You probably think SEO is only for pros, right?
And as a result, you have been ignoring it and not seeing much love from Google.
Don't worry, you are not alone. In fact just a few years ago I didn't know much about SEO either. I used to think it was all voodoo and not worth spending my time on.
However, in the last few years I have been learning all I can about SEO, and now I can get traffic on Google almost on demand!
Does that sound like something you would like too?
Ok, the first thing you have to do is stop making these insane SEO mistakes…
1. Your Content Is For The WRONG Audience
Are you chasing traffic for traffic’s sake?
I used to do that too. But let me give you a hard-earned lesson I spent years figuring out.
You are wasting your time chasing random traffic. And so was I.
I know it is addictive! Looking in Google Analytics and seeing your traffic grow gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside. I get that too.
But warm fuzzy feelings don't pay the bills.
It might surprise you to learn that you could survive from just 100 visitors a month – if they are the right visitors that is.
In fact, such an idea was made popular by Kevin Kelly all the way back in 2008 with his post on 1000 true fans. It is worth a read to get some perspective on what your goals should really be to make a living online.
So, when we are talking about SEO and getting traffic from the big G (Google in case you didn't guess), we are really talking about getting the “right” traffic for you.
Awesome news, but how do you do that? I hear you asking.
First, ask yourself the following kinds questions before you write your next piece of content:
- What kinds of people do I really want on my website
- What is my niche or specialty (my “thing”, my product area)
- Why do I want to get that kind of person to my site
- is it to entertain them (you make money from ads)
- is it to inform them about a solution to a problem they have (where your solution is, or is related to your product/service)
- is it to inform them of something where they want to learn more (you put them on an email list to later sell to them)
- What am I going to do with them when they arrive
- sell to them directly (a product or service)
- get them on my email list (and sell to them later)
- not sell, but keep them coming back with great content
I could go on forever, but you start to see the point.
Traffic is not traffic. You need to have a reason for getting that traffic. An end goal.
Then, you can start working backwards from the goal to the audience that you want.
Time for An Example:
I love seeing real life examples when I read blog posts like this – it helps put the ideas into perspective and make them real. So, with that in mind, here is one that I think you should check out.
This is a wonderful blogger, Cat Rose, that I came across in the last year who has recently “found” her calling with a focus on getting creative introverts found online. She knows her audience and is specifically targeting them with her content. Blog posts like:
- Authentic Marketing 101: How To Sell Without Trying
- Why Do Introverts Struggle to Ask For Help
And many more very focused topics that are bringing the “perfect” introverted creative audience to her blog.
[tweet_box design=”box_02″]Target The Right Audience. It's Not About Numbers![/tweet_box]
Recommended reading: The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization
2. Your Keywords Are Not Where They Should Be
I know, you have put your keywords in the Yoast SEO plugin and now your site is all set for SEO greatness.
Sure, having your keywords in Yoast on your blog posts is a good start, but it is not just about that.
What about the other pages on your website, have you thought about optimising them too?
Almost all of your content is worthy of SEO optimization, and this is something you should always keep in mind.
But which ones are worth worrying about?
Let's take a quick look.
Your home page is one of the most visited and linked pages on your website. As a result, it has a lot of “SEO Power”. This means it could potentially rank for your main website keywords.
Another important one is your services pages. They should be focused on one topic and optimised for that keyword as well. One very focused example is Concourse Hosting who are focused on selling Blackbaud Hosting to Non-profits. Below you can see the Title and Meta Description of their services page are keyword focused:
I have done the same thing on my services pages on Mad Lemmings.
Other pages that are worth optimising (with the Yoast plugin or any other you are using) include:
- Product pages
- Other topic focused pages
Pages not worth worrying about include all the other smaller and non-important pages like
- Legal Pages
- Subscribe / Landing pages
However, the point to keep in mind is this. SEO is not just about your new content. It is about your site as a whole and all your pages.
[tweet_box design=”box_06″]Optimize all your content for SEO, not just your posts![/tweet_box]
3. You Are Too Focused On Keywords
Today, SEO is all about topics instead of keywords.
Google has become a lot smarter (yes the robots are poised to take over the world!!! run). And now, you don’t have to smack Google over the head with your “keyword hammer” to get their attention.
Instead, some subtlety is required. That means still finding the right keywords, however only using them in a few places.
