4 DIY Search Engine Optimization Mistakes


When it comes to optimising your site you’ve got two choices either spend a lot of your time or spend a lot of your cash and for many small business owners they chose to go for the first option. The mistake most business make when trying to optimise their own site is getting bogged down in the technicalities and overlooking the simple elements of SEO that they need in place to get a good base to work from. If you’ve recently decided you’re going to optimise your own site here’s a list of the basics to get in place before you jump head first into the more sophisticated bits.

Get Your Keyword Research Right

This is the most important part of any SEO campaign, there’s no point spending a lot of time and effort getting your site to rank if you’re not getting the right traffic that’s going to end up putting cash in your pocket. You also need to remember that every page needs its own unique keyword and ideally no more than one (unless you’re targeting variations of the same word). You don’t want to rank the home page for all your target terms, look at the deeper pages you’ve got and target each page towards a relevant keyword. If you really want to rank for a keyword you don’t have a relevant page for you need to question whether you really should be ranking for that word and if you really do you need to create a custom landing page rather than just pointing it towards the nearest one.

Meta Titles

There are hundreds of factors that go into deciding if and where your site ranks for any one keyword and some will be more powerful than others. The meta title is still one of the more powerful factors and they can help with click through too. A common mistake that even a lot of experienced SEO’s make is not getting the meta titles right. No two pages should ever have the same meta title (easy enough) but you also need to make sure you don’t use the same keyword in more than one meta title which can be quite a bit trickier. It’s very common to structure the meta titles around the breadcrumb which means you’ll end up with a top level category level keyword across a selection of titles, if you can make sure you’re using the full 65(ish) character limit with unique keywords. Also drop the website/company name, in most cases you don’t need this in the meta title, the domain name should be enough to rank you for this term unless you have a very competitive exact match domain name.

Get Your Local Running

When you do your keyword research your tool of choice will probably tell you there’s very little search volume in your local area for your keywords but this doesn’t mean you should overlook this. If you have a physical presence and even if you don’t, you need to make sure your site always appears when someone searches for your products or services in your local area. This will be much quicker and easier than getting your site to rank for your competitive generic keywords. Get your Google Local listing set up, it’s free and it only takes a couple of seconds. Make sure you’ve got a local page on your site and get it optimised for your main terms coupled with your local area, if you sell dog food and your based in Worcester, missing that traffic searching for ‘pet food in Worcester’ could be costing you a lot of easy customers.

Simple Structure

Before you go running off trying to optimise every single internal link and before you start cross linking to every page in the copy of every other page on your site, take a look at how easy your site is to navigate. You need to make sure your menu still makes sense and it doesn’t bombard the user or get in the way (which can be a common problem with hover over menus). You also need to make sure it still reads well to a human being and you haven’t just renamed every item on the menu just for the search engines. Next check your breadcrumb trail, this not only helps the spiders crawl your site but it helps your users navigate their way back through the pages they’ve already looked at. If you traffic is getting lost a site map can be very helpful, a lot of sites spend all their sitemap time getting the XML one in place then they forget a simple HTML one would help too.

Now you can run off and start looking at the more complicated elements like your internal linking and URL structure. I’ve probably missed a million things off this list that other SEO’s would say is more important but you need these four elements in place first before you go through the rest of your site and before you start your link building.


About The Author

Jessica works for Mozaico who offer a stunning collection of mosaic tiles and glass mosaic and have seen a significant improvement in rankings and traffic since they went back to basics and got the ground work in place.

  • September 7, 2011
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