Gulf Coast Local Blog


Top 11 Mistakes To Avoid When Using SEO
search engine optimization SEO graphic

What good is a website if no one can find it? Today, most businesses recognize the need for a website and the importance of ranking well in search. But how can you be sure your website gets top listings in a competitive marketing world? The answer is strategic search engine optimization (SEO)

Well-deployed SEO helps cut through all the noise to get your website found by its intended audience. 

While optimizing for search engines is a crucial component to your business’ success, there are several mistakes that must be avoided. Otherwise, you could actually end up hurting your SEO efforts.

Here’s a quick overview of the top mistakes to avoid when leveraging SEO for your company’s best success online.

1. Keyword stuffing

a. This used to be a regular technique in search engine optimization where a webpage had “keywords” (popular words used in search queries) placed all over the site in metatags or in the content. However, Google soon  realized that the number of keywords on a site did not necessarily equate to a valuable resource for the web user. Currently, keyword stuffing is viewed as a black hat technique and an attempt to manipulate a site’s rankings in search results. This can potentially cause a site to be banned or penalized in search engine rankings.

b. An example of keyword stuffing is below:

 keyword stuffing - bad SEO
Image source: 

2. Keyword research or lack thereof. 

Many companies these days are telling people to just write naturally and not worry about keywords, but there is a deep value in using the search algorithms to your advantage. Having quality content on a website is the leading factor for making a website useful and popular for visitors. Keywords need to be researched and selected first before any writing begins in order for the content to read naturally. 

3. Not Using Long Tailed Keywords.

Long tail keywords, or descriptive phrases, are keywords too. They are much more likely to rank well in search results than short tail keywords. Why? Because people are getting much more specific in their searches, and keyword optimization should follow suit. You may get fewer hits, but the hits you get will be from web users that are much further down the road towards taking action than those that were only searching for one general word. It’s also much more achievable to get a webpage to rank highly on the search engine listings for long tail keywords because the competition is not as high as it is for general one word terms. Just think about the intention difference between someone searching for “Mobile Bay” versus “Mobile Bay charter boat tours Fairhope AL”. The specific search query is more likely to reflect a shopper who knows what they’re looking for and is closer to a purchase decision.

4. Not adding fresh content to your site.

Okay, so now you have a stellar website with dynamic content and optimized keywords ready to rock the socks off of users. But before you expect to be listed on that first page of search results on Google, and ideally the top three listings, you need to understand the importance of updating the content on your site regularly. If you’re not regularly updating your website, search engines are not going to continually notice you. Each time you add something new to your site, it’s a beacon calling the web crawling search bots to come back around to index your site, which in turn gives you better chances of higher search rankings. 
How can you add new content to your site? Writing blog articles, providing downloads and adding new web pages are good examples. But these content updates need to be on a regular basis, and the content needs to be reliable and valuable information in order to have a better chance of your site ranking higher with each update. 

How often is often enough? Typically, a frequently updated site is considered one that is updated once a day, or at least two to three times a week. These updates can be as simple as making minor changes on your site, but the easiest and most effective ways to get noticed are to add blog articles with images that will get the attention of your viewers. As a bonus, if users comment on your blog, this counts as an update on your site too. 

5. Weak Content

Search engines have begun devaluing the ranking in search results of websites that have don’t have much content. It used to be a common goal to keep blog posts around 300 words, but now the world’s leading brands and marketing analysts agree that longer form content actually boosts SEO rankings because of its added value to the readers. Thus, somewhere on your website, a strategy should be to include content that goes up to 1,500 words, with of course, the necessary optimization of meta descriptions, image tags, and other text formatting. 

6. Duplicate Content

Duplicate content refers to content that appears on the Internet in more than one place. This can be text that copies verbatim content found on other parts of your own web page, but more importantly, found on other webpages. Obviously, plagiarism is highly frowned upon, and the search algorithms are engineered to penalize sites when duplicate content is found. It’s completely okay to quote or insert a block of text from another source as long as you attribute to it in a link, like we do on our blogs all the time. 
Another situation that creates red flags is when you publish guest posts on other sites. For the most part, it’s okay to use the majority of the content, but you need to make sure that some of the content is altered to make what Kissmetrics calls an “evil twin.”

7. Broken Internal Links

Internal links are places on your website where you can have content from one of your web pages link to other content on another page on the same website. It should only be used if there is a real connection between the two pages. When done correctly, internal linking is considered good SEO practice. It helps keep users on your page longer by linking to the internally referenced pages, but mainly it is a routine step in SEO because it helps the search engines crawl your sight and verify that your content is valuable to readers because of the linked connections. 
However, when internal links are broken and users and web bots get a “404 Error” page, it’s a red flag that the content lacks value. “404” pages are damaging to your website’s credibility, and search engine crawl interruptions can lower your site’s ranking and decrease its visibility. You can check for broken links on your webpage by using this web validator tool. No one, users or web crawlers, like to see this message:

webpage error 404 meessage

8. Black Hat Backlinking and Lack of Link Building.

Backlinks, or inbound links, are links on outside websites that link to your webpage.  It’s an important SEO strategy to acquire these links that point back to your site, but not so long ago, this practice was tarnished with people buying low quality links to get listed on sketchy website directories. Link farms, as they were dubbed, became so popular that Google made algorithm changes to specifically penalize websites that did this. Finding quality web directories and acquiring citations and reference links from websites in the same industry are the smart way to go about doing this. Search engines can tell if you’re trying to trick them into promoting your website. While it’s better to have no links than bad links, there are still many tools, time consuming as they may be, to help get your site the quality backlinks Google values. But remember, content first, links later.

