There are a number of SEO resources available around the internet and, as a new business owner, it may be difficult to know where to start. Knowing what you want to do and why is an important first step to compiling your SEO strategy, so be sure to avoid these common SEO mistakes when getting your new business found online.
Chasing high volume search terms
Whilst high volume keywords may be the most appealing, they may not be the best choice for your business to succeed in the ranks. High volume keywords are usually competitive, and it is important to identify which keywords are most feasible for you.
For example, within some industries, page one (and sometimes two) rankings are primarily dominated by directories which are able to offer unrivalled insight into multiple options for a user (a useful experience from Google’s point of view). This makes them very difficult to compete with.
It’s easy to begin your SEO strategy with a range of high-volume keywords that you would like to be found for – but just because you’d like to be found for them doesn’t make it a good idea.
Instead, focus on relevancy and consider including some USPs in your keywords. This might mean including a location (‘…in london’), a USP (…’with a view) or product/service feature.
Choosing the wrong type of SEO for your business
Similarly, different types of business require different types and levels of SEO. If you are a plumber, hairdresser or service provider, local SEO may be particularly important for you whereas if you’re an ecommerce retailer operating all over the UK, focusing on local SEO isn’t likely to do much for you.
As a new business owner it may be tempting to think about SEO with a blanket approach (‘I want to be found on Google’) and target high volume keywords or go in all guns blazing, but it’s vital to identify what matters to your business.
Maybe it’s being visible on the map for local business, or maybe it’s navigating a highly saturated market of retail products: your approach should be different.
Taking it all on yourself
With all this in mind, SEO strategy requires a lot of wider context into the website as a whole, the search landscape within your industry and competitor activity, so it’s not a great idea to take it all on yourself.
Whilst budgets may be tight as a startup, consider involving an SEO agency or freelancer for some additional advice or even just to get you moving with an effective launch.
Taking SEO shortcuts
If you’re launching in a hurry because you are keen to get your business found (and probably excited about your new venture), try to avoid taking shortcuts that, whilst saving you some time, will have a negative impact on your rankings. For example, duplicating content across pages will probably make your life a lot easier to have content to launch with, but Google will penalise you for it!
Not considering search verticals
When you think about SEO for your new business, you’re probably imagining text-only ranks across the first couple of pages on Google. Depending on the type of business you’re running, it may be the case that other search verticals are likely to be much more fruitful for you.
There are many other types of search results to consider: if you’re a venue, you might find that your target markets are finding your competitors in Image Search, or that as a restaurant, your potential customers search for places to eat using Maps.
The key verticals that you choose will impact your SEO strategy: if your focus is local, citations may be most beneficial than keyword optimised content, for example.
Not considering valuable content
For many businesses and industries, the buying process starts with a research phase, in which purchase intent isn’t quite at the forefront of your target customer’s mind yet: they’re looking around.
You might think that you’re not interested in them until they show purchase intent, but there are ways of spotting this without a salesy keyword stuff – and remember, purchase intent may come much later.
If you can provide helpful content to your target markets at each stage throughout the buyer journey, you’ll become their first port of call when they’re ready to buy.
Don’t just focus on product-based keywords (electric cars near me), but valuable content, too (‘benefits of electric cars).
Not having goals
‘I want to rank on Google’ isn’t a goal (sorry). Being clear on what your SEO activity needs to achieve is vital to the success of your work:
- ‘I want to increase local business from London’
- ‘I want to launch a new product’
- ‘I want to improve rankings on an existing product range’
- ‘I want to optimise conversion rates’
- ‘I am building a new website’
Each of these goals will involve a different approach and different types of activity, so knowing what you want to achieve from the get-go will be really important in identifying how your SEO strategy is going to work and what you need to be thinking about.