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6 common SEO mistakes made by small businesses

Ever asked yourself “why is my website not ranking?” Are you flummoxed by Facebook or too busy to Tweet? Well, we might have some handy hints and tips here at Trendzer HQ.

Our online marketing consultants have put together a quick guide that features 6 SEO and social media sins: these errors are often made by small businesses. Take a look and see if you’re guilty of any of the following mistakes: we offer some solutions too, because we’re cool like that!

Without further ado, let’s make sure that you’re not guilty of…

1. Thinking your website is “complete”

Shock bomb number one: your website should never really be considered “complete” if you want to get ahead online. Your web development company may send an email to say your new website has been “finished”, but that only really applies to the build process.

To keep your site competitive, you should always be looking for ways to improve and expand it so that your visitors enjoy their browsing time more and other websites link to it. And that means you need to add new content regularly, whether that means expanding on your services or offering advice in a blog.

Suggestion: if you aren’t a confident writer, try asking a colleague, friend, or family member who is; make use of grammar and spell checkers to help with your content.

2. Using duplicate content

We’re not saying you were thinking of this, but if you thought a short-cut to fast site expansion was copy-pasting content from somewhere else: think again! Duplicated content from third party sites is a quick way to ensure that your site will definitely rank behind someone else’s.

Meanwhile, duplicating your own content from page to page will create a repetitive reading experience for site visitors. You run the risk of turning human users off, while simultaneously letting Googlebot detect the duplication and factor “poor user experience” in ranking evaluations.

Suggestion: check our guide to writing content for the web, which has some great free tools.

3. Wanting “more traffic”

“What?!?” I hear you howl as the second shock bomb drops: “how on Earth can wanting more traffic be a mistake?” Well, in simple terms, there’s no point in attracting ever-more people to your website if they aren’t converting into customers.

It’s been known for small business owners to be astounded when they peek at their Analytics stats and learn that they have hundreds or thousands of site visitors each month. And yet their phone barely rings and their contact form is never filled out.

Never forget that you don’t really want “more traffic”, you want “more paying customers”. If your website isn’t delivering the results you anticipated, take a long hard look at it with someone else’s eyes and see if it really encourages people to become a customer.

Suggestion: make sure each page has at least one Call to Action that steers customers towards engagement or a sale; put a special offer online to find out if your customers are using your site mainly for window shopping.

4. Starting social media accounts and leaving them inactive

Shock bomb number three: social media is about social interaction! We’ve mentioned it before, but there is no point in getting a Facebook page or a Twitter account for your business unless you actively use it. You’d be as well getting some magic beans down at the local market to help with your SEO.

That’s not to say that you need to spend hours every day Tweeting, Liking and Pinning. But without some kind of interaction, there’s no reason why people should follow you or remember your business.

Suggestion: plan a block of time each week to look at your social media pages; if you don’t have enough time to update them, think hard about taking them down – they can have the same effect as dirty toilets in a food or retail outlet.

5. Not linking social accounts to your website

So, you’ve put in the effort and maintained your Facebook page like a well-tended garden. Magnificent! But it’s not fully serving its purpose if you haven’t posted a link to your website.

That’s right: unless you have an active Facebook shop, then you really should be driving your social efforts to bleed over into your website traffic. That doesn’t mean you need to scream “VISIT OUR WEBSITE!!!” on every post – far from it. The hard sell is a big no-no.

But you should make sure that you have an accurate link to your home page in your profile, wherever that particular social network locates it. And on those 20% of posts that are selling your company, make sure to put a relevant link in your post.

Suggestion: if you’re too busy for social, try finding a friend or colleague who has the time; you could also consider scheduling posts during a quiet time using free software like HootSuite or TweetDeck.

6. Buying multiple websites with the same goal in mind

Shock bomb number four: multiplying the number of websites you own increases the number of work that you will need to do to run them effectively. Take all of the efforts we’ve already mentioned and apply them again to your second website (or third if you’re really committed to burning money).

Next up, factor in the last point about unifying your online presence with relevant links. How much less possible is it when you are trying to link your social pages to three separate websites?

Finally, it can be considered spamming the internet, particularly if you use near-identical content from site to site. You really are better off improving the depth and quality of your content on one site that demonstrates your company’s full range of expertise.

Suggestion: read Hubspot’s guide to why having multiple websites is killing your business.

That’s all for now!

Hopefully, we’ve provided some helpful insights and good suggestions to help ensure that you aren’t committing any cardinal crimes against the small gods of SEO and social media. Bookmark our blog page and check in every week for more handy hints and tips – we post weekly on a variety of issues from design ideas to off-page optimisation.

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