Effective search engine optimisation (SEO) is crucial if you want to attract online traffic. According to content marketing firm BrightEdge, organic traffic accounts for about 51% of monthly visitors to e-commerce sites and far exceeds traffic from non-organic sources, including social media (5%) and paid searches (10%). You’re not realistic if you think your business will grow and prosper without a focused effort on SEO.
Unfortunately, many online retailers use SEO methods that hurt rather than help them. Here are some of the problem areas to avoid.
Irrelevant or repetitive content
A survey of 226 marketing professionals conducted by data analysis firm MarketingCharts revealed that creating relevant content was both the most effective (57%) and most challenging (48%) SEO task they faced. One of the main tasks you face is to create content that is relevant and engages your customers. For example, if your firm provides services to businesses, your copy should contain content that provides useful information about topics that will help those businesses be successful. Unless you’re in the dog grooming business, an article about popular breeds of dogs will not help you attract the type of traffic you want and need.
In addition, you need to keep your content fresh. Rehashing the same material will not only bore visitors to your site, but it will also damage your ranking in search engine query results. Content generation is not easy, but it can help your business succeed if your content is fresh and relevant.
Trying to game the system by stuffing your content with keywords will have two negative effects. Your content will sound stilted and won’t engage readers very well, and search engine algorithms will notice this practice and severely penalise you. Keywords are effective when you use them naturally and sparingly. One keyword per 100 to 250 words of content is reasonable.
Use some variation and synonyms for your keywords, and use some long-tail keywords that fit seamlessly into your content. Search engines are putting more emphasis on variation and synonyms, and long-tail keywords tailored to your business will have less competition than shorter generic ones, helping you to attract more traffic.
Neglecting social media
Research firm Statistica estimates there were about 2.43 billion people using social media at the end of 2016 and Facebook alone has some 1.59 billion users. If you’re not linking your website to social media accounts and using social media for marketing, you are ignoring a significant way to reach potential customers as well as interact with your existing customer base. Social media also provides a way for people to share your content and create backlinks to it, which will also improve your search engine ranking.
Not having content above the fold
Search engine algorithms are now evaluating page layouts and are penalising companies that have most of their significant content below the fold since visitors need to scroll down to view it. Having a good balance of high-quality images and text above the fold on each page of your site is an effective SEO technique.
Slow page loading
Slow page loading can frustrate customers and negate other SEO strategies. About 24% of the respondents to the MarketCharts survey said that fast page loading was their most effective SEO tactic, so consider using a website monitoring service to let you know if your page loading speed degrades.
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