The idea is to focus on writing about the topic (keyword) you have chosen. Not forcing the actual keyword into your content hundreds of times.
By just keeping on topic, and focusing on the reader, you will automatically alert Google to what your article is about.
Not only that, but you will inadvertently rank for all sorts of variations and long tail phrases that you have not even thought about.
Time for an example:
This is a post I wrote about a month ago, where I was trying to rank for the words “online business ideas”. I am starting to rank for that already, but the interesting thing is that I also get traffic for lots of things I did not aim for (or even know about). Here are a few examples:
So, next time you are trying to write a post focused on a keyword – remember that it is all about keeping on topic and providing value to your reader. The traffic will come naturally.
[tweet_box design=”default”]Stop focusing on keywords. Use topics instead.[/tweet_box]
4. You Have Forgotten That People Use Their Mobile Phones (A Lot)
Last year was the year of impending doom. At least for SEO. It was called – Mobilegeddon.
SEOs and Webmasters such as myself warned you that Google was focusing on mobile-ready websites and that there would be consequences for anyone that was not mobile-ready.
The initial wave of fear has since passed, but Google has not forgotten. In fact, they even rolled out a phase two of this change in search, and you have probably lost mobile search rankings without even realizing it.
Let's forget about good ol' Mr. G for a moment and just think about your website visitors instead.
Do you think they enjoy having to get out their magnifying glasses just to read your website on their iPhone?
No siree Bob. They just hit the back button instead. There are plenty of other mobile-friendly sites to visit.
Goodbye new visitor!
You also probably read that Mobile search has long since overtaken desktop search too. Here is even a nice chart from Comscore on Smart Insights to prove it:
Charts or not, a mobile-ready website is a must in 2016 and you should be checking yours as soon as you are done reading this post.
How do you do that?
Here are two simple tools that I recommend:
- Google's Mobile Tester (test for SEO)
- Responsive Tester (test to see how your site looks on mobile devices)
So, if you have been ignoring mobile for a while now, take some time to at least check your website. Then, if you do have an issue, you can put it back on top of your list of things to fix.
[tweet_box design=”default”]Stop Ignoring Mobile. Fix Your Website and Your SEO[/tweet_box]
5. You Are Not Really Helping Your Visitors
Are you really focusing on your visitors? Honestly?
Or, are you too busy chasing those Google Analytics traffic numbers again?
The main point of all the changes in SEO in the last few years have been about focusing on your website visitor.
Even if you don't care, Google can keep a very close eye on how happy your visitors are by checking:
- How long are they staying?
- Are they visiting more than one page?
- Are they hitting the back button straight away?
- Do they come back to your website again in the future?
Remember, Google not only have access to search, but also mobile phones, browsers, shopping sites, ads and more. They know a lot about user behaviour, even if it is anonymous.
So, I hope that point is clear: It is all about your visitor.
You have to focus on them by giving them an awesome experience on your website.
I know it sounds like a lot of work, but the good news is that if you do this the rewards in terms of
- increased traffic
- return visitors
- increased sales
will come naturally as a result. So it is win-win really.
How Can You Improve Your Visitor's Website Experience?
Here are a few quick tips you can try to improve your website and keep people coming back for more:
- Clearly formatted content
- Short paragraphs
- Simple English
- Bullet points
- More appealing elements on the page
- Images every 500 words at least
- Video if applicable
- Embedded social media
- An easy to navigate website
- Clear menu with only the most important pages
- Easy to find related content (on blogs and products/services)
- Easy to get in touch
There are a lot more things you could be doing, but I think the above is more than enough to get you started.
And before you ask: yes, this will help your SEO, even if only indirectly.
Remember, it is all about the visitor. Not just about keywords, links and all that technical stuff.
[tweet_box design=”default”]Focus On Your Readers And The Traffic Will Follow[/tweet_box]
SEO Has Changed A Lot
Years ago SEO was very technical and mostly outside the control of the average blog or website owner.
But today, there are lots of things you can do, in every area of your website, to help yourself get more search engine traffic.
So, take one or two of the tips above that you think will work best for your situation and try applying them next time you work on your website or a new piece of content.
And if you want even more SEO tips, be sure to pop over to Mad Lemmings and see how else I can help you rock on SEO.