Small businesses in particular can dominate local search if they employ good search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. However, according to Chris Rodgers, CEO and Founder of Colorado SEO Pros, there problems most small business encounter when it comes to their website copy. He shares the five most common SEO mistakes you can avoid with just a bit of awareness and planning.
Mistake #1: Waiting until after you launch a website to consider SEO
“We have seen more than a few horror stories where small business stakeholders decided to only start looking at SEO after their newly designed website was launched — only to tank all of the site’s existing rankings and traffic performance because proper SEO planning was not at the core of the website redesign and launch,” Rodgers says. Web developers, even great ones, are often not looking at all of the SEO factors that must be considered if you’re going to retain current SEO performance after launch. Rodgers says you need to consider SEO across the board when redesigning or re-launching a website. “The content created, the layout of the site, the information architecture, individual page content, all pages added and deleted, pages with URL changes — and especially 301 redirect mapping — can all have a massive impact on what happens to SEO after launch. If you don’t have an experienced SEO professional involved in the process early, you are rolling the dice. If you have any SEO equity built up, your may lose it all without a chance to regain it.”
Mistake #2: Trying to leverage SEO as a short-term business development channel
SEO does not function like any other advertising channel. It is not “pay to play” like PPC, radio, TV, print media, or other marketing outlets. Google and the search engines make the rules, and a good SEO provider will offer expertise and management. Their expertise will help you navigate a changing landscape that happens to have massive upside potential. “Don’t fool yourself: there are no real guarantees with SEO,” Rodgers warns. “Experienced SEO professionals create reliable strategies to improve rankings, traffic, and conversions; however there are over 200 variables in Google’s algorithm at play, and no human on the planet can control them all. Advertising dollars are continuing to explode in the SEO space because despite its challenges, SEO has one of the highest returns among all digital marketing channels. Just recognize that SEO is a longer-term strategy. If you are looking to make big moves in a short period of time, you may be disappointed. For that very reason, those who invest in SEO in the right way — over time — can reap massive rewards and achieve an ROI beyond any other marketing channel.”
Mistake #3: Having your web developer perform SEO
“Of course, good web developers know some SEO basics, but we have never met anyone that is a high-level expert at both web design/development and SEO,” Rodgers says. “There is just too much information to track and too many variables to consider. While web developers and SEO professionals may work in the same business, they definitely operate in separate specialties. I would compare it to the difference between a heart surgeon and an ophthalmologist: while both are technically doctors, they perform very different duties in very different ways.”
Even for the few web developers who are extremely knowledgeable at SEO, it is unlikely they will have the tools, experience, and skill set necessary to create and manage a comprehensive SEO campaign. “If your web developer is offering SEO, just understand that while they may be able to help you along the way, you cannot expect a high level of expertise and comprehensive SEO strategy — especially regarding ongoing SEO management, which is by far the hardest part,” Rodgers concludes.