SEOh-No: Mistakes That Could See Your Business Lose Ground To Competitors

Three of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money, Business/Entrepreneurship and Technology. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a critical component of business these days as it impacts how easily your business can be found on the internet. As such it’s important to have a concrete strategy for your website’s SEO. The following contributed post is entitled, SEOh-No: Mistakes That Could See Your Business Lose Ground To Competitors.

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Starting your own business is the ultimate form of self-expression and self-assertion in a consumer driven capitalist economy. Think of it! An opportunity to untether yourself from a rat race that seems to sap all of your time and energy yet affords you just a few crumbs from the corporate table as remuneration. If you feel underappreciated, undervalued understimulated and quite simply underwhelmed by your day job, you’re not alone. This Gallup Poll a couple of years ago revealed that as many as 85% of Americans hated their jobs. When you’ve worked hard to gain the education, skills and experience that make you such a valuable commodity to any business, it can be enormously frustration when that business only utilizes a fraction of your potential.

Image by Geralt via Pixabay

If you’ve chosen to eschew the 9 to 5 and start your own business, you are one of the few who got off the starting block. The rest are still trying to overcome their fear and trepidation. They cling to their job because it offers them the illusion of security. Of course, that’s not to say that the path of the entrepreneur is risk free. Far from it. New startups have the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads from day one. They know that they have a 50% chance of going under within 5 years. But they also know that they can succeed or fail on their own terms.

SEO and the competitive edge

Competition is understandably intimidating to nascent entrepreneurs. Nonetheless, competition should be embraced and relished. Competition provides a framework for operational excellence. It allows you to be the best that you can be. It lights a fire under you to be better and try harder than your nearest competitor. Competitor analysis allows you to take a detailed look at your competitor’s operations and identify opportunities to do better. It also allows you to see what they’re doing well and how you can up your game to match them in those areas and bring greater value to your clientele.

Yet, the sad truth is that it doesn’t matter how much better you are than your nearest competitor if the target market you share have no idea who you are. Operational quality is certainly not an area in which businesses should cut corners, but it needs to be supplemented with savvy digital marketing which positions you ahead of your competitors in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). The process of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a rich and multifaceted discipline and needs to be applied to every aspect of your online presence. SEO is arguably the key to success in business, whether that business takes place in the online realm or in a physical space. The more you do to bolster your SEO, the greater your potential competitive edge.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding SEO which can lead well-meaning businesses to make poor decisions. And too many of these decisions could see you lose ground to your competitors.

Here we’ll take a look at common SEO and digital marketing mistakes which could damage your visibility and the online reputation of your brand…

You don’t know your needs

When it comes to your SEO and all other aspects of your digital marketing, small business owners are faced with a fundamental choice. Do they build their own in-house team to handle all of their marketing and SEO or do they use an external agency? As you’ll see if you check out this article, one option is not inherently better than the other. However, it behoves you to know your needs before you choose one or the other.

Do you need quick access to the best digital marketing talent or can you afford to wait? Do you have the budget to assemble your own team or would it work out cheaper to go through an agency? Do you know what to look for when recruiting your own team? Is there an agency out there that would fit in for the unique culture with which you want your brand to be associated? Or can you only get this by building your own team from scratch?

This is an important decision which should not be made arbitrarily. It could see you lose your edge to competitors or bury you in overhead costs without due consideration.

You’re doing content marketing… But your focus is all wrong

Many entrepreneurs are aware of the inherent value in content marketing. They know that it can be a great way of both building their brand and climbing up the rankings in SERPs. It can showcase your skills, knowledge and expertise and build value in your brand. Search engine crawlers love big websites which are regularly updated and filled with high quality content. However, to assume that more content = success in SEO can be a gross oversimplification.

Many a well-meaning entrepreneur has unwittingly sacrificed quality for quantity to the detriment of their SEO and their business’ image.

Don’t fall into the trap of writing for algorithms rather than actual readers. Yes, keywords are important but they are by no means the only metric by which your pages are judged by search engines. Crawlers value measures of quality engagement like hit counts, time on page, scroll depth and navigation to other internal links within your site. And this only happens when you create content that users actually want to click on.

