I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend (here in the U.S.) with your family. Now, back to work.
Attempting do-it-yourself (DiY) search engine optimization (SEO) is common among industrial companies since they tend to have dedicated IT departments. Can DiY SEO be just as effective as hiring an outside expert? Should IT be handling this task? Those are two very debatable questions but that is a topic for another post.
Here I want to focus on the three most common SEO mistakes that I see when industrial clients contact me for Website optimization. May be I just answered my own questions, if you get my drift.
Mistake #1: Lack of strategy and incomplete keyword research
Most people know about the free Google’s Keyword Tool and use it to do their keyword research. So far so good.
Where DiYers tend to go wrong in using this invaluable tool are:
- Guessing keywords or phrases that they feel would drive a lot of traffic to their sites. Often these are related to the company’s applications, solutions and/or or product names. Or use very broad search terms that would result in a bunch of useless traffic. Very little time is put into doing research on how their prospects and customers actually do their search. The old adage of GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) applies here.
- Focusing only on the search volume and ignoring the competition. Selecting the right keywords and phrases requires striking a good balance between demand (search volume) and supply (search results)
According to a survey done by MarketingSherpa (see chart below), a vast majority of B2B companies consider keyword research key to any successful SEO campaign and are currently practicing it.
However, many of these in-house SEO practitioners did not think a lot of effort was required to conduct effective keyword research in order to produce good results from their SEO campaigns.
One probable explanation for this surprising finding is that many organizations execute incomplete keyword research.
An SEO consultant can help you develop an effective keyword research strategy based on their industry knowledge and expertise. You may be too close to the forest to see the trees.
There are paid keyword research tools like Wordtracker that can automate many of the steps involved in keyword research and are capable of providing you with highly sophisticated analysis to select those keywords and phrases that will produce the best results for your Website.
Mistake #2: Attempting to optimize the Home page for all the keywords
Many DiY SEO practitioners attempt to optimize their Home page for all the keywords selected from their research. Bad idea!
SEO best practices say that you should optimize one web page for one keyword and optimize as many pages of your website as possible for different but related keywords. This strategy will give you the best probability of achieving a top ranking for a targeted and relevant keyword or phrase.
Optimizing different pages within your site for different keywords will help you achieve the best results for each keyword. It is important that the right elements of your web page contain the keyword in the right frequency (keyword density).
If search engines find that your website relates to a particular topic, then it is easier to achieve high rankings for the individual keywords that are relevant to that topic.
For example, the search term “industrial valves” yields 2,180,000 pages in Google. It is going to be very difficult for your Home page to rank high with that kind of competition.
On the other hand, optimizing several pages related to the key phrase “safety relief valves” will help you rank higher and pull in more targeted traffic that is likely to engage with you further. (See my earlier post Driving Traffic to Your Homepage All the Time May Be a Big Mistake)
Mistake #3: Lack of off-site optimization tactics
Here I’m referring to SEO tactics that take place outside your Website. It is rumored that Google and other major search engine algorithms now give more weightage to off-site factors like inbound links and social bookmarking.
Since these tactics seem largely to be out of one’s control, they tend to be ignored by DiY SEOers. Unfortunately, you are going to need both to achieve good organic SEO results.
Yes, it is a time consuming process and requires heavy lifting to build many high quality one-way links from related and authority sites. This is another area where you may need the help of an outside consultant or a company.
Tread carefully! There are plenty of scam artists out there in the field of link building. They’ll take your money in return for getting you a bunch of useless reciprocal and 3-way links.
Whether you choose to hire an outside consultant or do it yourself, the important thing to remember is that natural or organic SEO is a process and not an event. Achieving top rankings and maintaining them consistently require constant monitoring of your site analytics, tweaking, keeping up with and adapting to the ever-changing landscape of SEO.