When you first learn how powerful a digital marketing tool SEO (search engine optimization) is, it seems like a no-brainer to use SEO principles on every web page you publish. After all, this is one of the best ways to get users to your website, increasing awareness of your firm and growing your potential customer base. How could you go wrong?
The truth is that many companies go astray when it comes to SEO. Because while SEO is a fantastic tool for marketing your firm, it’s only one of many available to you, and like with all powerful tools, it can be abused. Overdoing SEO can have the opposite of the intended effect, alienating users and making them want to leave your website rather than continue to use it. In this article, we’ll explore the possible pitfalls of SEO and how you can avoid them.
The Power of SEO
As you probably already know, SEO is a very effective marketing tool, with 68% of online experiences beginning with a search and the first five organic Google search results getting 67.60% of all the clicks. Not only does being on the first page of a search result get you lots of clicks but not being there can be detrimental to you, with only 0.78% of Google searchers ever clicking on results from the 2nd page. All of this makes it quite clear that the aim to improve your search engine rankings is obvious for anybody who wants to have their website seen.
Although Google’s SEO algorithm takes a whopping over 200 factors into account, we know certain things improve SEO, such as using keywords, having accurate meta descriptions, including links, etc. So why not do your best to do these things to the absolute max?
When SEO Becomes SE-No
Well, problems start when firms sacrifice the brand experience while chasing SEO results. Because ultimately, if you can’t find the right balance between SEO and user experience, you stand to lose more than you gain. You might nail a laundry list of SEO best practices, but if the result is a website that is unreadable and indistinguishable from its competitors, the ends don’t quite justify the means. Or, to put it in other words, if you make a mess of your website while seeking that number one position, what’s left for visitors who come to your site?
Things to Watch Out For
So what can you do to make sure that you don’t overdo it with SEO and ruin your website in the process?
First, be careful about chasing sameness. Many SEO consultants will look at the websites of top pages ranking for the same keywords you want to rank for and advise you to adopt similar practices for your site. And while it might seem like an obvious move to emulate the SEO-successful, doing so is a dangerous trade-off. You might improve your search engine rankings a bit, but in the process, you’ll make your site less unique and lose some of your brand’s distinctive identity. When your website looks like a dozen others, it becomes easily forgettable, which is almost certainly counter to the goals of your marketing strategy.
Another common SEO pitfall to be wary of is irrelevant keywords. Keyword research can be very effective at finding a long list of keywords that your potential customers are searching for, and any SEO firm will tell you that you should use those keywords on your page as often as possible in order to rank for them. However, many keyword phrases that we optimize for aren’t very natural sounding. Even the best content writer won’t be able to find a way to integrate keywords like “restaurant walk-in fridge repair Houston” into an article in a way that comes off naturally, so it might be better to let that one (and others like it) go.
Finally, be careful about keyword stuffing, which is the overuse of keywords on your pages in a way that is more about using specific search terms than providing relevant and valuable content. Modern consumers are incredibly savvy and can quickly identify keyword stuffing, and they don’t view it favourably. So take care not to make a mess of your carefully written website to inject enough keyword phrases into your article.
At the end of the day, your website’s first aim should be to create a good impression on its viewers, which it can do by being relevant, accurate, easily readable, and useful. SEO, while undoubtedly important, should be a secondary consideration that you don’t make sacrifices for.