Good search engine optimisation (SEO) can be a bit of a mystery, especially for small businesses. There are many reasons why your site may not be ranking highly. Check out these common mistakes and try our quick fixes to boost your search engine ranking:
Unfortunately, many people fall at the first hurdle when optimising their website for search engines. The main issue is usually a focus on keywords that are too broad. If you’re trying to rank for competitive terms like ‘hairdresser’ and ‘Italian restaurant’ it’s unlikely your website will ever be ranked in the first few pages of search engines.
Quick fix: Use keyword research tools such as Ubersuggest to get to get ideas of more specific keywords to aim for. Try to focus on your local area – you’re more likely to rank for a local search like ‘hairdresser in Brixton’, and people who find you with a more specific search term are more likely to convert into paying customers.
Perhaps you have the right keywords, but you’re overusing them. Many people wrongly think that the more they mention their keywords, the better. Search engines can easily pick up on an unnaturally high use of keywords and will penalise your site by lowering its rankings or even by de-indexing it in some cases.
Quick fix: Read your content aloud to determine whether it sounds natural. If you’ve dropped your keywords in so often that it does not read well, it’s likely search engines will pick up on this. Rewrite your content so it is actually of use to customers, and use your keywords only where it’s natural to do so. Whatever you do, don’t have a list of keywords tucked away in the depths of your site or ‘hidden’ in any way. Search engine crawlers will find it and flag it up. If you’ve been doing this, delete it now.
Search engines today are incredibly intelligent, and will easily pick up on any duplicate content on your website – whether it’s a copy of content from another site or one of your own web pages. Search engines will determine which content is newest and will push that page down the rankings as punishment.
Quick fix: Go through your site and delete any text you’ve ‘borrowed’ from anywhere else. Make sure any content you wrote yourself is not repeated anywhere else on the site. Of course, using your slogan a few times won’t make a difference, but having several pages with identical content will.
Generic titles & headers
Headers and title tags are the first place search engines look to determine what your site is about, so it’s important to put keywords there. But remember, don’t just list your keywords in here, use them naturally.
Quick fix: Check to see whether your page titles still have generic names such as ‘home’ or ‘new page’. If they do, change them to include a description of your business. Be sure to use a unique title for each page. The following format is simple and effective: ‘Home | Smith and Co. | Builders in Birmingham’.
It’s important to have other websites link back to your site in order to boost your SEO ranking. However, the quality of these sites is important if you’re going to get any value from these backlinks. Links from low quality or irrelevant sites could actually be dragging your site down in the search engine rankings.
Quick fix: Use a free tool like OpenSiteExplorer to see which sites are linking back to yours. If any of them have a particularly low page authority, they might be damaging your reputation. If you’ve been posting your link on irrelevant directories or sharing it in comments on irrelevant blogs, now is the time to stop.