A lot of marketing professionals will try to make you believe that SEO is way too complicated for non-marketing professionals to do anything about, but that is simply not true! There are necessary SEO activities that you should be doing every time you create content for your website. There are also SEO mistakes that you need to fix for better website rankings, and they’re simple enough for anyone to do. Learn how.

Do keyword research

buzzwordsSmall business owners are intimately familiar with their company and therefore feel that they have a good grip on what keyword phrases should be used on their site. Unfortunately, those phrases often include industry lingo or buzzwords that those outside the industry may not know. It’s important to have a good understanding of the kinds of keyword phrases searchers may use to find your company or a particular content piece you are creating. The best way to do that is through keyword research. Keyword research provides you with specific search data that can help you answer questions like:

  • What are people searching for?
  • How many people are searching for it?
  • In what format do they want that information?

Be sure to use a mix of keyword phrases, niche keywords to be more specific to your industry, and even long-tail keywords, which can lead to better business prospects since the search intent is more explicit. There are several good keyword research tools out there, such as Google’s Keyword Planner or Moz’s Keyword Explorer. Keep track of all the keyword phrases you discover, so you have the list handy for future content creation. Whatever tool you use, make sure you’re doing keyword research, so your future content creation is better targeted. Not using keyword research is a mistake that can hurt your SEO over time.

Populate title tags and meta descriptions 

Depending on the website platform you use, adding a meta description and title tags to your site should be straightforward. For WordPress, several plugins will even help you create SEO-friendly meta descriptions and tags. Try All in One SEO or Yoast SEO for guidance. Why do you need meta descriptions? Meta descriptions are what you typically see when you search on Google and other search engines. Ever run across one that didn’t see to make sense at all? That’s because if you don’t indicate the meta description you want, Google will create one for you, pulling from that page of the site. Sometimes they’re OK, and sometimes they make no sense at all. Better to create your own meta description that’s interesting and will entice the searcher to click through to your website. Title tags are displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) as the clickable headline for a given result and are essential for usability, SEO, and social sharing. The title tag or meta title tag of a web page is meant to be an accurate and concise description of a page’s content. While some argue they’re not as important as they used to be, they still are important enough to your site’s SEO to use them. If you’re not sure how to create these, reach out to a marketing professional versed in SEO that can help. Don’t make the mistake of avoiding these steps.

Add alt image tags to all your website’s images

Before you upload images to your website, have a good understanding of how you’ll be labeling those images. Known as alt image tags or alt text, Google uses alt text in the same way that the visually impaired use them; as a way to comprehend images because the algorithm can’t see or understand images. Applying an alt attribute on an image helps Google understand what an image is about to serve it in image results. How does that help with rankings and traffic? Images with optimized alt text are more likely to populate in image search queries. Many website owners skip this step, and it’s a mistake to do so.

Check your site for errors

404 errorIt’s amazing how many website owners never check their site to make sure all their pages are working. There are so many easy, free tools that tell you the health of your site on a regular basis; not using them can severely impact your SEO. Here are a few useful tools that can help you see how your site is functioning and if there are errors such as 404 pages (broken pages), which can impact your website’s ranking. The more errors you are having, the worse it becomes for your SEO strategy:

  • Screaming Frog
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console

If you’re not comfortable with this, many small business marketing professionals can run a quick review on your site to check for errors.

If you’re like most small business owners, you have worked hard to get your website just the way you want it to generate more business. These SEO mistakes can detract from that hard work, so be sure to visit these now and ensure your site is well-optimized for these SEO basics.

Patty Hughes
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