“Are you for real?”
I couldn’t believe my eyes! I was absolutely dumbfounded at the report I was looking at:
And the list goes on. There are over 60 if you want the complete list (happy to share as sharing is caring).
We had just picked up a new client who wanted us to get them more leads through the door and better SEO results. They had been using another company “to do SEO” and paying them $40,000 per year, and funnily enough, getting no results.
As these were the backlinks they had built for them…
The list above is a snippet of the backlinks that they had built for them, and they are atrocious! Not one was from Australia with a .com.au (given the client is Australian and only servicing Australia), the client certainly isn’t in the accommodation space nor in California (apartments-California has nothing to do with their business). BD Steel Co – nope, nothing relevant there either, Hot Rods – I don’t think so Tim.
For the purpose of this exercise, let’s just call them “Sensis”
Now obviously I’m going to change the name to protect the guilty ( “No I’m not” I say in a whisper), but I’m continually dumbfounded that people can make the sorts of mistakes that are so easily avoided with a little common sense (my guess is they have offshored their work and the person thought they were an American company).
So… drum roll please…
6 Biggest SEO Mistakes and How to avoid them
After being in business for 17 years, being a client of over 6 SEO companies and building, running and growing two of my own digital marketing agencies, I thought it was time I shared the biggest mistakes that business and agencies make with SEO and how you can ensure good long term growth in results.
1. They Forget the Essence…
Of why Google exists. In order to get amazing SEO results, you need to keep in the back of your mind at all times, that google exists to:
“Find, share, categorise, organise and prioritise the world’s information that is most relevant to the person searching” – Ben Hirons
Okay, yes, I did just quote myself, but hey, currently nobody else wants to, so I’ve decided it has to start someday, and today is that day. I haven’t written it word for word from googles annual report, but it’s something along those lines. This has to form the basis of all great SEO work because that is ultimately what you need it to do for you. We need to build you into the foremost authority, expert, specialist company and people in your field. A couple of points to note:
- Yes, we need to turn you into an expert in your field;
- Be most relevant to the person searching (see section 4 below around knowing your target audience);
- Find and Share – we need to turn up day after day and create and share ideas, information and suggestions.
2. “I Dunno”
If I had a $1 for every time I asked a business what their SEO company is doing each week, each month, for their $2000 per month and I got the response “I Dunno”, you know what I would be. The process of SEO is a very simple, logical and tangible marketing activity. Not knowing what your SEO company is or isn’t doing on any given week is reprehensible. They are no different to a staff member in that they must have accountability, planning and management.
“You must know exactly what they are doing as it’s your brand on the line.”
And you might be a little horrified with some of the things they are doing.
3. This is Serious sh^t
SEO is the effective (and serious) marketing of your business to your target audience in its simplest form. Outsourcing that to a company that hires 18 year old’s out of the Philippines to do some “SEO” is not serious work. Not to mention that what they do, once done, stays online forever and can have lasting and far-reaching consequences for your business.
See Note 2 above.
“This is your business, do good sh^t. Ignorance is no excuse.”
4. “Our Customers are female, aged 18 to 80” (the biggest mistake in our book)
No, they’re not! Not having clarity and excellence in your marketing strategy is the single biggest mistake that is made when people do SEO. Until you get this right and clear, you actually can never do well with SEO.
Who are you selling what to!
Ultimately SEO is all about Google seeing your business as the most important, which means you are marketing your business better than your competitors, which means you have absolute clarity in your marketing strategy.
- Who – Who are our clear, defined and specific target audiences?
- You will never rank well selling to all people => get specific
- What – What value are you really providing to people
- What’s the difference you want to make in the world
- What’s the emotional connection your customer is going to make with you
- How – How are we going to communicate to them, through what channels
- Clearly defined customer journey of touchpoints
- Who – Who are our clear, defined and specific target audiences?
“You must have an excellent marketing strategy in place to do well in SEO.”
5. Creating content for the sake of creating content
If I had a $1, oh I’ve already used that line. So… if a tree falls in the wood, does it make a sound? Okay enough catchy one-liners, do not, under any circumstances create content for the sake of creating content. All too often I hear, “Our agency is creating 2 blog articles a month for us” and, being blunt, this is not a good approach. In business you don’t do anything for the sake of doing it – there has to be a method (and reasoning) to the madness, and content is no different.
- It has to have a purpose – it has to add value (in line with your value proposition discussed above) to your target audience. It has to be impactful content;
- It must be ‘searched’ for – the content must address core information that your target audience is searching for, as this is what we want your content to appear in the search results for;
- It must be great – there is so much content out there, producing mediocre, average content doesn’t cut the mustard – don’t do it unless you are going to do great (see Point 6. below which addresses this point).
6. Don’t outsource content!
This is definitely a bit of controversy in this one. But it is our option (humble though it may be), that you can’t outsource your content. You can outsource the sprucing up, formatting, people to give you a hand making it, but the essence of the content needs to come from you, your head, your teams experience, the 20+ years that you have eaten, slept, breathed your industry and all that you know of it. You are the expert! It’s time to share what’s in your head.
7. Bonus track! “It’s not a competition”
Whoever started telling their kids this, should be shot (okay slight exaggeration….)! Of course it is a competition, life is a competition, survival (and prospering) of the fittest. And SEO (ie marketing) is no different. You need to do everything better, faster, quicker and of a higher quality than your competition, as this is what Google is judging you on. He is evaluating you versus the next guy and the best will be displayed higher up on the search results.
Speaking of competition…
You should only be focusing on products and services that you have a clear competitive advantage in. Don’t focus on a product that twenty other people stock the exact same make, model and brand and theirs is 20% cheaper. Focus on the game that you can win at!
Get your complimentary SEO strategy review. Book in your 30 min appointment now!