Always approach content creation (whether you outsource it or do it yourself) with a customer-first perspective. Create content that is of value to them. If it helps them to overcome a problem they regularly encounter or makes their lives easier they are much more likely to engage with it, leave a comment or share it on social platforms. And those are all big ticks for your SEO.

In a world of text, don’t neglect your images

The quality and uniqueness of your text is vitally important for SEO but that doesn’t mean that you should neglect your images. Images are another useful way to drive traffic towards your pages. However, if you neglect to add alt-text to your image it will be invisible to Google and therefore won’t show up on any image search pages.

Don’t underestimate just how much traffic images can drive to your website.

Image by PxHere

You’re not ready for Mobile-First

We now live in an era where the majority of users will access your website and its constituent pages through a mobile advice rather than a desktop computer. And if you have yet to make your website responsive (optimized for mobile consumption) this could cause your online presence to be overlooked by Google. As of July 1st 2019, the search engine giant will use Mobile First Indexing. This means that competitors with more responsive websites could gain a leading edge over you if you let them.

If you aren’t sure how mobile-friendly your website is, these checks can give you a pretty reliable overview;

• Does it change shape when you resize your browser window?
• Does the source code contain the word “responsive” or “@media”?
• What does Google say? Using Chrome’s developer tools can help you to identify whether or not your site is mobile-ready.

Your web design is slowing your site down

In the mobile age, your target audience has less time and attention to spare you than ever before. They’ll be accessing your site from a mobile device and consuming your content on the go in small, bite-sized chunks. Speed is of the essence and if you can’t offer them a website that is readily accessible and responds promptly to commands on a mobile device, they won’t stick around to wait for it.

Page load times has always been a factor in bounce rates, but today’s consumers are less forgiving than ever. In fact, a page load time of just 5 seconds can increase your bounce rate by almost 40%. Since search engines value time on page and scroll depth, a slow website could prove a real impediment for your SEO.

Fortunately, a few changes at the back and the front end can help to make your page faster and less sluggish to navigate on a mobile device;

• Optimize your code. Minify scripts and get rid of unnecessary characters.
• Optimize your images. Make sure they’re not too big or unwieldy. Use an efficient format like PNG for graphics and keep them at 16 colors or less. It’s also a good idea to use CSS sprites rather than PNG graphics for icons, buttons etc.
• Make sure that your server isn’t bottlenecking your time to first byte.
• Reduce redirects and use a link reclamation service to ensure that your links are healthy and working.

There’s a lack of housekeeping

Finally, simple poor housekeeping can result in issues which are anathema to SEO. Broken links are the most obvious which spring to mind. These imply to search engines that the website is poorly maintained and they will penalize you accordingly. Duplicate content is also a no-no and could land your business with a serious black eye if you are caught plagiarizing content. Keep your content up-to-date and ensure that your links are working and free of redirects.

And don’t be antisocial! Sharing your content on social channels whenever you’ve updated it or posted something new and fresh is a great way to drive traffic.

Avoid these mistakes and you can ensure that your SEO is on top form and that you remain one step ahead of your competo=itors.

Moving Your Marketing Methods into the Modern World

Three of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money, Business/Entrepreneurship and Technology. In today’s digital world, it’s critical to understand how to use the modern technologies to market your brand and business. Not understanding how to do so could be life or death for your operations. The following contributed post is therefore entitled, Moving Your Marketing Methods into the Modern World.

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Nowadays marketing is way more than putting your business advert into a local newspaper or stocking up a sign in the post office. There are so many up and coming methods in the business world that it can be very difficult to keep up with the trends. When it comes to marketing there are so many ways in which your business could succeed or fail. Spending too much money or not being open minded might just be a few of your fall backs that could hinder your business success. Start considering some of the following modern day marketing methods and your business will be set up to thrive, even in the most crowded of industries.

