I’m not an SEO expert. Lucky for me, my partners in crime over at Outspoken Media are. But even though I’m not an expert, that doesn’t mean I’m not careful to pay close attention to SEO best practices when creating and publishing content. Paying mind to search engine optimization ensures that I’m giving the search engines all the clues they need to determine what my content is about, while also giving customers what they need to know, as well. And if someone as non-technical as I can do it, then you savvy SMB owners can do it too.
Below you’ll find 6 common SMB SEO mistakes and how to very easily fix them.
Mistake: Using duplicate Title tags
Your Title tag is the hyperlinked text a user will click on when your site comes up in their search results. And when they click on your link and go to your page, it’s the Title tag that sits at the top of their browser acting as a headline for your page. Both these facts should tell you that crafting a good one is really important. So why are you ignoring it? Spend time writing unique Title tags for every page on your site. The goal of your Title tag is to tell visitors what the page is about, while also making it compelling enough that they’ll want to click through. For example, don’t make the Title tag for your site’s home page [home]. This doesn’t tell anyone what that page is about, nor would it entice anyone to click on it. Instead, use something like [Business Name + Keyword].
Mistake: Having no content
Your Web site needs content. The search engines need something to rank and you need a way to show authority with users and answer their questions. You want to write at least one page of content for every product or service that you offer. I know it’s a lot of work, but this is your business. If you have a retail Web site, don’t just copy the 3-line manufacturer description because everyone is using that description. Write your own. Write a real About page, write a company history page, have a page on all of your employees, etc. Create video content showing people using your product, create a video about how users can hack your product to be better, create a video giving customers a tour of your headquarters. Let them submit their own videos. Write text to go with the videos. Start a blog. Create a podcast. Include text with your images. Use Google’s Keyword Tool or Wordtracker’s Keyword Questions Tool to see what people are asking about in your niche. There are so many ways to get content on your site, take advantage of them. A site with no content is a wasted opportunity.
Mistake: Keyword-less URLs
Don’t STUFF them, but whenever possible you should be trying to get keywords into your URLs to help with your site’s search engine optimization. If you’re using WordPress, I recommend going in and tweaking your settings to better accomplish this. You can do that by going to Settings > Permalinks and selecting the radio button marked Custom Structure. Once you’re there you can decide if you want your URLs to end with /post-name/ or /category/post-name/. Depending on which you prefer, you’ll want to paste in one of the following pieces of code:
And that’s it. Now you’ll be able to very easily alter your URLs to make them as keyword-rich and search engine-friendly as you can.
Mistake: Poor internal linking
We talk a lot about the power of links in SEO. You want people to link to you with keyword-rich anchor text as a way of telling the search engines that you are relevant to those terms. Well, then why aren’t you linking to yourself the same way? When you’re linking between pages on your site, make sure you’re using preferred anchor text to give yourself a boost in the search engines and give users a keyword-rich path to follow. You may not be able to control how other people link to you, but you can control how you link within your own site. Make it count.
Mistake: Using photos instead of text
I see this one a lot with small businesses. Mary owns a bakery on Main Street. The home page of her site is nothing more than a .jpg of her storefront with a link to the food menu. When you click on the Menu link to see what sounds good, you’re shown a scanned PDF version of the menu. This may be usable from a customer standpoint (and even that’s arguable), however, it’s useless from a search standpoint. The search engines can’t see or read your images. To them, Mary’s home page is blank and the menu doesn’t exist. If you want to appear in the search engines, you have to give the robots something to use to rank your site. And that means content. Whenever you’re using a photo, make sure there is also text to accompany it. And don’t rely on photos when words will do.
Mistake: Not using Alt tags with images
Related to the item above, spiders can’t see or read images. To help them get an idea of what the image is about, you need to include alt text that describes the image on the page. If you can, write the alt text to include a relevant keyword to again get that added boost. Again, it’s one of those small, little things that has a real impact.
Those are a few easy ways that you can quickly boost the SEO power of your content. They may seem like little things, but together, they pack a mighty powerful SEO punch.