Why Your Keyword Research Isn’t Getting You Anywhere — Top 6 Mistakes Site Owners Make

Some keys to business success are timeless. The customer is always right. You should build solutions, not products. The best advertising doesn’t feel like advertising.

Newer on the list of business tenets is the art of SEO. Since the early 2000s, a business’s online presence has worked its way toward becoming akin to its brand reputation as a whole. There are still industries that thrive on word of mouth, radio ads, and TV commercials, but more and more individuals look to web browsers rather than billboards to find a product or service.

As in anything else business-related, there are about a million ways to get SEO wrong. Let’s cover the top six things you don’t want to do as a business site owner if you want your brand to crawl its way up the search results ladder.

You’re Putting All of Your Keyword Eggs In One Basket

Just as your high school English teacher taught you not to rely on Wikipedia as your only source of information, Google Keyword Planner, Moz Open Site Explorer, or any other analytics or SEO platform should not be your sole source of data as you’re planning content for your site.

Pull from multiple sources, and make data-driven decisions:

Basically, use the powers of Google, Moz, Alexa, and SEMrush combined. If you’re not already doing so, use an SEO-friendly platform to manage your site content. I find WordPress to be the best for this, if for no other reason than SEO plugins are abundant in the WP world. Take advantage of the complimentary SEO tools offered by a hosting provider like InMotion, too. May the search engine force be with you! 

You Suffer From Keyword Confirmation Bias

See if you can relate: You see a high-volume term and assume its context based solely on your own experience. You think of why you would be searching that phrase, and not necessarily how someone else may have a different reason or intent.

Let’s say the term you’re trying to capitalize on is “best event catering.” The implied question here is, “What’s the best catering company for events?” If you limit your answer to only apply to a portion of the asking audience, e.g., only covering parties with 50 or fewer guests, or not thinking about corporate gatherings, you run the risk of capping your keyword success. You’re essentially cutting your content, and its potential search engine success, off at the knees.

Let the search numbers (and the articles that rank, i.e., competitor research), do the talking, and don’t let your personal opinions overpower their voice. You want to answer user questions from all sides—factoring in every potential scenario and user profile.

You’re Misusing HTML Headings, Hindering the Success of Any Research

Certain HTML structure rules you just don’t mess with. You know the big ones: Each page should only have one <h1> tag, you shouldn’t haphazardly jump up and down the heading hierarchy, and to keyword stuff is to kiss your rankings goodbye.

What about the not-so-obvious stuff?

  • Mix up headings with synonyms (e.g., “top” instead of “best,” “low-cost” in lieu of “cheap”)
  • Capture more searches with eye-catching modifiers (e.g., “free”, “2017”, “for families”)
  • Don’t use heading tags for aesthetic emphasis; use bold or underline styling instead
  • Don’t only bold for emphasis; break up content with <h2>s where appropriate
  • Think of the user intent behind the search, and don’t use keywords in nonsensical contexts

In general, headings indicate the importance of the copy that follows. Your H1 is the most important; H6 tags represent the least important sections. So it makes sense that you’d want to add keywords into your headings for search purposes, and you’ll want to get your terms as close to the H1 or H2 levels as possible for the best SEO results. It’s a slippery slope to giving off a spammy vibe, though, so proceed with caution. A good rule of thumb is to focus on user experience when crafting your skeleton for your website content.

You’re Researching the Terms, Not The Topics (Write more! Write better!)

To truly rank #1 for competitive terms, you have to become an expert on the topic at hand. Don’t expect to rank with a few measly paragraphs when others have written 1,500-word dissertations on the subject (that are both easy to follow and well-cited).

Think from the perspective of your prospective customer, visitor, or reader (every one of them).

Your Heading or Anchor Text Language is Unnatural or Repetitive

Wording variation, or the use of mixed, natural language, is key in keyword research. Don’t get me wrong, keyword-rich anchor text continues to influence search rankings. However, don’t force it. Just because “women’s running shoes” has 27,100 monthly searches and is a pivotal term for your brand doesn’t mean you need to jam it into every H2 on your site and every link back to it.

Use mixed language throughout your site content, including headings, body copy, image alt text, and link anchor text. Not only does this dilute your keyword density and safeguard you from penalties, but this actually reinforces your credibility in the eyes of search engines. Google knows by now that “coffee shops” and “coffee houses,” or “best real estate agents” and “top real estate companies,” essentially mean the same thing or are at least related. No need to repeat yourself.

It doesn’t matter how buttoned up and professional you aim to come across as a brand, you want to sound human! Forcing head terms into unnatural positions in a heading or redundantly jamming competitive phrases into every link you build to your site does not a human experience make.

Your Blog or Site Lacks an Editor—Everyone Needs an Editor!

This tip seems to come up in just about every how-to or how-not-to article I write when it comes to site building, web marketing, or content in general. It’s basically the Golden Rule of content quality, though, so I’ll continue to drive the point home: Everyone needs an editor! It is impossible to be your own second set of eyes, so if you don’t have the resources to bring aboard a proofreader of some kind, at least give your content a second look-over the day after writing (before you publish).

More experts note the significance of grammar, spelling, and semantics in SEO:

Whether you’re attracting foot traffic to your brick and mortar or web traffic to your WordPress site, you have to know your audience and how to capture their attention. In the online world, attention goes hand in hand with searches. Avoid these six faux pas above, and your business will be well on its way to the top (of search results, that is).

Alexandra Leslie manages HostingAdvice.com as the Tech Vertical Manager of Digital Brands, Inc. Boasting 50+ years combined experience in various tech fields, the HostingAdvice team is the web’s leading source for information on all things web hosting.

