Every business can commiserate over the struggle to land in the coveted top spots of an organic search. Even a beautifully designed website can suffer from low analytics without the proper exposure in search engines. Take a moment to reflect upon your own search engine experience. Do you typically click on one of the top three results of a search query? Do you scroll past the first page of search results? Chances are that like the majority of search engine users, you don’t often venture past the first page of results, which is precisely why you should be taking the proper steps to ensure that your own business is landing in the top spots.

For starters, let’s look at what SEO really means. Simply stated, SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of getting organic (non-paid) traffic to your site from search results on search engines. Simple enough, right? Unfortunately, with the sheer volume of content flooding search engines, ensuring that your site is in the top results can be a bit of an uphill battle. The good news is, all of the major search engines - Google, Bing, and Yahoo - reward sites for relevant, quality content. Content is, and likely always will be, king. The days of keyword stuffing and SEO buzzwords are quickly going to the wayside, which means good quality, relevant content is what counts. Want to rank better? Take a look at a few common SEO mistakes to avoid.

  1. Key word stuffing: As previously mentioned, the trend is rapidly moving away from rote use of keywords and towards relevant content. The highest ranking sites will be less focused on keyword stuffing to generate SEO and more focused on generating a positive user experience with solid, relevant content.
  2. Poor Quality Content: Continuing in that regard, quality content is of utmost importance. As the need for SEO buzzwords and keyword stuffing subsides, it is becoming more and more apparent that search engines are rewarding sites with quality content. Take the time to develop a solid content strategy complete with topics that are informative and of interest to your target audience. If your viewers aren’t engaging with your site and spending time on pages, then your search rankings will continue to decrease as well. Again, content is king.
  3. Duplicate Content: Are you starting to see a pattern? Content that is well crafted is paramount, which means content duplication is a major pitfall. Never create duplicate copy on your own website; rather, write unique content for each page.
  4. Weak Mobile Design: Mobile users are on the rise (and not slowing down anytime soon), which is why mobile friendly sites are rewarded with strong search rankings. Avoid small text, close together links, and cluttered pages. Above all else, ensure that your site is mobile friendly and responsive.
  5. Avoiding Analytics: Analytics are a powerful tool that you should absolutely be using. For starters, analytics provide valuable information regarding your website traffic, including how, where, when, and why users visit your site. Configure Google Analytics and Webmaster tools to your website to accurately measure the impact of SEO.

SEO and search rankings are an ever-evolving beast, but the safest bet is to keep your target audience in mind. If visitors to your site can easily navigate through each page and are met with quality, relevant content, it stands to reason that strong search rankings will follow. Keep your website clean and your content fresh for best SEO practices.