What is worse than an ineffective spend in your business? When that spend causes lasting damage that costs more money to rectify! There is absolutely no doubt that bad SEO costs your company dearly.
These days many companies, of all sizes and types, are hiring SEO agencies to try to improve their rankings on Google. Unfortunately, the people in charge of this task are often doing so with inadequate or even wrong information due to the SEO industry still being relatively young and the public understanding of it so low.
There are things to watch out for so that you aren’t left feeling disappointed after investing in Search Engine Optimization for your business. We’ve put together a short list of 5 Ways Bad SEO Costs Your Company Money.
1. Offers of “Guaranteed Rankings” on Google
This is a huge red flag. If any SEO offers you a guaranteed position on Google, they are WAY overpromising. Rankings are constantly shifting due to the sheer volume of changes that websites make every second of every day.
Search engines update their results pages every time a website changes. A change from your competitors, or other industry-related sites, can make them rank better and force the entire page to reshuffle. This happens repeatedly as websites change constantly.
Therefore, you cannot ever be guaranteed a specific position on Google or any other search engine. So look for experts offering a reasonable and achievable expectation of “improving your SEO ranking,” rather than offering the top spot.
2. Dodgy Backlinks
One of the most effective ways to improve your ranking is to establish quality links between your website and other third-party websites. This is a vital part of any SEO strategy because one of Google’s ranking factors is how many other high-authority sites link to your content. If Google finds other sites that rank well in your industry trusting and referencing your material, you will have favorable results when the search engine places your site in the rankings. These links, called “backlinks”, send traffic to your site.
The trouble with this ranking factor is that many SEO “experts” have figured out how to manipulate it. Have you noticed advertisements asking if you’d like to buy 10,000 backlinks to your site? It’s possible and has been happening with some SEO agencies in recent years. Google has strict penalties for those caught doing this. You won’t just lose ranking positions, but will be removed from Google search altogether!
Although it isn’t YOUR style to implement these types of practices, as a business owner it is crucial that you beware of the SEO agency that starts building many links to your site overnight. If they are not quality sights that are relative to your business or industry, you may suddenly find yourself being endorsed by rogue sites related to gambling and pornography, simply to rank you higher. Successful outreach requires a well-planned strategy and a reasonable amount of time. Don’t choose an agency that cuts corners to get there, it will result in a catastrophic crash.
3. Ignoring User Experience
When discussing “User Experience” (UX), one must consider a variety of factors that influence how a website looks and “feels” for a visitor. Are there pop-ups for your newsletter, new products and special offers blasting onto the screen every ten seconds? Is your site easy to navigate? How does your website look to a customer?
Having too many ads on your website, or a website that takes a really long time to properly load, detracts from your customers’ overall experience. This is a double whammy when it comes to customer conversion or retention. Not only will you risk losing traffic due to your customers’ sheer frustration, but Google actually punishes slow websites and those where it seems visitors are leaving very quickly (high bounce rate). Thus, it is wise to pay close attention to the UX of your website to implement better SEO results.
4. Ignoring basic on-page SEO
“Get the basics right before you move on!” That’s so true when it comes to on-page SEO. You can be investing in huge off-page SEO strategies, but if your SEO ignores all of the on-page elements, you will simply fail to rank your pages.
Things to ask yourself:
- Do my pages and posts have unique meta descriptions?
- Have I placed keywords in the alt-tags of my images?
- Are my posts structured in a way that uses effective header tags?
- How are the keywords placed throughout the content?
Whether you’re handling SEO yourself, or hiring a specialist to do it for you, these are key elements that must be addressed before moving on to outreach.
5. Failure to understand metrics
Although you may be employing someone to handle your SEO, it is still wise to have some understanding of the analytics available to you. These metrics help you determine which of your keywords are generating traffic to your website and converting visitors to sales/customers.
While it is your SEO specialist’s role to improve these numbers, you have a responsibility to evaluate your site’s performance independently. Otherwise, how will you know if your chosen agency is actually achieving the results you’re paying for?
In summary, we want to emphasize that you don’t have to be an SEO expert to protect yourself from these costly mistakes. Good SEO takes time and a specific strategy. If you understand the basics of what is required, you can go about choosing an agency that will indeed help you invest in SEO wisely.
There are NO GUARANTEES in SEO!
If you are approached by someone offering guaranteed rankings and fast results, offer them a confident “No thank you” and keep looking for a trustworthy professional that will invest his/her time and expertise in providing you optimization that gets results.
Choose an agency with quality testimonials to back up any claims and keep in mind, nothing happens overnight in SEO.