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SEO Savviness

If you’re not already hot on SEO then now is the right time to start doing your research. There are many different ways that you can incorporate the SEO technique into your marketing strategies, one of which is Local SEO Citations. This will involve liaising with a dedicated account manager who will help you to launch your local SEO campaign, which will include everything from your location and phone number to the services you are offering. Getting your SEO on point will help people to find you more easily, so that you stand out from your competitors.

Brand Collaborations via Social Media

Finding a celebrity or blogger who can collaborate with your product and advertise it on the their social media is like gold dust. This is the type of marketing that is becoming hotter than ever right now, so it’s important that you take the right steps to get as involved as you can. Choose someone who is trustworthy and professional to market your product. You will need to negotiate a decent fee for each post and you will provide them with free products and services too. Getting this element of marketing just right will always give you the edge over your competition.

Reviews Mean Everything

It’s true that marketing can be overwhelming at times, so keeping mistakes to a minimum will always be your best bet. As well as minimizing your mistakes you might also want to call upon your previous happy customers to leave positive reviews about you. You can implement these wonderful words into your future marketing strategies and make sure that everybody who might be interesting in spending their money on your products or services can read them loud and proud.

Try to think outside the box when it comes to marketing your business. Whether you have been in this domain for years or you are just starting out, there are so many ways to capitalize on the online marketing world. Make sure you explore all of the options available to you, so that you aren’t leaving anything out. Take to social media and find some worthwhile brand ambassadors or ask your previous clients to leave roaring reviews of your products or services. There are so many ways for you to achieve greatness for your business so grab every marketing opportunity you can and run with it confidently.

Why SEO really is the key to a successful online business

Regardless of what your business is, or what your content is as a writer, it’s critical make your presence known and easy to find. The following guest post comes courtesy of Michael Kordvani. It discusses importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for the success of online businesses. Michael Kordvani can be contacted at michaelkordvani@gmail.com.

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When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), many are aware it’s something that’s supposed to help their online business but very few make time to learn anything about it or to even try. Many tell you they rely on word of mouth marketing or paid advertising that can take a chunk out of your business budget.

It’s a shame that SEO marketing is misunderstood and underused. SEO is a series of techniques designed to make your website easier for both search engines and your visitors to understand. Since search engines don’t see and understand your web pages the way a human can, SEO helps them ascertain what each page is about and why it’s useful to its users. Then it helps the search engines bring their users to you.

5 Ways SEO Helps Your Online Business Succeed

While there are many ways SEO can benefit your online business, here are five of the top ones.

More Clients: With so many websites available for any given product, service, or niche, getting clients can be a challenge. Using solid SEO techniques will improve your ranking in the search engines and make it easier to find. The easier your site is to find, the more potential customers you will receive. With the increased traffic, you will see more conversions.

Mobile Friendly: According to Hitwise, as much as 58% of all search engine queries are conducted on mobile devices and that number will continue to grow. How does SEO factor into that? An entirely new set of SEO techniques, like local search optimization, have been developed to help businesses get their products and services in front of the mobile audience. Choosing to ignore this particular trend is allowing your business to fall behind and out of the minds of today’s consumers.

Reputation Building: Reaching the first page of a search engine is quite an accomplishment and much more than something to brag about. Greater consumer trust is given to pages that are highly ranked. For many customers, if they can’t find a business on the first page of their Google search results, it’s not good enough. SEO boosts your website’s ranking in the search engines, gradually helping you move towards the top of users’ search results.

Brand Awareness: Another great benefit of SEO is that it lets your site appear on relevant pages of the search engines. As your ranking goes up, your site will appear more often at the top of user searches. That increases awareness among potential customers, more of them being aware of you means a higher conversion rate. Getting your SEO optimized content on social media channels too will also help increase your brand’s awareness and inspire consumer trust and loyalty.

Cost Effective: People are often afraid of investing in SEO because they don’t understand it. In educating yourself about the true power potential of SEO, you’ll see that such investment is much like investing in real estate. If you invest wisely in SEO, you get more from it. The remarkable thing is that a huge investment isn’t necessary and it’s very cost effective when compared to what you’d pay for PPC and social media marketing.