In terms of visibility to the searching prospects that a business would want to attract online, there is no ‘one SEO fits all plan’. Throwing every imaginable signal at a hyper-competitive search engine result target isn’t always the best course of action, nor is it always necessary. Better to build the fundamental SEO signals correctly first. Then pursue an analysis of where the business sits versus its competition in order to determine what is necessary going forward. While most will fail to execute on even the most obvious requirements, some competition is going to be there and the analysis will show how much. What follows is a list of the most common small business SEO mistakes, the cost being leads & new business captured cost-effectively. Where is your business on these?
The Most Common Small Business SEO Mistakes
1. A lack of dedication to pages that specifically detail each service offered:
Google’s algorithm identifies, then ranks pages for keywords based upon what it sees as useful subject-specific content. The key being ‘is the page worthy of human consumption?’ One page with a list of services is a mistake, it ruins any chance of competing for the qualified traffic searching for specific services.
2. A lack of a commitment to timely content:
Google’s algorithm also seeks new & timely information and so it values websites that produce it. A website that never updates its pages or that has no blog to cover timely ‘question & answer topics’ related to its services fails to support what Google is looking to recommend.
3. No geographic specifics:
Most small businesses operate in a particular area and Google believes a local business is the better answer to a local search. If a business fails to demonstrate service authority for specific geography when Google is looking for those local answers, then the business is going to be compared to a much larger less specific set of competitors. As a result, it is less likely to be visible for them. Establish locally first, then build content to conquer more (towns, counties, state) geography.
4. Incomplete NAP contact information:
A detail like ‘hours of operation’, for example, matters to Google when ranking a local web presence. Many fail to show hours with their contact information and are, at certain times, ignored in search results because of it. All primary contact information is cross-referenced against local listings, so your website needs to have things like name, address, phone (NAP), and even hours all accurate & consistent.
5. Incomplete Google My Business Tools:
Google favors certain types of content generated with its’ own free tools. Once verified and properly executed, these Google My Business tools will matter a great deal. And don’t rule out posting to the listing or adding pictures, in some business cases it can add more value than social media.
6. Inaccurate search & directory listings:
Not to say they are more visible than a content-rich website, but some search and directory listings matter! Search engines will crawl these listings as a (NAP) name, address, phone, and more information accuracy cross-reference. If those listings are consistent with the website it is a positive ranking signal. Descriptions, categorization, the keywords used, and links back to the website may all matter. When a lead ends up on its business listing- if nothing else, that business certainly wants it to be accurate and useful.
7. Sending reviews to the wrong place:
Google still dominates search: it prioritizes reviews published on a Google listing in its Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). Good reviews are hard to get so be smart and send folks to where they are going to be seen the most by far … and that is your Google listing.
8. Failure to present website page meta tags:
Search engines crawl meta tags. There’s even a description tag believed NOT to be used for competitive ranking; however and because it becomes a part of your search result, it still serves as a tactical means for enticing traffic … making it useful to your SEO.
9. Failure to leverage basic web page link opportunities & techniques:
Search engines crawl & evaluate all links, including a) to other relevant pages in the website, b) that link off the website to useful supporting information and c) that come in from other relevant websites. Do NOT fail to leverage these links! For instance, a link from a trusted search & directory listing or related industry association website.
10. Website solution choice:
Many website solutions limit fundamental tools, customer support, or worse, they trap a user’s web presence in its’ host environment. Why allow someone else to own the indexing, links, bookmarks, social likes & shares, and all the signals a website accumulates over time? A cheap or free website is likely serving someone, but it never prioritizes the average business using it. Business owners should own and control a website they can forever rely upon and grow.
11. Website Host solution choice:
The cheapest host solution is almost always shared too much; it limits bandwidth & loads too slow, and it offers minimal security. And good luck with any service that ever matters.
12. A lack of website & web presence assets management:
In this day and age, a serious business likely needs website and other web presence assets management. If assets aren’t managed in support of one another, any web presence will inevitably become a regrettable waste of time, effort, and resources.
There is no ‘one web presence SEO fits all business plan’. It’s why it is always best to start with the fundamentals, to measure placement, & competition, and then to assess whether or not those fundamentals are enough to drive leads. They just might be, so getting the fundamentals right not only saves money versus throwing it at all kinds of unnecessary signals, but it sets the benchmark for determining whether or not managing them going forward is enough. Or, if competition is such, there is a need to build.
Ask us about our affordable fundamentals-based SEO Plan and also overall digital assets management options. Let us help you get organized, drive leads and save money!