Search engine optimisation, or SEO, refers to the miscellany of things a business does to affect the visibility of a web page or website in the search results of a search engine like Google or Bing. As a small-business owner, you must keep an eye on SEO strategy and tactics to make sure customers and the general public know the work your company is doing in terms of items produced, services provided and excellence in customer service, among others. When it comes to SEO tactics, the five common mistakes you must avoid include splash pages, duplicate content on your website, images contained text, keyword-laden pages and hyper-linked sections. Remember also that an effective SEO strategy emphasizes difference - versus potential entrants in your sector, versus potential substitutes to your products or services, and versus your direct competitors.
1. Splash Pages
A splash page is aesthetically pleasing but does little to enhance your SEO status. You see this type of page generally on the home page with an image and a button that says "enter" or "enter the website." A splash page is ineffective because it contains little text, which doesn't help your company rank highly in search results. Second, you are forcing the user to click an extra link before visiting your site - another recipe for commercial disaster because your organization might be losing out financially if impatient prospects just leave the page altogether and move to the competitor's portal.
2. Duplicate Content across Your Site
Don't create multiple web pages with the same content. This creates a problem for search engines because they don't know which page to display in search results, a situation that could deliver devastation to your SEO efforts and ranking goals. Besides, search engines often treat repeated text as spam, which also is a negative element for your SEO initiatives.
3. Images Containing Text
Text-stuffed images also don't make SEO sense because search engines like Google and Bing cannot read text embedded in a picture. So if you stuff all, or most of, your content in pictures, your website will not appear in search results -- or, at least, not as prominently as you would like. Given that content plays an integral role in search results, try to free up your content and don't box them into pictures or other graphical elements.
4. Keyword-Laden Pages
Within the SEO context, conversations about keyword stuffing still matter, but they often are loose and disjointed because many SEO professionals now know that search engine algorithms have better, more sophisticated ways to ignore repeated content - be it a keyword or otherwise. Instead of clogging your website content with keywords, try to display that is relevant and informative to your current customers, prospective clients and the occasional reader who is just passing by and happens to stumble on your website. Content clarity and helpfulness should be the objective here, not a deluge of keywords to trick search engines.
5. Hyper-Linked Pages
Adding tens, if not hundreds, of internal links to each web page will not help your company's search rankings. From a user experience, the most salient thing to implement is a primary page that naturally flows to secondary pages, which also smoothly mesh with other pages. Again, the key element in SEO strategy is content, content, content - so stuffing internal links to your company's web pages is inefficient, and the links most likely will be ignored by search engines.
To make your SEO strategy a success, opt for special capabilities that are unique in nature and few in number. Work with a marketing company with SEO expertise; revamp your website to make it more user-friendly and optimized for search engine algorithms; and constantly monitor what the competition is doing, from an online visibility perspective. Key SEO blunders to avoid include hyper-linked and keyword-laden pages along with splash pages and duplicate content throughout your company's website.
About the author:
Kyle Sanders is the founder of Complete Web Resources, a small business SEO company based out of Denver, Colorado. When he’s not helping clients and writing for the web, he enjoys kayaking, fishing, and sunshine.
We, at Microsoft, provide ‘Talking Business’ to help entrepreneurs and business owners’ succeed. We believe in your ability to innovate and in the ability of technology to help, so to support ‘Talking Business’ we have many resources available for businesses like you. We have an informative newsletter, blog posts by people in the industry, and a community looking to help small business succeed.
Follow us on twitter - @MicrosoftSB, or use the hashtag #TalkingBusiness to find out more information