Almost every business that we work with depends on Search Engine Optimization to get more sales leads into their business. Most businesses can easily expect to see 20-50% gains on their web traffic just by making a few tweaks to their current lead generation strategy, but many don’t know the difference between what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong. There are a lot of misconceptions out there as to what will bring the best results from the Google Machine. Shoot, even we make SEO mistakes so we’re constantly working with our SEO Gurus to come up with better solutions to the problems we face. We’ve learned a lot over the last couple weeks working with our customers and we we want to share it with you so that you can get as much traffic as possible to your web-based lead sources.
Here are six mistakes that we’ve learned to avoid:
1. Building a site on a free subdomain or a social media site
One way websites increase their ranking with a search engine is by the accumulation of inbound links. The more websites that link to you, the better your search engine ranking. Building your site on a free subdomain makes you vulnerable to losing that credit should you choose to move your website. While we’ve never set anything up on a free sub-domain, at one point we had our blog setup on a sub-domain. After making some tweaks to our website we realized this wasn’t the best strategy for our company so we moved our blog to a sub-directory of our website. The changes we made helped us in a lot of ways but we were likely to lose all the great links we built up over the years. Lucky for us, we are able to do 301 re-directs to the new site and save all of our links. However, if we had gone with a free subdomain we would have been screwed because most free subdomains don’t allow the use of 301 re-directs. Always be careful of where you setup your lead generating pages and make sure to consider what the repercussions would be if you need to move them in the future.
2. Duplicate or Non-Descriptive Title Tags
The Title Tag attribute is largely agreed in the SEO community to be one of the most important “on page” aspects of SEO for each page of your website. To put it simply, title tags tell the search engine what your page is all about. Many business we’ve worked with over the past few months don’t realize how important these title tags are to their lead generation strategies. Rather than being descriptive about their business in the title tag, some websites simply use “home” or “welcome” as the title tag of their page rather than “Scottsdale Plumbing and Heating Solutions.” By increasing the specificity of a title tag, businesses will increase their SEO because the search engines will be better able to distinguish what the website is all about. Also, make sure to not use the same Title Tag attribute on every single page of your website. Describing the individual content of each page with a unique title tag opens more search terms for your site and the likelihood of more traffic.
3. Building Primarily Flash-based Websites
Flash use to be the coolest thing on the web 8-years ago, but it is slowly losing ground and dying thanks to HTML-5. This is awesome news for consumers and lead generation companies. Flash carries a number of problems and vulnerabilities for computers, and Flash websites have always been incredibly hard to optimize for SEO (at one point search engines couldn’t even index Flash content). If you’re in the process of developing a lead generation page on the web don’t bother consider using Flash. In a couple years it’ll be worthless. On top of that, most mobile platforms still don’t support the use of Flash. Apple’s iPhone and iPad don’t support Flash, and Adobe has given up on their development of mobile Flash so it’s likely to stop being supported on Android devices as well. All of those platforms support HTML-5 though. Avoid Flash so that you can make sure all of your lead sources are easily seen by search engines, and so they can be viewed by the maximum amount of people on every device possible.
4. Using “Splash” Pages as Homepages
To me, there’s nothing more annoying than visiting a website that has some “sexy” graphic or Flash animation intro on the homepage that greets you and then provides a link saying something silly like “click to enter,” which then directs the user to the real website. Add some music to the background that I can’t turn off and you’ll have successfully annoyed me more than Kim Kardashian. The intro page, or splash page, isn’t just bad because you wasted ten seconds of my life, it’s bad from a usability perspective, and it’s terrible for SEO. The page usually contains very little written content that can be used to improve search engine rankings. Your homepage should be your best page for search engines to rank, and by having a splash page you’ve just lost major points.
Another issue with splash pages is that they create “split link popularity” issues. If you’re using the web as one of your lead sources then you are undoubtedly going to attempt to get as many incoming links as possible to that website. But if you start off with a splash page, which url do people link to? You homepage might be “leadgensuperpower.com” but if that’s just a splash page then users will actually need to link to “leadgensuperpower.com/secondhome.html” to get straight to your lead source page. Imagine the confusion that will be created just because you wanted a really cool intro page. The lesson here is to keep things as simple as possible to avoid confusion and get the most amount of traffic to your pages.
5. Not Optimizing Local Listing Pages on Popular Local Sites
Even though we have clients all over the world, we’ve realized that a lot of people want to do business with a local software company rather than one that’s on the other side of the country. This gives us the opportunity to build an even better relationship with our customers and gives us great word of mouth. New information shows that twenty percent of all Google searches are local in nature. If your business is located in a major metropolitan area then this means you should be able to generate a lot of local traffic to your lead sources. Optimizing your Google Places listing is vital if you want to be found for locally based searches. It’s believed that Google pulls data from other review websites such as Yelp, CitySearch, etc, and uses those listings to adjust your Places page ranking.
6. Not Building Links
Run a Google search for “link building strategies” and you’ll get over 6 million results. Everyone knows that link building is one of the best ways to improve your search engine ranking, but some people still don’t make an active effort to acquire new links coming into their web pages. Inbound links tell the search engines, “Hey, this guys website is important to 4037 other websites, so it must be important information that we should share with everyone who uses our search engine to do a search for these words.” If you only have a couple inbound links then the search engines think your page is dead. Getting third-party websites to link to your pages takes time and effort, but don’t let that dissuade you from buckling down and getting it done.
Trends on the internet change everyday. What was once great SEO advice two years ago might now be considered to be terrible, so it’s important to keep learning the tricks of the trade so that you can generate as many leads as possible. Above all else, just keep trying.
If you’ve recently learned some things to avoid in your SEO strategies we’d love to hear from you. Hit us up in the comments.