The best way to avoid making common SEO mistakes in your digital content production is to always consider the human first. Search Engine Optimization has technical components such as site speed, mobile responsiveness, along with meta-tags and alt-tags.
These technical aspects are essential. However, understanding how your buyers purchase, their personas, and what drives them to buy will improve your digital content strategy.
Basic knowledge of SEO is integral to creating digital content for the web. When well utilized, SEO is a variety of strategies that boost website traffic, drive audiences to blog posts, and allow businesses to rank high in search engine results.
Multiple studies show that people rarely go past the first page of Google results. Seventy-one percent of search engine clicks go to the first page of the search results, with the second page receiving less than 6%. Indicating that most users move on when they don’t find what they’re looking for on the first page.
The great thing about SEO is that most SEO tactics are free. But, doing it wrong can cost you valuable time and potential buyers. So, what are the most common SEO mistakes?
Not Understanding How SEO Works
A basic understanding of search engine optimization is essential to driving web traffic to your website. SEO is driven by the user experience. Therefore, not understanding how search engines such as Google and Bing work will hurt your content appearing in search engine results.
Think of it like trying to find a needle in a haystack. There are close to two billion websites on the internet. Now think about your particular industry, your product or service, and how many websites offer more or less the exact product you’re offering. How will you attract people to your website? How will people find you? So, you can see how understanding how to do SEO is crucial to digital content creation.
Suppose you’re a new fitness apparel company. You’re one of literally thousands of fitness apparel companies on the internet. Getting people to learn about your brand through search alone will be almost impossible.
However, understanding SEO, competitor analysis, and long-tail keyword strategy, there’s a chance that you can rank on the first or second page of the search results. Ranking on the second page in this example might not be too bad since it will be difficult to rank higher than Nike, Adidas, or Puma.
Many people aren’t interested in these high-profile brands that they feel often don’t keep up with the latest trends in fitness apparel. So, landing on the second page, in this case, isn’t a bad result. But, even landing there will be challenging without a basic understanding of SEO.
In this regard, a social media page alone will not help drive enough significant traffic to your site.
The best thing you can do is get a basic understanding of SEO. That doesn’t mean you have to become an expert. Still, you should understand enough to make sure you’re not making basic mistakes when creating digital content.
Not Having an SEO Plan
Once you understand how SEO works, it’s time to create an SEO plan for your business. An SEO plan is a blueprint, the long-term strategy to drive your ideal audience to your website. Thus leading to improved conversion rates, which leads to an increase in online revenue.
You should plan your search engine optimization strategy just as you would have a public relations or marketing campaign strategy. As with any good plan, you must begin with research.
What are your potential customers searching for? What are their needs, questions, and concerns?
An SEO plan will direct the type of content you create. Suppose you’re running a small office furniture business. Without an SEO plan and the research inherent in developing that plan, you may assume that the best thing is to produce content about office furniture or about the types of chairs you sell.
However, proper keyword research may show that people are looking for “chairs to support my lower back.” This will help guide you to the content you want to produce.
Creating a plan will help you produce digital content that matters to your audience and drive them to your website.
Not Doing Keyword Research
SEO requires the careful use of relevant keywords or phrases. Keyword research is the process of discovering what words or phrases people are looking for when they are searching for products and services related to your business. Keyword research helps you spend time making content that focuses on those words and phrases that deliver your most targeted prospects.
Performing simple keyword research is relatively easy. Pull up a Google search engine box, and type in a keyword or phrase you want to rank for. Make sure you enclose your search term in quotation marks, such as “your search term.” After you hit enter, you will see a phrase at the top of the search results which says how many results your search has revealed.
As a rule of thumb, keywords and phrases that yield less than 40,000 results are an excellent place to start for a small business. For a deeper level of keyword research, several platforms can help, such as SEMRush or Moz. These platforms will tell you the ease or difficulty of ranking for a particular keyword or phrase.
Small businesses will not compete with larger firms for popular keywords. This is why content writers must focus on long-tail keywords which are lengthier and a more specific keyword phrase. Typically at least four words or more. People search conversationally. This will become even more important as more and more people use audio search.
When writing content, you want to focus on a range of related keywords. This means digging deeper than surface-level keywords. For example, if you’re writing about office chairs, it will be challenging to rank for the keyword “office chairs.” As you would be up against some of the biggest companies selling office furniture, such as Office Depot or Staples. However, using “office chairs that help with back pain” as your keyword phrase is both long-tail and specific. Then you can use words such as ergonomic, raised desks, all terms related to helping with back pain.
Ultimately, keyword use should be natural. You want to balance using the right keywords and avoid unnaturally repeating the exact keywords. The keyword phrase should flow with the purpose of the text.
Not Understanding Target Audience Needs
You want to make sure you’re creating content based on what your audience wants to know versus what you want to tell them. This is why understanding your target audience and creating buyer personas is so important.
Creating buyer personas will help you to conduct better keyword research. Creating buyer personas enables you to remember to keep the customer in mind and put their wants and needs ahead of your own. This will help you to better target your ideal customer.
Creating buyer personas will help you know if your new SEO strategy or digital content addresses their needs.
Again this comes back to research. Who are your current customers? Use data from your social media (especially Facebook), customer database, and Google Analytics to get details such as:
- Size of business
- Who makes purchasing decisions
Also, you can look at who your competitors are targeting. Once you’ve completed this step, you should have a few different types of buyers for which to target your content.
Going back to our new fitness apparel company example. You might end up with a buyer persona that looks something like this:
- Gender: Female
- Age: 39
- Education: College degree from UCSD
- Occupation: Data Analyst
- Marital Status: Married
- Location: Suburbs of San Diego
- Hobbies: She likes to cook, and she’s a runner.
- Children: 2
What might be her needs? Maybe fitness apparel that is comfortable and can go from the gym to the street. Something that looks fashionable but is meant to stand up to rigorous exercise regimens. Now you know to attract her attention, you’re going to need to focus content on comfort and current fashion trends. Or maybe, showing the apparel in street settings indicates that you can go from the gym and stop by the grocery store on the way home without looking like you have just left the gym.
Buyer personas give you someone to have in mind when creating digital content.
Not Producing High-Quality Content
All of this will not matter if you’re not producing high-quality content relevant to your target audience. This is why at the end of the day, understanding SEO, conducting keyword research, and understanding exactly who you want to target is essential to creating high-quality content.
Google views high-quality content as content that demonstrates expertise, is original, and is well written.
You can show expertise by making sure what you create is authentic and backing up any information provided by linking to reputable external and internal sources. Also, you want to make sure you take the time to thoroughly explain your position while also avoiding fluff or restating the obvious.
Go beyond providing basic information by adding your own original analysis. Show your expertise by writing at a level your audience will understand, by being thorough, and by creating content that is well thought out.
Make sure your content is original and is not cookie-cutter versions of what is already out there on the subject. Don’t copy other articles. Instead, research what others have written on the topic. Find an angle that is missing and write about that.
Original, well-thought-out content is an article in which the author is well informed and goes beyond the basics. This means that you want to produce long-form content. The suggestions around minimum word count vary.
An in-depth article that provides helpful information will be a longer article. According to Hubspot, the most shared articles have an average word count of 2250 – 2500 words. Much of this depends on the industry. However, I recommend that you strive for at least 1500 words.
Once you’ve written your article, take the time to reread it, edit it, then reread it again. Spelling and grammar errors are an indication of low-quality content. Furthermore, it goes against establishing you as an expert.
If you avoid making these mistakes in your digital content production, it will go a long way in helping get your content in front of your intended audience.