So, you’re trying to do you own SEO for your small business? That’s fantastic. There’s a lot of value in that, and if you’re able to do it well, you can really impact your business in a positive manner.
However, there’s also a lot of opportunity to fall into some pretty serious traps that can actually impact your online presence in a very negative way, or even blacklist some of your pages from Google, Yahoo and Bing.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are some helpful tips to avoid “stuffing” and other do-it-yourself SEO traps.
Leave the Stuffing with the Turkey
One of the biggest mistakes that do-it-yourselfers make with SEO is something that Google refers to as “keyword stuffing.” Essentially, it’s when you repeat keyword and SEO phrases over and over in your content without any real relevance. It used to be something that was pretty common-place in the early stages of SEO, but Google shifted their algorithms to focus on quality content of keywords, not just the quantity.
Here’s an example straight from Google of what keyword stuffing looks like:
“We sell custom cigar humidors. Our custom cigar humidors are handmade. If you’re thinking of buying a custom cigar humidor, please contact our custom cigar humidor specialists at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
As a consumer, this content is not only repetitive, but it’s actually extremely obnoxious. However, there are a plethora of small business owners doing their own SEO who have been fed this misconception that the amount of times a word appears in your content is the biggest factor to your rankings, so it continues to happen.
While Google doesn’t explicitly state how much of a negative impact this sort of practice will have on your SEO rankings, they are pretty clear that their spiders and algorithm will catch it and will ding your online presence accordingly.
Multiple Locations Annoy Google, Too
Around the holidays, many of you may be traveling to see relatives and friends at various locations. It’s not uncommon for someone’s Thanksgiving to start Wednesday night at one family get-together, only to rush to another on Thursday morning before jetting off to a final location for Thursday night. That kind of holiday experience seems to make the season kind of difficult, right?
Well, it’s actually the exact same situation with Google and your Google Maps listings.
There’s a common do-it-yourself SEO misconception that having multiple locations for your Google Maps listing helps you rank higher in the Maps section. While there’s some logic behind that – in theory – Google also catches this slightly underhanded attempt to skirt their system.
Perfect example: one of my previous clients serviced all of the San Antonio and New Braunfels area with his business. So that he showed up well for all of the areas, he created five (yes, five!) maps listings at various parts of town. Then, he linked them all to his website and used his business line for each one.
Initially, it worked out pretty well. But as the algorithm caught up, Google realized it was all just duplicate content. By the time he’d come on board with us here at Citywide to fix the problem, all of the maps listings were virtually unsearchable online.
Google hates duplicated content and will catch up to it, so avoid this common mistake when setting up your own do-it-yourself digital marketing.
Know When to Ask for Help
Ever tried to make an entire Thanksgiving dinner by yourself? It’s a LOT of work, right? Unless you’re the homemaker of the year (or just have some really unhelpful friends/family), you probably get at least some help from the guests who will be attending your holidays this year.
Your SEO and digital marketing shouldn’t be any different.
Sure, you can do you own marketing. You can invest the time, energy and mental focus to stay on top of the latest Google updates, SEO trends and online marketing standards. You can learn code, meta tags, schema and all the other Geek-Speak that goes with SEO. But you could also cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner from scratch. You probably don’t want to do that, now do you?
When you start to get in over your head, or start to look for some higher-end level of digital marketing, reach out to an expert. Most SEO companies will give you a free consultation to at least break down what you’re doing now and what improvements can be made.
Here at Citywide, we’re always willing to help with advice, suggestions, or to bring your business in as a full-fledged partner.
Sometimes the single biggest thing to remember when starting a do-it-yourself project (especially one as intricate as digital marketing and SEO) is to know when it’s time to scrap the in-house approach and reach out to a dedicated professional.
That being said, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at Citywide, and remember that we’re always happy to help whenever the workload gets too heavy.