In our tech-savvy world, most of us use the internet to find solutions to our problems.
According to Ahrefs data, at least 68% of all online experiences start with a search engine.
If your site can’t easily be found when an internet user types in a relevant search query, that means you’ll be missing out on huge earning opportunities.
It’s not necessarily enough that your site appears in search results, either. Backlinko tells us that the site that nabs the number one spot on a search engine results page (SERP) has an average click-through rate of 31.7% – representing a huge traffic share.
Backlinko notes that the site with that coveted first spot is 10 times more likely to receive a click than the site that appears in the last spot on that first page. What’s more, only 0.78% of Google users will ever click on sites that appear on the second page of SERPs.
So what does that tell us?
That optimizing your website is crucial to your success.
While it’s important to have a firm grasp on the SEO basics, search engine optimization is complex and ever-evolving.
As such, you’ll want to stay on top of the latest trends and avoid common pitfalls that could derail your strategy.
Whether you’re new to the world of SEO or you simply need a refresher for 2021, here are just three major mistakes you’ll want to avoid when optimizing your site.
Forgetting About Mobile Users
In case you haven’t noticed, we’re more dependent on our smartphones than ever.
In 2020, our screen time hit new heights, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But even before this global health crisis ever took place, mobile use was on the rise.
According to Think With Google, over half of all web traffic now comes from mobile devices.
Still, there are countless websites that provide a subpar experience for mobile users.
And if you ignore mobile customers, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.
When a site is slow, hard to navigate, or provides an otherwise frustrating situation for mobile users, they’ll have no problem abandoning your site and buying from a competitor instead.
Even Google prioritizes the mobile experience in 2021. Not only has its mobile-first indexing rule taken effect, but its recent Page Experience algorithm update means mobile-friendly design is more vital than ever.
Simply put, you need to cater to mobile customers. That means you should implement responsive web design, for one thing. This ensures you’ll have a site that provides a consistently great experience across any device and that automatically adjusts depending on how the site is being viewed.
You’ll also want to consider optimizing for voice search, as mobile users are more likely to take advantage of this technology.
If you make sure your content helps mobile users find you and that your web design incorporates mobile-friendly principles, you’ll likely improve your Google search rankings and provide the value that customers expect.
Using Outdated Tactics
Because internet user behavior changes rapidly, that means SEO best practices often change rapidly, too.
The optimization tactics that worked well five years ago are now considered antiquated at best – and dangerous at worst.
Believe it or not, certain techniques can get you into hot water with the Powers That Be at Google.
Using outdated and deceptive techniques like keyword stuffing, content spinning, and spammy link-building won’t improve your results. In fact, they’ll likely hurt your ability to rank.
Google has gotten better and better at catching these underhanded maneuvers. Those dreaded algorithm updates are often geared toward making sure that the most valuable websites are rewarded (and the ones that try to cheat the system are punished).
Unfortunately, many business owners who take a DIY approach to SEO may find this out the hard way. In other situations, manipulative marketing companies may promise impossible results and risk what the brand has built just to get paid.
Yes, SEO is a necessity – but that doesn’t mean it should come at any cost. Be sure that your team is following Google’s current best practices to avoid a possible penalty.
Setting Unrealistic Expectations
Whether you join a white label SEO program or attempt to optimize your site on your own, you should have a clear understanding of how SEO is meant to work.
While it’s easy to become frustrated when you don’t see results right away, that’s actually not what you want with SEO.
SEO is meant to be a long-term solution to improve your brand visibility and organic website traffic. You want to build trust both with human users and Google bots. By providing valuable information and optimizing with relevant keywords, you can improve your ranking over time.
However, that’s not going to happen overnight.
It typically takes months to see real results from SEO. That said, small improvements can be made that’ll set your progress in motion within weeks, in many cases.
Still, you can’t expect to make major strides within a matter of days.
But don’t let that discourage you! Some people assume that SEO “just doesn’t work” because they don’t give it enough time to take effect.
If you stay the course and put in consistent effort, you’ll provide more value for your customers and show Google exactly why your site deserves a great ranking.
In the digital age, we often expect to get what we’re after in mere minutes. With SEO, you’ll need a bit more patience – but we promise it’ll be worth it.
Search engine optimization is no longer optional. But that doesn’t mean your strategy will be simple to execute. If you avoid these three mistakes and follow professional guidance, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your target audience and improving your standing in search results.