Business owners, CMOs, marketing VPs – step up to the plate. If your website is falling below page one in Google, or struggling to rank at all, you may feel like your digital marketing efforts are at a loss. You may be losing quality traffic and qualified leads or sales to your competitors. You may be lacking the online visibility you need to stay afloat.
When rankings fall short, online visibility suffers—and vice versa. According to a recent Hubspot survey, the top-three positioned results on a search query receive over 60 percent of all search clicks. And on average, 75 percent of users do not scroll past the first page of organic search results.
Google uses an ever-changing algorithm to rank the most relevant, credible websites first on their SERP. Today, there are well-over 200 “ranking signals” used to determine whether you will rank above your competitors in the search results. And these signals are constantly evolving. The question is, how can you keep up? Amongst a content-saturated web, how can your website stand out?
Right now, you may feel like you are doing all that you can to get your website to the top of the SERP – stuffing your content with highly-searched keywords, assigning link-building exercises to your marketing team, churning out blogs on a weekly basis. Yet still, the return on your investments is minimal.
If you feel like you’re losing the game of SEO, it may be time to step back and review the bigger picture. Consider what you are focusing on, but also what you may be missing. Evaluate your SEO strategy and ask yourself how it ties into your other marketing campaigns. Does it at all?
To help guide your digital marketing efforts, Synapse SEM has compiled six of the most common SEO mistakes we’ve seen bring down content marketing strategies:
SEO Mistake #1: There is no relationship between your content marketing and SEO strategies.
Perhaps one of the greatest strategic mistakes you can make when it comes to search engine optimization is keeping SEO a standalone strategy. SEO is just one key component to search engine visibility – and it cannot be successfully executed without quality content and the foundation of a solid content marketing strategy in place.
While very different entities, SEO and content marketing in fact go hand-in-hand. It is search engine optimization that will help your content reach target audiences, your content that will influence your readers, and your content marketing plan that will ensure those users either convert or come back. You cannot successfully have one without the other.
Recent studies have shown that content marketing leaders experience nearly 8 times more unique website traffic than non-leaders today. To be a content marketing leader, you must do more than produce content. You must produce consistent, quality content that engages your target markets. You must marry this strategy with your SEO efforts in order to properly distribute your content to the right buyers, just as they are looking for it.
SEO Mistake #2: You are not using data to plan your content.
As a business leader, you want each piece of content on your website to both appeal to as well as engage potential buyers. That said, you must plan your content accordingly. Before scheduling your next whitepaper or blog posts with your content dev team, try looping your SEO and SEM team into the conversation. Together, work on planning content around the keyword phrases that will most benefit your target markets. Which phrases have converted in the past? Which keywords generate the most volume and the most interest?
SEO Mistake #3: You are missing the competitive mark.
When is the last time you checked in on how your competitors are ranking? Next time you find yourself in Google, take some time to do so. In an incognito window, manually search some of your highest priority and competitive keyword phrases. Are any competitors ranking above your website? If so, what are they doing that you are not?
There are several SEO tools that can be leveraged to get competitive in the organic SERP. Ahrefs, for example, is a backlink checker and competitor research tool that will actually show you how many more inbound links you need to rank above your competitors for a particular keyword.
Competitors’ SEO rankings can be used as a creative content and SEO advantage. On one hand, you can see how they are structuring their meta tags and webpage content, as well as what types of content they are creating: whitepapers, infographics, blog posts and more. Even more, you can use competitor websites to discover new keyword themes that may be lacking in your current content efforts. Talk to your SEO team about which tools can be used to “spy” on your competitors’ organic keyword sets.
SEO Mistake #4: You are overlooking gaps in your content.
Content gaps are ancillary keyword themes that are currently lacking on a given website. They can be identified by evaluating competitor websites, looking at your current organic rankings, and determining where you have the most ranking opportunity. Are you ranking on page 2 in Google for a high priority keyword theme? This may be because you do not have enough supplemental content to support it. Identifying this gap and building out keyword-centric content accordingly, can help you push organic rankings. All the while, it can serve as a great effort to produce fresh and relevant content for your audience.
Doing a comprehensive content gap analysis will allow you to identify major ranking opportunities and returns for your website. If you are ranking at the top of page 2 in Google for the keyword ‘marketing software’, for example, you may consider creating a clear-cut content plan around that keyword theme. Any supplemental ‘marketing software’ themed content you publish, then, will help you gain more relevance on that keyword and boost your SEO rankings to page 1.
SEO Mistake #5: You are relying too heavily on high-volume keywords.
Another all too common SEO mistake is an overreliance on high volume keyword rankings. While extremely important for organic (and therefore, free) traffic, search volume is only one of many KPIs to think about when reviewing your SEO and content marketing strategies.
If you are optimizing your webpages for only high-volume, competitive keywords, and getting frustrated with the lack of results, this especially pertains to you. We know—it can be easy to get caught up on high-traffic keywords when optimizing your website content, but keep in mind that a lot of traffic does not always mean quality traffic.
High volume does not always mean more traffic, either. Let’s say you are trying to rank for a generic keyword phrase that has an average of 100,000 monthly searches. Remember that thousands of other websites may be trying to rank for this keyword phrase, too. If you do not have a high domain authority, you may get lost amidst bigger names and more distinguished brands. And if other authoritative web pages (say, Wikipedia or Capterra) are taking up page one for a given query in Google, your chances of ranking are little to none.
So rather than going after the generic term, target keyword phrases where competition is comparable. Try to tailor your optimizations to very specific and relevant keyword themes, even if it means sacrificing some search volume. Often, it is these keywords that bring more quality traffic and will drive your online lead generation. In fact, you may actually see an increase in qualified traffic by implementing this strategy.
SEO Mistake #6: You do not have a sound internal linking strategy in place.
You can churn out content for your website every single day, but without interlinking all that content together, your efforts may fall short. Internal linking is a crucial part of an SEO strategy as well as a content marketing plan for several reasons:
For one, internal links help users navigate your website. Through the use of internal links, you can direct users to priority pages on your site – such as an asset or a demo page – and lead them to conversion. If you create a great Buyer’s Guide eBook, for example, you can use blog posts and other related content to direct users to the download page. This internal linking approach not only users, but also contributes to your business and larger lead generation strategy – by directing relevant, qualified contacts directly to contact and download forms.
Internal links also help search engines better crawl your domain. Failing to internal link to pages within your site architecture can make it nearly impossible for search engines to index your pages accordingly. To put it simply, if you do not have a single link pointing to your page, search engine crawlers will not be able to reach it nor rank it.
One of the greatest benefits of internal links is that they help disperse link equity across your domain. Through internal links, you can build any given page’s authority and therefore its chances to rank in the organic SERP. Keyword-rich anchor text on those internal links further supports this approach. By using target keywords in your hyperlinked text, you can tell crawlers what a page is about and increase your chances to rank for a given query.
When it comes to digital marketing, it is the little things that make all the difference— There are hundreds of ranking factors determining how your business will stand in Google; what feels like the slightest mistake could be all that it takes to weaken your rankings and push your competitors ahead. That said, it is very important that you are aware of – and equipped to address — these common SEO mistakes.
To learn how Synapse SEM can help improve your content marketing strategy, you may complete our contact form or call us at 781-591-0752.