There’s one beginner SEO mistake you never want to make when starting out with SEO (Search Engine Optimization. It’s easy to make this mistake because we call it search engine optimization.
It’s called search engine optimization but really a small part of it is about the search engine. We need to be calling it visitor optimization or people optimization.
SEO isn’t about the search engine, it’s about optimizing for people and giving them what they’re looking for. A search engines job is to help people find what they’re looking for. Your job is to help the search engine do that.
If you have answers for what people are looking for then you are optimizing for search engines. Of course there’s the less personal part of it but that’s so easy to do now it doesn’t need a lot of knowledge.
There are plugins and tools that take care of the mechanical part of search engine optimization for you on pretty much every content management system.
Before we jump into the details of optimizing your website for search, it’s important to understand what SEO really is.
What Is SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. There are many different aspects of SEO and it’s changing all the time. Optimizing for search engines is often taken in the literal form which leads to the mistake beginners make.
Optimizing for people is what SEO is all about. There are some aspects of SEO geared towards the mechanical aspect of SEO but they aren’t the most important.
SEO is composed of two categories of optimization. The mechanical is important but it’s just that, mechanical. It won’t make a visitor want to read on and it won’t help them take action, either. The only thing the mechanical part will do is help the search engine show people what to expect from your page.
So here are the two categories:
- Proper formatting (title, description, keyword(s), image)
- Choose proper keyword
- Meta data (for Twitter cards & Facebook open graph)
- Evaluate content and re-optimize if necessary.
- Helpful content
- Solve their search (match content with visitor goal)
- Actively promoting your content
- Make it sharable
There are many different components of SEO but not all of them even relate to search directly. With all of this, though, content should remain at the core of your SEO strategy.
The One Beginner SEO Mistake
I already went over the basics of the one beginner SEO mistake people make when just getting started. What’s important to note, though, is that making this mistake will harm you.
Writing your content for search engines and not people will in the end hurt your bounce rate and then ultimately your ranking in search engines.Writing content for search engines won't help you. People read your content, not search engines. Click To Tweet
People are looking for good information, entertainment, or answers. If you don’t offer quality content then visitors will immediately bounce off your site and back to the search engine. That’s not good for you because you didn’t meet their goal and they won’t benefit you in any way because of that.
Ranking number 1 or even number 5 on a search engine is useless unless your content matches the visitors needs. If you can create content that benefits visitors and ranks high, that’s a winning combination.
With quality content that matches visitor’s goals you’ll have a happy visitor which often translates into a newsletter subscription or something even better.
The biggest beginner SEO mistake is trying to rank a page just to get visitors. It’s hard to do and won’t benefit you or your visitor.
There is hope, though. With a few changes in how you create content and your expectations in ranking, traffic to your website will be valuable.
What You Can Do
Change up how you write content. Don’t write with how search engines index in mind, write with what helps people in mind.
Aside from determining your ideal keyword that people might use to find your content, that’s as far as your writing for search engines should go.
To make sure you’re meeting visitors expectations, make sure it has a descriptive title that matches the content. Also, provide all the basic optimization information (title, description, keyword, image) so people know what your content is about and is visually appealing.
Always give a helpful title that fits the content, a helpful meta-description that describes the title, and an image that is visually appealing.
I even take it a step further and write a unique two sentence minimum excerpt for each blog post (it’s longer than the meta-description used by search engines) that gives my blog pages and archive pages unique content that better describes what’s in each blog post.
With a fitting title and description, people clicking on your content will find what they came for. That means they’re more likely to stay and engage with the content and not bounce back to the search engine to continue looking.
Better engagement for your content means you’re more likely to get newsletter sign-ups and less likely to get bounces. If you offer excellent content then people are even more likely to share it which is an important part of search engine optimization.
It’s important to not make the common beginner SEO mistake. You can do that by creating engaging, useful content that’s expected by visitors from search engines and social media.
Create Sharable Content
Creating sharable content will also help optimize your website for search. If your content is sharable, it’s also linkable, which is the biggest reason in getting your content to the top of search engines.
For a small business, the best place you can create sharable content is on a well-crafted blog. Not only will your entire website benefit,
Your content needs to be useful, well crafted, and made for people. If you create great content and do the basics of making it easy for people to share, you’ve taken the first step to creating successful content.
The work doesn’t stop there, though. You’ll have to promote the content beyond just sharing it. Find influencers in your industry and put it in front of them. Over time your content can grow in popularity and your website will build trust with search engines.
Sharing On Social Media
Social media gives you many opportunities to make your content more visible. Twitter lets you share content with rich cards that show a beautiful summary of your content. There are several different card types on Twitter so you can choose how your content is seen.
Facebook lets you define data with open graph tags on your website. If your website is well-defined for Facebook, when someone shares a link to your website, Facebook will make it look good. Facebook goes out and gets the data from your page (if you’ve defined it) to formulate a rich post with picture, title, and summary.
With the right optimization of your website pages, social media offers great opportunities to be seen and you won’t be making the beginner SEO mistake.
Even with great content, it takes time, though.
Grow Your Business Online
Even if you don’t have a website yet, there are opportunities to grow your business online. Growing your email list is a good start but it’s not a long-term solution.
Building a website that successfully promotes your brand online takes the right strategy. Building an audience and reaching customers takes time but is worth it. With great content, you’ll have a residual source of leads for your business.
Eventually, you’ll want to have a professional brand website that not only looks good but helps drive customers to you. If you haven’t yet planned for how your website can grow your business online, we’re available to help with your web design project and to discuss an effective strategy.
It takes time to grow your brand online but with the proper framework and support, you’ll grow your reach to customers who will grow your business.