7 Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid for Small Businesses

By the end of this year, it’s anticipated that American businesses will spend $80 billion on search engine optimization (SEO) services. SEO has become one of the most important digital marketing strategies companies can utilize today. Without it, you could end up falling behind competitors (or off the map altogether).

SEO allows you to appear at the top of search engines like Google. The more consumers see your brand, the more likely you’ll remain top-of-mind. At the same time, you can increase site traffic and boost conversions.

Despite the benefits of SEO, many small businesses are making major errors that could impact their rankings. Here are the seven common SEO mistakes to avoid when strategizing in 2020.

By avoiding these common errors, you can get ahead of the competition and in front of more customers. Give your brand the boost it needs by dodging these seven common mistakes!

1. Neglecting Research

One of the first SEO mistakes to avoid is neglecting industry, customer, competitor, and keyword research. While that sounds like a lot, deep-diving with a thorough research session can help you get the strong start you need.

Otherwise, your SEO efforts will fail to have an impact on customers.

Google’s latest algorithm update BERT has made Google smarter than ever. Instead of focusing on keywords, Google now focuses on the user’s intent.

What are customers looking for when they search online? What problems are they experiencing and what solutions are they hoping for.

By learning which SEO mistakes to avoid, you can become that solution.

First, use research tools such as:

  • Ahrefs
  • SEMRush
  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Google Trends

Make a list of the topics and keywords your customers are using in their search queries. 

Next, learn as much as you can about your target audience. If you have a broad audience, break them down into smaller buyer personas based on:

  • Location
  • Age 
  • Industry
  • Household income
  • Gender
  • Buying habits
  • Interests
  • Hobbies

The more you know about your target audience, the more likely you’ll create content based on their needs. 

Don’t forget to research your competitors, too. Which keywords are they targeting? Which of their posts already rank at the top of a Google search engine results page (SERP)?

2. Ignoring Your GMB Listing

Your Google My Business (GMB) listing is an important component of your local SEO strategy. This listing takes up prominent space in a Google search and provides consumers with information about your business. For example, consumers can find your:

  • Address and directions
  • Website
  • Phone number
  • Business hours
  • Customer reviews

Improving your local ranking will help you increase foot traffic into your business. 

You can also use your local SEO strategy to reach the local pack. The local pack also takes up prominent space on Google by showing consumers local businesses in the area.

Make sure all of your business contact information is accurate. If you move, change your site URL, or get a new phone number, update your GMB listing as soon as possible.

3. Missing the Latest Trends

Google’s search algorithm changes multiple times throughout the year. Unfortunately, many small businesses make the mistake of thinking SEO is a one-and-done strategy. Rather, you need to continue making changes to your strategy in order to maintain a high SERP ranking.

For example, Google rolled out mobile-first indexing a few years ago. If your website isn’t mobile-optimized, you could miss out on customers. In fact, 90% of consumers rely on mobile devices to accomplish their goals while on-the-go.

In 2020, you need to focus on:

  • Creating high-quality content
  • Understanding search intent
  • Voice searches
  • Writing naturally (the way customers speak)
  • Using conversational, long-tail keywords
  • Featured snippets
  • Conveying your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT)
  • Localized content

Keeping up with the latest SEO trends and making regular website updates to reflect these trends will keep you ahead of the competition.

4. Forgetting Search Features

Structured data and featured snippets are important this year as well. If you want to appear at the top of a search page, search features can help you stand out from other listings.

Make sure to structure your:

  • FAQ content
  • Product reviews
  • How-to blog posts
  • Company address
  • Books
  • Events

For example, this Medical Answering Service review would appear as a product review snippet.

For featured snippets, you can appear as a summary, bullet list, or other formats to attract more site visitors.

5. Focusing Only on Text

By 2021, video content will represent 80% of all internet traffic. That’s up from 67% in 2016! One of the common SEO mistakes to avoid is focusing only on text content.

Instead, mix it up. Use infographics, quizzes, podcasts, and videos to keep your audience engaged. You can even turn one format into another to keep providing readers with the information they need.

For example, you might want to break down a lengthy blog post into a video series. You can also use data from that same post to create an infographic.

Regardless of the format you use, make sure your content is high-quality, engaging, and above all else, unique!

6. Missing a Link-Building Strategy

Using the right keywords and creating new blog posts isn’t enough. You also need to use links within your content to improve your SERP ranking.

Make sure to use internal and external links. Internal links send readers to other pages on your site, which can boost your clickthrough rate. External links send readers to other reputable websites.

Linking to other high-authority sites can improve your authority, too.

7. Not Investing in the UX

As you make regular website updates to reflect the latest SEO trends, make sure to focus on the user experience (UX).

For example, you want to make sure your site is easy to navigate. Your pages should load quickly, too. If people have to wait for your content to load, they might leave and explore a competitor’s site instead. 

Investing in the UX will encourage people to stay on your site longer. Then, Google will take notice and boost your ranking. 

Step Up Your Small Business SEO Strategy: 7 Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Don’t fall behind with your SEO strategy! Instead, utilize the latest SEO best practices to boost your ranking. Don’t forget to consider these SEO mistakes to avoid, too!

Explore our Search Engine Guide for more helpful tips!

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