In the second of our two-part series on SEO in 2019, we’re going to take a look at the major mistakes many websites are still making.
These are mistakes that could cost you a lot of visitors in future, and visitors means more potential customers. So, keep an eye out for any of these SEO errors in your strategy.
Not taking ROI into account
Because SEO is naturally less specific than paid marketing channels, many websites simply take that as a sign that they don’t need to keep a return on investment in mind.
This is a big mistake.
Though organic search isn’t as measurable as something like Facebook ads or PPC, you should still have a specific target in mind.
An example might be that over the course of a year, you want to increase your monthly traffic by 10%, and then ensure you convert your overall traffic at 2%.
This might seem simple, but it will actually focus your efforts far more than if you simply focused on ‘increasing traffic’ generally.
By having sales in mind, you’ll be forced to ensure your traffic is of a high enough to quality to even be converted. As a result, your outreach will become more focused, and you’re more likely to end up with visitors to your site that actually matter.
You’d be surprised how many websites still focus solely on traffic, with no targeted aim FOR that traffic.
Needless to say, if making more money is the end goal of your SEO – and most of the time it will be – have a specific ROI in mind when planning out your strategy.
Not working with users in mind
Naturally, technical SEO is a key part of any SEO strategy. (We’ll explore that in a moment.)
But, once your site is technically proficient, the next priority shouldn’t just be ‘the search engines’.
In 2010, sure that might have worked.
But Google and the other search engines are smarter than ever before, and are very effective at judging which websites and pages offer the best value to users.
This means that you’ll likely get far, far better results by thinking “what will my site visitors get the most value from” than you would by asking “what will improve my Google ratings”.
Again, this might seem like an obvious point, but a quick glance at any one of a hundred websites will show you content that’s not been written for a human…but for a search spider.
To take an example: readability.
Now, multiple tests have shown that when reading online, users prefer to read much shorter paragraphs.
(You’ll notice that most paragraphs on this page are less than three lines each.)
That’s intentional. It makes our work MORE readable.
But thousands of websites still load up their copy with epic, ten-line paragraphs that wouldn’t look out of place in Tolstoy or Dickens!
Focus on making sure that users will enjoy your work, and you’ll inevitably get better search results as long as you’ve done the technical work first.
Speaking of which, the major mistake of…
Not carrying out a technical audit
Though your focus should be on great content that’s actually valuable to users, you DO need to make sure your site meets the minimum technical requirements to keep search engine spiders happy.
The simple fact is that if the search engine spiders find major common problems with your website, you will be punished in the rankings.
These major (and very common) mistakes include:
- Your website not loading up fast enough
- Not having a mobile friendly website
- Not having a responsive design
- Not having a well-marked out site architecture
And a number of other tech issues. Needless to say, a technical audit is a very complex, in-depth procedure.
It’s far too in-depth to cover here!
With that in mind, we’d recommend you take a look at Backlinko’s outstanding (and very comprehensive) guide. It covers everything you need to know in 2019.
In other words; make your content for users and build a website for the search engines!
Not having high quality UX design
This is slightly different to writing user-friendly content: this is more about making sure that your website is actually good to use.
So, when visitors are moving around your site and testing out the different features, is it easy for them to do so? Or is it hard work?
There are a number of factors that influence user experience. (We’ve written several full guides on UX!)
- You want to make sure that your design is simple and not hard to navigate.
- You certainly don’t want to have any loading speed issues (this applies to technical and user-focused SEO).
- You want to avoid having pop-ups or automatic playing video
- You want to make it easy for users to do whatever they want to do.
These don’t just benefit users; they benefit you. If a visitor has arrived on your website looking to book a consultancy, you want it to be very clear and obvious what they need to do in order to do that.
Handily, there’s a very good sign if your website is user-friendly already: what’s your dwell time like?
If users are landing on your page and immediately clicking off, that’s a good sign they haven’t found what they’re looking for.
Dwell time is a key ranking signal, and UX design is a vital part of making sure users stick around. So always ensure that user experience design is a key part of your SEO strategy.
Not adding enough unique value
SEO is no different to any business: if you’re going to succeed, you need to offer something other websites don’t.
This can be anything from more in-depth content than you’ll find on your competitor pages, to a better, more intuitive design, to simply the best prices on an e-commerce store.
The truth is that in 2019, SEO is more competitive than ever, and it takes time, effort and commitment to get right. And that’s assuming you do have high quality content ready to share.
If you’re planning to simply churn out the same identikit work to your competitors, then unfortunately there really isn’t any point playing the game!
That might sound harsh, but you really do need to add more value.
Some examples are:
- Publishing the longest, most in-depth piece of content on the web on your chosen topic
- Providing actionable case studies that readers can learn from
- Cover topics that no-one else has covered, or topics that are more effort (this ‘cost of entry’ means you’ll automatically have less competition)
- Expose the truths about your industry that no-one else is really talking about
As we said, you want to try and offer what no-one else will get.
The positive thing about SEO in 2019 is that it really is a top 1% game. If you’re prepared to pay the price to be the absolute best, it’s possible to get huge rewards as a result!
Get in touch today
If you’d like to learn more about how you can improve your digital marketing strategy in 2019, get in touch with iconic Solutions today. We’ve carried out marketing for a wide range of companies in order to help them with their bottom line, and we’d love to do the same for you.