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Keyword stuffing is a common mistake
Management, Marketing

Four SEO traps practices should avoid

By Chris Ashton
Although search engine optimisation has been around for a long time, many small businesses still fall for familiar traps. CHRIS ASHTON explains how optometrists can improve their websites.

Digital and social media marketing have become one of the mainstays of many small businesses and, increasingly, optometry practices. There are many myths regarding search engine optimisation (SEO) so businesses new and old to SEO can be misled easily and it’s not entirely their fault.

Optometrists who aim to increase their search rankings need to avoid these four common SEO mistakes.

1. Keyword stuffing

Optimising websites with the right keywords is one of the cornerstones of SEO but many make the mistake of filling their pages with keywords for the sake of enhancing search results, a practice called keyword stuffing. This technique was popular in the early days of SEO when keyword density – the number of times a keyword is used compared to the total number of words in a page – increased rankings.

Those days are over and keyword stuffing with words such as ‘free eye exam’ simply doesn’t work today. In fact, it’s likely to do more harm than good to a website – Google is now smarter and penalises websites that spam pages with keywords.

Tip: Go for quality over quantity. Aim to use keywords as naturally as possible and avoid filling content with keywords for the sake of using them.

2. Messy site structure

"To reach the largest market possible, websites need to be accessible through all major mobile devices."
Chris Ashton, Partner and SEO Manager of Kymodo

A well-organised site structure is the backbone of good SEO, not to mention great user experience. Unfortunately, many websites take site structure for granted.

A customer knows bad site structure when they see it: messy navigation, missing pages and no clear way of getting from one page to another.

When site structure is messy, website visitors will struggle to find the content they need. This will increase a site’s bounce rate and reduce dwell time, both of which have shown to impact rankings.

A disorganised site also makes it more difficult for Google to crawl a website and index its pages. This could lead to some pages not being ranked for search results.

Tip: Organise the site’s main navigation and make sure all pages in the website are organised logically.

3. Not making websites mobile-friendly

With more people using mobile devices every day, one would think that businesses would prioritise mobile-friendly websites. Surprisingly, that’s not the case.

George & Matilda Eyecare

Websites that aren’t optimised for mobile devices have ‘unresponsive designs’; they don’t adapt to smaller screens. This makes it difficult for visitors to view a websites on smartphones and tablets.

Why is this an issue? Research has shown that more people are now using mobile devices to browse the internet. In fact, a StatCounter report showed that people accessed the internet through mobile devices more than desktop computers for the first time in October 2016. This trend shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

In order to reach the largest market possible, websites need to be accessible through all major mobile devices. Google itself confirmed mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor, which makes it more important to ensure you have a responsive website.

It should be noted that taking a website from ‘not mobile-friendly’ to ‘mobile-friendly’ does require work by a developer but, as mentioned, the investment is worth it.

Tip: Adapt to the times and use a responsive, mobile-friendly design for websites. Not only will this make the website accessible to more people but it can also improve user experience.

4. Spammy linkbuilding

A strong link profile – the body of links from other websites pointing to your website – is essential to achieving higher search rankings results; however, many businesses often take this too far, listing themselves in too many directories or even taking part in interlinking blog networks for the sake of getting as many links pointing to their sites as possible. Others also abuse reciprocal links – ‘I link to you, you link to me’ – or pay for links, which Google generally discourages.

This method may have worked several years ago but Google is getting much better at detecting spam links in a link profile and will quickly disregard them.

This isn’t to say that optometrists using links from directories such as True Local are not important because they are, especially for local SEO, but again it’s about quality and variety rather than quantity.

The best links are those that come naturally from opportunities like editorials or blog posts.

Tip: Aim for variety in link profiles. The strongest link profiles are those that contain a good mix of links from different types of sources.

By avoiding these common mistakes, businesses can ensure that their websites are in the best position to improve their rankings.

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