As a new homeowner, I’ve spent a large part of the last several weeks worrying about all kinds of things I’ve never had to think about before—appliance maintenance, lawn upkeep, pest control (to name just a few).
While taking care of these issues is challenging, I have no choice but to stay on top of them because I know any small problems can become big problems surprisingly fast.
Just as I’ve invested a considerable amount of time and energy into my house, you’ve invested a considerable amount of time and energy into your company’s blog. And just as I need to be confident my house isn’t at risk of being flooded by a faulty dishwasher or succumbing to a plague of termites, you need to be confident you aren’t ignoring sneaky search engine optimization (SEO) mistakes that could be negatively impacting your blog traffic.
To avoid seeing your blog fall victim to an avoidable issue, check out these SEO mistakes that could be hurting your blog’s visibility.
Your Content Isn’t in Demand
This is the most important element of a well-executed blog, which is why we’ll start here. Ask yourself a few questions when creating a blog post:
- Has this topic already been discussed by hundreds of other sources
- In other words, can you add anything to the conversation buyers haven’t already read elsewhere?
- Have I discussed the subject clearly and thoroughly?
- When a prospect finishes the article, they should have a firm grasp on the topic.
- Is the subject pertinent to the needs of buyers?
- Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and think about what questions prospects might be asking. Then, create blog posts that provide the answers to these questions.
- Would I want to read this post?
- If the answer is no, your visitors probably won’t want to read it either.
- Is the subject too broad or too narrow?
- If a topic is too broad, your post is likely to get buried in the search engine results, but if it’s too narrow, it’s unlikely buyers are searching for information on it.
To that last point, you can certainly create content that is more targeted without being too restricted—this is especially true if your product or service is highly specialized or in a niche market.
For example, if your business offers travel booking services solely for elementary schools, you should write blog posts such as, “5 Helpful Tips for Teachers Planning a Field Trip” or “7 Hazards to Watch Out for While Traveling with Students.”
While this content may drive less traffic, the topics are hyper-relevant to your audience, which means the visitors viewing the posts will likely be of higher quality and more likely to convert.
Pro Tip: Even if you have helpful, hyper-relevant content, only posting every couple of months is an SEO mistake that can certainly hurt your search ranking.
You’re Not Taking Advantage of Social Media
If you’re not using social media, you’re missing out on a valuable way to boost your reach. Including social sharing buttons on each blog post makes it easy for readers to share your content with their social networks, helping to increase visibility. Promoting new blog posts on your social media pages (including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook) can also help increase traffic.
Your goal should be to create content interesting enough to buyers that they want to share it with others. Their endorsement builds social proof for your blog, which means even more prospects will share your content. This can have a snowball effect:
- Your brand becomes a trusted resource
- Your website authority increases
- Your search ranking improves
You’re Including the Wrong (or Too Few) Keywords
While Google’s search algorithm now favors content quality over the actual number of keywords a page contains, including keywords is still critical.
There are dozens of free keyword research tools out there, but in this author’s opinion, SEMrush is one of the best. SEMrush’s keyword analytics dashboard allows you to not only find related keywords but also see the volume for any search phrase. With this information, you can choose which keyword to be primary (for example, the one you’ll include in the title and metadata of the content) and which relevant phrases to use in the body copy.
As you do keyword research, think about what kind of information you would be looking for if you were a buyer and how you would summarize your search in a few words. You should also consider the assorted ways prospects might phrase a query regarding the same issue. For example:
- “get traffic to your website”
- “how to get hits on my website”
- “increase website visitors”
While each question is phrased differently, the intent is the same: the searcher wants to know how to grow their website traffic. Incorporate these keyword variations into your content to increase the visibility of your posts.
Pro Tip: Don’t make the common SEO mistake of using specific keyword or keywords excessively (a ploy referred to as “keyword-stuffing“) as Google frowns upon this tactic.
You Have Too Few Inbound Links
An inbound link is a link to your site from another website. When industry publications, news outlets and respected sites link to your blog, it provides additional avenues to your posts and introduces your content to a larger audience with similar interests.
Just as you want to increase inbound links to your blog, other brands want to increase the inbound links to theirs. So if you consistently include outbound links to related content on trustworthy blogs, those brands will be encouraged to link to yours. Guest blogging for popular sites is another mutually beneficial strategy since 1) the brand for whom you write gets free content and 2) you can include a link back to your blog in your guest post.
Not only is the quality of your content important for traffic in general, but it’s also a deciding factor in whether or not another site wants to share it with their own audience. For example, a well-designed, data-packed infographic on recent industry trends is much more likely to be shared than a poorly formatted post about a topic that’s already been driven into the ground.
Pro Tip: The number of inbound links isn’t necessarily as important as the quality of the link sources. A few inbound links from reputable authorities are better than dozens of links from lower quality websites.
In addition to the tips above, it’s crucial to stay current on new SEO strategies and algorithm updates. It’s also important to make sure your blog abides by Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to avoid being penalized. A blog filled with interesting and relevant content is a great demand generation tool—just make sure buyers can find it.