex activity that needs to be managed by one person but can be worked on by both internal and external parts of your team. It often requires experts and professionals that are knowledgeable across several distinct disciplines in order to bear fruit and be successful and by having a partner that can provide this knowhow it makes things much simpler.
It is obvious that hiring in-house teams can be financially demanding, which is one of the major reasons why business owners opt to outsource their internet marketing functions to agencies. Having the right company that is willing to help you plan your campaign, assign areas of responsibility to people inside your organization and provide the needed external expertise is the best approach to ensuring that goals are attained and that the campaign is moving forward not getting bogged down.
Smaller businesses are much more likely to try and go it alone with the business owner or part of the sales or marketing team trying to do everything. Instead of taking an all or nothing approach it can often be better to start by engaging an SEO provider with tasks that you are having problems implementing or coming to grips with. A good high quality provider will be able to work with you and when they prove themselves you will be more comfortable assigning them more of the workload.
#8Building Links Haphazardly
One common mistake many business owners that are trying to boost rankings and attract traffic to their website make is building any and all link sources that they can easily find. Just like content, it is easy to develop a misconception that quantity is always good. While more links pointing back to your domain generally are a positive, unnatural link profiles are specifically targeted by search engines such as Google with its infamous Penguin algorithm. This can literally cause a website to disappear from search engine results creating huge problems that can be expensive and time consuming to fix.
Ultimately, your link building has to look natural, or it will not matter the number of links that you build. Large numbers of low quality links from sources not seen as relevant are the worst possible activity to focus on. Submission and directory sites make it easy for anyone to create these links at no or little cost. Be warned this is one of the major mistakes that you could make and knowing that it has no value can help you stay away from later website pain.
Although this is not supposed to be a comprehensive list, experience has shown that the reasons mentioned above are the most common mistakes made with an SEO campaign. Arming yourself with the tips in this article can really be helpful in boosting the success of your SEO campaign. Before making the big move, ask yourself:
Can I define what success is in the SEO campaign in a clear and measurable way?
Do you understand the key activities that will achieve the desired results?
Do you need to review these activities and indicators regularly?
Who is responsible for generating the desired content?
Does the SEO expert you will be working have the capacity and resources to handle the job effectively and deliver tangible results?
Best of luck everyone and please feel free to leave any comments or questions below!
Joe Ryan is the Founder & CEO of UK online marketing agency, Digital Search Group, which specialises in smart internet marketing. He is a specialist in online marketing strategy and brand building. When he’s not considering the next best online marketing strategy with his team, he enjoys travel and spending time with his family.