The 5 Biggest SEO Mistakes You’re Making
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys Blog
May 3, 2013
Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam Team, recently revealed five of the biggest basic SEO mistakes webmasters make and suggested a few ways to improve your site.
Mistake #1 – Your website isn’t easily navigated
Next to not having a domain at all, Cutts thinks the biggest mistake is having a site that can’t be easily navigated by visitors or crawled by search engines. If you make your good content difficult to find, visitors will click away and Google won’t crawl, index, or rank your content.
Solution: Surf your website! Click on every link to ensure you can reach all your pages and content.
Mistake #2 – Your website copy is not optimized
If your copy doesn’t include the words people are actually using when searching, your website won’t appear in their search results.
Matt Cutts used a page about Mount Everest’s elevation as an example. He advises not to just use “Mount Everest elevation” but to include “how high is Mount Everest?” because that’s the term people are actually typing into the search box.
Solution: Include the right words on your page! Use one of the many available online resources, such as Google’s Adwords Keyword tool, to discover which keywords are most popular in your niche, then include the information people are looking for on your page.
Mistake #3 – You’re Focused on Link Building, Rather Than Marketing
Your primary focus should be on developing compelling content, then marketing your site, not on link building. Having interesting, valuable content will organically draw people to your site and make them want to stay. Once you have that great content archived, think in terms of broadly marketing the site, not just building links.
“I wouldn’t put too much of a tunnel vision focus on just links,” Cutts said. “I would try to think instead about what I can do to market my website to make it more well-known within my community, or more broadly, without only thinking about search engines.”
Solution: Market your site, don’t just build links. Use social media and video marketing, as well as traditional marketing techniques to market your website. Reach out to local media and your Centers of Influence to build relationships, not links.
Mistake #4 – Your Website Uses Bad (Or No) Titles & Descriptions
Cutts advises that you pay close attention to the titles and descriptions, especially on your home page and other important pages.
Both the title and description should inspire people to click on to your page. The title is what the user will see when they bookmark your page, so you’ll want to make it memorable. The description will usually appear as the snippet of text below your website link, so you’ll want to make it enticing enough to motivate folks to click on the link.
Solution: Run tests to experiment with different titles and meta descriptions on high traffic pages to see which descriptions result in the most clicks.
Mistake #5 – You’re not using Webmaster Resources
Google provides some great resources, including Webmaster Tools, articles, forums, blogs, and videos, which you should be using to maximize the effectiveness of your online marketing efforts. Some great additional Google resources can be found here: “Top Google Website Optimization Resources“.
Solution: Use all the tools available to you to maximize the effectiveness of your online marketing efforts. For example, make it a habit to log into your Google Webmaster Tools account. If Google identifies a problem with crawling your site, duplicate content or myriad of other issues, they’ll send a notice via WebMaster Tools.
Making your site easy to navigate, including the right words on your pages, creating compelling content and then marketing it, improving your titles and descriptions, and making use of the free web sources are just five basic ways you can improve your SEO and user experience.
Learn more about Search Engine Optimization from Matt Cutts here or contact the Academy’s SEO team for additional information.