9. Incomplete On-Page SEO 

On-page SEO refers to items like keywords, quality content, and fresh updates added regularly, as mentioned earlier, but it also includes the technical aspects of filling out the meta descriptions, title, and image tags with a chosen keyword, as well as including your keyword or keyword phrase ideally within the first paragraph. Ensuring you have consistent brand messaging throughout the webpage is also important.

10. Not Utilizing Social Media

For a business to maintain credibility these days, it needs to be online on social media. It’s a great avenue for building brand awareness, retaining loyal customers and fans, and sharing all those wonderful webpages and blogs you’ve optimized on your website. By sharing your website content on social media, search engines discover there are more places to find that content, thus boosting the number of listings that pop up when people search for products or services matching your content. 

Social media icons iPhone 

11. Not tracking or measuring your progress.

It’s important to know how your SEO is performing. Using Google Analytics or other software is essential to monitor the rate of change so steps can be made to amend any low-performing webpages. Conversion goals, keyword monitoring, and weekly reports are invaluable tools to determine if you’re making progress or not.

Customizable SEO Services That Deliver Results

Search engine optimization may seem daunting at first, but the benefits far outweigh the cost to your business versus not using SEO. If your business is not seeing the results you need from your website to stay successful, then it’s time to contact our BIS Designs team for your free quote on our SEO services. Our SEO & Online Specialist will collaborate with you to create the most effective search engine optimization strategy possible, customized to your individual needs. Bring your website into the modern competitive arena with strategic SEO services from your local digital marketing experts at BIS Designs.

What do you need to know about voice search?

As of 2016, there are almost 3 billion smartphone users across the globe. And research expects a whopping 6.1 billion smartphone users by 2020.

That’s a huge number… Think of 10 of your friends, family members or colleagues that have a flip phone or brick phone… Now, how many people could you actually think of? Probably not many. That’s because we are living in a tech savvy age.  Statistics illuminate the vast amount of technology the average consumer is using. As of May 2013, 63% of U.S. adults use their smart phones to go online. Whether it is through a search engine, email, or app, smartphone users access the internet on their phone constantly.

Here’s one last statistic for you:  As of October 2014, approximately 55% of U.S. teenagers and 41% of U.S. adults were using voice search on their smart phones. Whether it is Apple iPhone’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, or Google Now, almost all smartphones come with an option for voice search now.

Voice search enables the user to perform searches quickly and easily with the press of the button. The answers to their search queries are fast and reliable. This is extremely helpful in situations like driving a car or multi-tasking or when you’re on the go. Since it is a popular feature and useful tool, what do businesses need to know about voice search?

Well, it all comes down to SEO, or search engine optimization. SEO ranks websites and businesses on keywords, backlinks and a plethora of other factors. The end result is your website coming up at the top of a search engine query.

For example, say you searched for “clothing boutique, Mobile, Alabama” using voice search on your smartphone. Well that would bring up a list of boutiques in the area that rank high in SEO or are using Google’s local business feature. If you’re a boutique in Mobile, Alabama and your website does not come up in the listings or on the map, you probably need to work on your SEO a little bit, and register your company on Google My Business.

How voice search effects SEO is a little unknown currently. There are suggestions that phrases used in voice search differ from typed search queries. This means that people are speaking differently than they are writing when they search for a topic, which makes sense if you think about it. Most people don’t talk the same way they type something out, or else it would sound robotic and strange.

SEO for written search queries is dominated by keywords, so keyword optimization for companies just contained the keywords and not the sentence structure that accompanies those keywords. In contrast, Voice-Search SEO uses more sentence-like, conversational phrases with keywords to mimic what someone would ask during a voice search.


Voice Search SEO: “What are good restaurants to eat at in Gulf Shores, Alabama?”

Typed SEO: good restaurants gulf shores, al

See the difference?

Google has recently launched a new SEO update called Hummingbird that incorporates voice search into their new SEO algorithm. This Google updates makes it easier for searchers to find what they are looking for without having to use short, terse keyword search phrases.

With the shift from searching using awkward keyword phrases such as, “Subaru Spanish Fort,” and instead using a conversational tone like, “Subaru dealerships in Spanish, Fort,” you can expect the SEO landscape to change with it. Though currently not many SEO experts are investing too much time key wording for Voice Search yet, it won’t be too long until it will becomes a larger player in the SEO realm.

A tip to consider: Try adding a Q&A section to your website. This will help Google pick up natural, conversational keywords and phrases within your website that will be used to influence your company’s SEO ranking.

If you need help with your business’ SEO strategy, give us a call. Our SEO experts at BIS Designs can great a plan and take proactive stance for your business’ SEO ranking. Call: 251-923-4252