Marketing cannot be called easy for any type of business, especially when it comes to small enterprises. There is a wealth of information online for small business owners and managers. But the amount of information can be daunting to absorb and put into practice, leading to business mistakes in SEO.
As with SEO, many old and outdated practices are directed at small business owners daily, but these practices can have unintended consequences. This article will become a guide for businesses of any size, especially startups and small ones, to avoid common misconceptions and bad practices.
While a good part of SEO is trial and error, you can save some time and angst by avoiding these classic mistakes that small businesses often make.
1. Focusing only on SEO without having a content strategy.
Too many businesses focus on SEO without having content strategies, which means that any traffic they generate doesn’t produce business results. A business must have a content strategy to guide visitors through the site once they arrive and convert them into leads and buyers. This does not mean that every website should be filled with a random assortment of information and educational resources on every page. The content should help buyers get inspired, educated, and satisfy their needs, not just provide the commercial offer.
2. Trying black hat SEO techniques to game the system.
SEO can be an intimidating prospect for any business but feels especially hard for small ones. Many business owners have been burned by outsourced “SEO specialists,” where time and money can be invested for months with no visible results, and successes were difficult to measure. Understandably, some businesses try to find a shortcut, but SEO shortcuts are the problem.
Black hat SEO techniques can result in more work for you in the long run, and worse, in some cases, could result in penalties or blacklisting of a website from Google. Links bought cheaply from spam websites will catch the attention of search engines sooner or later, and you will have to remove them or risk getting a severe penalty that will be difficult to recover from.
3. Expecting to be #1 for a keyword list
Many SEO professionals will tell you that they can rank for the term you want, but some keyword lists will be more difficult than others. For example, if you run a writing company and aim at getting first position by keyword combinations like “essay writer free” and similar ones, you must be ready to work hard and long for it. Well-established websites with high domain authority, such as Wikipedia, have taken years and thousands of pages of unique content to get their search rankings up against the stiff competition.
Business owners and managers should not be lulled into magical promises of instant success. Like all sales and marketing efforts, SEO work requires a significant investment of time, resources, and energy. It is essential to plan for this investment and create diverse channels for lead and customer acquisition, as SEO takes time. It is important to develop a marketing plan that prioritizes a buyer’s buying process and considers the needs of a company’s ideal buyer profile.
4. Not understanding personalized SEO search engine results
Personalized search has changed the game for both SEO and user experience. All major SEO search engines are now optimizing the user experience by delivering results that are influenced by the individual searcher, such as:
- Search History
- Social media presence
- Profile data
5. Using integrated Google products, such as Calendar or Gmail.
Personalization has been a double-edged sword for SEO professionals due to the inevitable privacy concerns that corporations have access to the personal data of millions. As a result, search queries that may include personally identifiable data are not shared through Google Analytics and other tracking tools.
For example, traffic that travels from Facebook or Google to your website is protected through what is known as link backlinking. When a user clicks on an outbound link, the referral path created may include personal data such as your name or address.
Any traffic leaving these sites is redirected through a temporary intermediate page to solve this problem. This protects user data, but the end result is less information for the site owner and more guesswork for SEO professionals.
6. Treating SEO as a “one-size-fits-all” program.
The right approach for each business varies depending on the goals they want to achieve. Businesses should focus on the needs of their buyers and their specific areas of expertise. Avoid creating content that extends outside an area of expertise where your business offers little information or help.
Small business marketing should invest wisely in tactics appropriate for your type of business and the needs of your buyers’ evaluation process. SEO works exceptionally well with a buyer’s journey requiring learning, evaluation, and research.
Companies that rely heavily on local businesses, such as coffee shops, restaurants, and beauty salons, must put significant effort into local SEO and, in many cases, invest in PPC and SEM campaigns for text and map listings.
In contrast, e-commerce businesses with little or no name recognition have no need for local optimization but may need social media marketing to create buzz and generate sales. A company’s marketing strategy should be appropriate to the needs of its buyer and should be based on the sale process, whether high-touch or low-touch.
7. Lacking long-term commitment to SEO techniques
Content is the critical ingredient for SEO. Too many companies only think about technical SEO factors when planning their investments. Content must be created, improved, and measured in a way that is consistent with buyer engagement and needs. Content creators with passionate followers stick to a schedule, such as:
- Podcasters who release a new episode on the same day each week.
- Blogs that promote a weekly tutorial.
- Youtubers who post new videos daily.
- Bloggers who produce X pieces a week or month.
A company must be consistent with its content production efforts. Too many companies start a content marketing effort and then abandon it due to everyday distractions. Significant gains occur with the investment of time, testing, learning, and responding to buyer needs.
Not realizing that there is no guarantee of success is a competitive battleground for SEO strategies.
The ever-changing nature of SEO means that there is no one way to succeed, and techniques that worked even a year or two ago have become obsolete. To stay at the top of the pile, you must keep abreast of new changes coming to search and how they will affect user behavior. This allows you to adjust SEO strategies proactively rather than reactively.