With bonfire night just behind us, we’ve been thinking about things that ‘should never be forgot’ in the world of digital marketing.
Here’s our round up of some common SEO and SEM mistakes people make that can cause their marketing plans to go up in flames!
SEO mistakes that should never be forgotten!
Search engine optimisation is an ever moving landscape, and it can be easy for website owners to get left behind. There are never ending algorithm updates and regular changes to the way search search engines display information, not to mention spam updates and evolving technologies. While keeping up to date with the latest changes is good for business, there are many typical mistakes that unsuspecting website owners may be falling foul of, completely unaware!
Read on for some of the SEO mistakes that can hurt your online visibility and conversion rate.
Not having a mobile responsive website
Having a mobile responsive website is essential in this day and age. It’s easy to check if your website displays nicely on mobile devices. Simply view your site on any up to date smartphone or tablet or use the website inspection tool. If the elements don’t stack up in a uniformed easy view and you have to zoom in and scroll to read the text, you should be thinking about a redesign.
Why is a mobile responsive website important?
Global mobile internet usage is 59.72% according to Statista, and that is the number one reason why you should ensure that you have a mobile responsive design! With nearly 60% of global internet use taking place on mobile devices, if your site isn’t responsive and delivering a good user experience, then you could be losing out on some serious web traffic. This is especially true for ecommerce websites. Conversions matter, so if your visitors experience a clunky, awkward and uninspiring session, they will simply click away and shop elsewhere.
Furthermore, the search engine that takes the lion’s share of internet users, Google, uses mobile-first indexing. This means that Google will use the mobile version of the site first for indexing and ranking. As a result, a non-responsive design will suffer in the SERPs. This by all means isn't new news, as Google have been doing this since 2019. However, judging from the number of outdated sites on the internet, it appears that many website owners have been left in the dust when it comes to staying on top of website evolution.
If you need a website redesign, there are plenty of tried and tested CMS platforms out there to help you spruce up your site and ensure it is compatible with mobile devices. They include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento and Shopify, plus other well known platforms such as Wix and Squarespace.
It’s worth noting though, that website migration shouldn't be taken lightly. This is because significant changes to your site architecture, content, UX, UI or even switching to a completely new CMS have the potential to disrupt your organic search results, for better or worse.
If done properly, your new site might do a little dance around the SERPs before settling down in a better position. However, if the site migration isn’t taken seriously, you could see your organic positioning tank down the SERPS (search engine results pages). If you need help with website design or migration, then contact us to find out how the team at Bell can help!
Missing & Duplicate Metadata - Page Tiles & Meta Descriptions
Ensuring that you have optimised and compelling unique page titles and meta descriptions is important for SEO. It might seem obvious, but many website owners overlook this aspect.
Understandably, large sites and ecommerce websites can have hundreds or thousands of pages, so keeping on top of a seemingly simple aspect of website maintenance is sometimes not as easy as it might seem.
Why are they important?
Page titles and meta descriptions provide a unique opportunity to promote your product or service in search engine results pages. Think of them as mini text based adverts that are designed to entice a user to click onto your website. They are also a key aspect that indicates to the search engine and user the subject topic of the page or product.
How can you tell if they are missing?
There are many tools available that will crawl your website so you can analyse your metadata such as Screaming Frog, SEMrush, Sitebulb, Ubersuggest, and more. Find the missing or duplicate meta then fix and optimise it to help improve your position in organic search results.
Not setting up canonical URLs
Ensuring you have canonicalized your URLs is something that webmasters often overlook.
So, what exactly is canonicalization and why does it matter?
Search engines, like Google, don’t like duplicate or similar content. This is because if there are two or more pages talking about the same subject matter on one website, it won’t know which page to rank. Furthermore, having duplicate or similar content can cause issues with content cannibalization. Think of this as internal competition within your site with two or more pages competing to rank for the same keyword.
Ensuring you have implemented canonical tags across your site will tell the crawl bots where to find the master URL (the canonical URL). If you don’t implement canonical tags then the search engine will choose the page that it deems to be the canonical URL, which may be different to what you have intended.
SEM mistakes that should never be forgotten!
If you’re using paid advertising to support your web presence and drive revenue, then here’s a brief summary of some common SEM mistakes that should never be forgotten!
Setting up very high CPCs compared to allocated budget
To make profitable conversions through PPC, you need to make sure you keep a close eye on your CPC. Cost per click can go up or down depending on factors such as competition and seasonal changes, and what used to be affordable may not be so affordable now! If the cost outweighs the profit, then you can find yourself in a sticky situation.
Why is CPC important?
Your cost per click will define how quickly you use up your daily budget. If you are bidding on expensive keywords and have a low budget, then you can expect to see your budget disappear quickly, resulting in your website having to rely on organic traffic to see it through the rest of the day.
On mobile devices, paid ads dominate small screens and this combined with searcher laziness and unwillingness to scroll down a page will mean that you risk losing potential traffic to your competitors if you’ve run out of budget.
How can you fix this?
There are some tricks of the trade to help you overcome expensive CPCs such as:
- Research less competitive keywords to target - Less traffic doesn't always mean less conversions and if you tailor your ads to target mid to long tail keyphrases you could achieve a better conversion rate because your ad may be aligned more with the users' search queries.
- Focus on improving your Quality Score - Ensure your ad is relevant to user intent and that your landing page experience is satisfying.
- Analyse your data - Look at your data to see what kind of users are clicking through and whether or not they convert. You may find that the demographic isn’t hitting your sweet spot, in which case you may be better off putting some or all of your budget into a different advertising platform or reworking your ads to better target your desired audience.
Using the wrong keyword match types
A common mistake people make when implementing a Google Ads campaign is selecting the wrong keyword match types. Here’s a few examples:
If you select broad match types, you may get a lower CPC but you could end up spending your budget on clicks that don’t turn into conversions. This is because although the competition is lower, the relevance to the user can be less, meaning you can end up wasting money. If you are using broad match, be sure to exclude search terms that will send the wrong audience your way by using negative keywords.
Selecting the exact match keyword type will mean that your ad will only appear if the user types in the exact phrase. This keyword match type tends to be more expensive on a CPC basis and you will get less traffic, but relevance will be higher meaning you have a better chance to convert the click into a sale. This is OK if you are looking to drive traffic to sell one very specific product type but it isn't so helpful if you want to appeal to a larger audience.
If you run an ecommerce site it is especially important that you check your stock inventory when using exact match. There’s no point driving users to your site for them to discover the item is out of stock. A loss for you and a waste of time for your potential customer!
When using phrase match, you must be really careful when selecting which phrases you want to target. This is because if a user types a phrase but their search has an additional word in the middle of it, your ad won’t show up! It will however show if the additional word is before or after your phrase.
With phrase match, the best way to optimise your ad campaign is to think like a user. You can even look at your analytics data to find out how people search for your products or services and then amend your key phrases to reflect real user searches to give you a better chance of your ad appearing.
Need help with your digital marketing?
If you’ve found your business has been making costly marketing mistakes and you need expert help to turn things around, contact our team who can help to kickstart your marketing campaign.