5 Common Website Mistakes that Can Kill Your SEO (And Tips to Update It!)

5 Common Website Mistakes that Can Kill Your SEO (And Tips to Update It!)

One of the most common mistakes businesses make when creating a website is not taking the latest search engine optimization best practices into account. Sure, your website might look great, but unless it’s optimized to get discovered when people search, then it’s not being seen by as many people as it could be. Here are a few common reasons your website may be hurting your SEO – and what to do about them.

1. Your Site Was Designed 5 Years Ago

One of the most common website mistakes local businesses make is simply not keeping their website design and structure up to date with modern standards. After just a couple of years, websites become outdated and may no longer meet the latest SEO best practices. Static, brochure-like websites don’t perform as well in organic search or adapt easily to frequent changes in search algorithms or consumer expectations. And, sites that were built with technologies like Flash may not even register with search engines because they can’t index the content on them.

Tip: Redesign your site and make sure it aligns with the latest SEO best practices. Today, that includes a professionally designed website with engaging images and fresh content that’s relevant to the top products and services you want to promote. A site with content and images that are easy to update will work in your favor as search trends continue to change.

2. It’s Not Mobile-Optimized

How many times have you visited a website from your smartphone, only to be greeted with tiny images and copy and no real way to find what you’re looking for? This is an all-too-common experience for small business website visitors. Today, mobile users expect a simplified, easy-to-navigate version of a business’ website with all the company’s contact information front and center. And as mobile usage only grows, so will this expectation from on-the-go consumers.

Tip: If your website is not mobile-responsive, invest in a mobile-friendly version of your website, or at least a mobile landing page that consumers visit when they click on your organic links from a mobile device. At minimum, your mobile site should include your:

  • Business name and logo
  • Top products and services
  • Location with a link to directions or a map
  • Business hours
  • Click-to-call number

Chances are, consumers looking for your business via mobile are looking for a way to call or visit you. Make sure they can!

3. You Ignore Your Metadata

For many business owners, the concept of metadata is the murky, foreign, Web-development side of SEO. And it doesn’t make that much difference anyway, right? Wrong. The metadata found in your website’s code – things like title tags, meta descriptions, and alt text – is crucial to your SEO. For one, it’s part of what search engines look at when they decide which sites to populate in the search results when people search for related terms. Plus, consumers see metadata like page descriptions and titles on your website’s organic listing when it does appear in a search result.

Tip: That page title and description you see when your site appears in the search results? That’s all from your site’s metadata – so don’t let it slide! Make sure your metadata is both complete and optimized for your target keywords. You should also make sure your page titles, meta descriptions, main page headers and image alt tags clearly indicate what they are representing on your website. This helps your target audience to know exactly what they are clicking. It also helps this information to appear in appropriate organic search results.

4. You Don’t Have Blog (Or Actively Use It)

Having fresh content on your website is a huge factor when it comes to SEO. Not only will it help search engines determine the relevance of your website in the search results, but having helpful, informative content may help your site visitors contact you, driving more leads from your organic search efforts. One easy and effective way to publish content about your business, products, and services is by using a blog. But, just having one configured on your site isn’t enough: if you’re not taking the time to publish relevant blog posts about key topics, consumers who may be interested in your products or services may not be finding your website when they search!

Tip: Add a blog to your website and publish new content to it on a weekly basis. It doesn’t have to be long or overly complex; just make sure it is focused around the core products and services you want your site to show up for when consumers search, and include relevant links to your core products and services, as well as helpful external resources. In addition to written blog posts, you can also post helpful content like videos, infographics, and image galleries that your audience is sure to love. Then, make sure you share your posts across your social media pages with a link back to your blog and ask your followers to share them, so you can build social signals around your content, drive traffic to your site, and enhance your site’s relevance in search.

5. It’s Not Built for Local

As a local business, you want local consumers to find and visit your website. And, Google has made changes to help consumers more easily find and get information about local businesses that offer the products or services they are looking for.  So, why would you not optimize your website to attract consumers who looking for businesses in your area?

Tip: Every local business should start with local optimization basics to help them get discovered in local search. For one, you should include your city name along with your top keywords in content, so that when consumers search for local terms like “florist Nashville,” your business will appear in the search results.  It’s also important to include your full address on your website – and not just on the Contact Us page. Listing it somewhere like a footer will help your site populate in local search results and help visitors know that they indeed found the business they are looking for. Make sure that you are writing your name, address, and other important details consistently, down to spelling, punctuation, and abbreviations, because Google looks at the consistency and accuracy of this information across the Web, from your website to your local listings. Finally, linking your Google Maps listing to your website will help local searchers find your business, especially when they search directly in Google Maps on their computers or smartphones.

These website updates can not only help your website gain visibility in the search results, but they can also help consumers find the information they are looking for so they contact your business. Don’t have the time or expertise to do it yourself? Consider ReachEdge™, a smart website and lead management system, and ReachSEO™, a unique approach to SEO for local businesses, to help you get more visitors, contacts, and customers from the search results.

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Tamara Weintraub

Tamara is a content marketing manager at ReachLocal with over 7 years experience in B2B marketing and has a nerd-level affinity for software and technology. She specializes in helping local businesses succeed online, writing and learning about Google, search advertising, SEO, and social media marketing. When she's not writing about online marketing, you can find her watching cult TV and hanging out with her Doberman.

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