Amongst all modern marketing techniques available to us, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) needs to be the number one priority for any business looking to attract new customers. The ability to find any information online has truly levelled the playing field for marketing. With consumers becoming more and more savvy about marketing, brands needs to be subtle and sophisticated to drive measurable success. The focus is entirely shiftig to the customer experience, and a crucial aspect of this is creating an authentic relationship through the production of some top-notch content.
Yet there is no use spending time and energy putting out content if no one can find it. Did you know that 75% of search engine users never scroll past the first page of search results?
In order to ensure that your business achieves that coveted spot on the first listing page, your content needs to tick all of the SEO boxes. And as the Google algorithms are continually evolving to uphold best practices, a tactic that got you a great ranking today, might not work tomorrow — which means you need to stay ahead of new trends.
Search Engines are focused on giving their customers the best possible user experience, so anything that detracts from that, will be punished. When you are creating any form of content, your focus should be on crafting authentic, relevant, great content. You should view SEO as one of the many tools that helps your customer get to where they need to be and to have a positive experience when they arrive. Below are three mistakes content businesses routinely make with their SEO.
Keywords: Keep a lid on it
It’s a good idea to include keywords within your content, but don’t go overboard. If it doesn’t read naturally then the inclusion of them will raise ‘Spammy’ red-flags. For example, if you produce red rum, then you wouldn’t write this:
King’s Red Rum Emporium is the best purveyor of red rum in the Colorado rockies. King’s Red Rum is made from the finest red rum ingredients and it is different to other red rums because our red rum has a secret…
The overuse of the phrase ‘red rum’ is irritating and distracting. While it is important to use the keywords (especially in the beginning of an article,) it can’t interfere with the flow and the quality of a piece. The above example could be tweaked to read:
From the heart of the Colorado Rockies, King’s Red Rum is terrifyingly good. Ours isn’t exactly like other rums … it has a secret ...
The second example provides the same information as the first: The brand name, the product, the location (all things a prospective customer might search for) yet the reader gets a much quicker sense of the offering because it is clearer and cleaner prose.
And don’t hide key-words within your website either (eg by hiding words behind images or making them the same colour as your website) Google is onto this and you will attract penalties.
Backlinks are like french-fries: moderation is important
One of the things that search engine values is authority. If you link to relevant, valued and trusted sites (or relevant articles within your own site) then you will generate a higher authority.
And yet, a lot of sites stuff their pieces to the gills with backlinks, thinking that will generate higher rankings. All it will do is alert your search engine to the fact that you are not legit.
The same goes for linking to your own work. Where applicable, go for it, but otherwise think about the value the backlink would add to your piece.
And remember, backlinks are like fast food — once in awhile is fun, but moderation is key, otherwise you’ll end up with a very unhealthy body of work. 3-4 times within a short blog piece, is a good indicator of how much is appropriate.
Your load time is as slow as wet week in winter
Videos and gorgeous images are really important in attracting customers to your site (and enticing them to stay a while) but a slow load time will compromise their experience and lower your ranking. The longer it takes for a customer to load your page, the higher the bounce rate will be. Some really good tips to lower that loading time include:
- Make sure your image size is below 100kb
- Test your site on various browsers to see how it compares
- Tools like Google Analytics can help you monitor your speed
- Videos can really slow down your time. Be discerning when choosing the content and save, rather than embed video content, if possible
An optimised website can not only improve your rankings, it can improve your revenue, especially if your website is your online shop. According to Kissmetrics, loading time can seriously impact on consumer behaviour with:
- 47% of consumers expecting a page to load in 2 seconds or less
- 40% will abandon a page if it hasn’t loaded within 3 seconds
- 79% if dissatisfied with their online experience, won’t shop on that site again
The inverse is also true. For example, Walmart found that by improving its loading speed, for every one second of improvement, they received up to 2% increase in conversions.
The customer experience
In essence all of these mistakes aren’t just a symptom of bad SEO practices, they are also a symptom that the customer experience itself isn’t optimised. If you approach SEO like you would a retail experience, you’ll see that the same rules apply. Give people a relevant, authentic, speedy and positive experience and not only will they find you, they will be much more likely to come back.
Want more tips on digital marketing. Then you need to read our 2016 CeBIT Australia Digital Marketing Summary Report today.