How Creating Websites Has Changed In The Last Ten Years

Let’s take a short trip down memory lane, back to 2006. Action movie fans were yelling “SPARTA!!!” after seeing the hit film 300. Google just purchased YouTube. And, you were probably rocking out to Justin Timberlake informing us of how he was going to bring “SexyBack.”

With the rapid developments of the Information Age, 2006 seems like ages ago. Nowhere is that more evident than in the web design industry.

For example, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s homepage back in 2006, vs. today in 2016.

 

Continue reading “How Creating Websites Has Changed In The Last Ten Years”

5 Tips For Bing Ads Ecommerce Advertisers

Bing AdsAs an online retailer, how do you bring more customers to your website? Especially, customers that are ready to buy. That’s exactly the question that Mountaineer Brand asked itself just over a year ago. Selling natural handmade beard supplies such as oils, balms and shaving products, the small brother-sister team brought on an SEM agency in July 2015 to help the company reach more shoppers.

The agency immediately began search campaigns with Google AdWords and Bing Ads. Through the implementation of some new SEM strategies and high-value features, the agency helped Mountaineer Brand bring in 1,700 percent more “bearded” leads. And, on the Bing Network alone, Mountaineer brand saw a 1,500% ad spend increase, 2,300% revenue increase and 1,700% conversion increase.
Continue reading “5 Tips For Bing Ads Ecommerce Advertisers”

Social Media Mistakes Made by Business Owners

social media

Social media has been used by businesses for a long time. Nowadays, it is hard to find a business that has not shown its presence on social media. Businesses mainly use it for marketing and to advertise the business. However, not all business owners know how to manage their social media fronts. These are some of the mistakes they make while using social media in business. Continue reading “Social Media Mistakes Made by Business Owners”

Why No One Opens Your Email: 5 Email Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners

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Emailing leads and your current customer base can serve as one of the key strengths in your ongoing marketing efforts. As Daniel Newman pointed out less than a year ago, “Email is definitely NOT dead.”

According to references made in the same article, an overwhelming percentage (over 70%) of surveyed adults in the U.S. expressed that they prefer being contacted by companies via email – and even more stated that they appreciate getting promotional emails from businesses that they use.

Clearly, emailing consumers is still a highly viable practice that enables businesses to cater to the preferences of their customers. When you can respect such a preference and empower your client base – all while marketing your brand and build web traffic – the end result should be favorable for all involved.

However, you must keep one crucial detail in mind when you’re developing your email campaign: While email marketing is a vital aspect of reaching out and staying connected to customers, it only works when you’re doing it right. If you’re relying on the same techniques that countless other businesses and individuals (including spammers) use, you will likely find that the majority of your emails go unopened (and thus, unseen and unanswered by your target audience). Instead of repeating the mistakes of many marketers who may have already irritated some of the same customers you wish to reach, you might avoid some of the least effective email practices and save yourself much time and energy.

1. You Aren’t Asking for Permission

In the same way that millions of people loathe being approached via cold call by telemarketers, they may be apt to ignore “cold” emails and send them straight to the spam folder. Think about how many spam emails you are sent on a regular basis; do you open most of them? As numerous computer security professionals will assert, uninvited emails are some of the worst sources for fraud and phishing scams – and the word has long been out that clicking on the links in such emails (or even clicking on that type of email itself) could expose a computer network or single-unit PC to various sorts of harmful malware. You can also get into legal trouble if you send emails without the expressed consent of the recipients, so be sure that you’re contacting only those who want to receive your emails.

You might utilize several methods in order to secure permission to send your intended audience emails. Here are just a few that plenty of marketers have found to be effective:  Continue reading “Why No One Opens Your Email: 5 Email Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners”

Online Essentials Your Business Needs to Thrive

Business Chart Report Statistic Planning Analysis Concept

For your business to thrive, you need to constantly bring in new customers and clients. While cold-calling and traditional advertising both have their benefits, we now live in an online world – when people want something done, their first stop isn’t the Yellow Pages, it’s Google. If your small business marketing plan is going to succeed, you need to have a strong online marketing presence.

Naturally, you’re worried about both the expense and the time commitment. While online marketing can be expensive if you’re not careful, meeting the minimum requirements is an absolute must if you hope to grow your business – and it can be done in a cost-efficient way. In fact, you can take a lot of the following steps for free! Here are the online essentials your business needs to thrive in the 21st century: Continue reading “Online Essentials Your Business Needs to Thrive”

How to make sure your site is mobile friendly in a ‘mobile-first’ world

mobile marketingThe world is dynamic, and people are moving from using desktops to using the Smartphone in finding information and communicating via the Internet. In lots of countries, the number of Smartphones in use is more than personal computers. All the more reason to make your site mobile friendly. A mobile friendly site is the one that has the correct display for handheld gadgets like tablets, Smartphones, iPhones, and iPads. The site also has minimized scrolling, easy to navigate, loads faster and avoids using flash. Making you site mobile friendly makes you visible to a wider pull of mobile users since your website will be visible in the search results depending on how well you have configured it. There are three things you should know when making a website accessible by a mobile phone user. Among them is: Continue reading “How to make sure your site is mobile friendly in a ‘mobile-first’ world”

Need a pint? So do 30 million people. #MissingType

We are of course talking about that golden liquid – no, not beer. The liquid (technically plasma) of life: BLOOD!

Maybe you have donated this year, or maybe you’ve just thought about donating. But did you know that in the United States there are 30 million people daily that need blood. That’s nearly 1/6 of our population!

A British marketing company has taken initiative to combat the risk of running out of blood.  NHS Blood and Transplant started the #MissingType campaign to increase blood donations in the United Kingdom. Their campaign saw an increase of 30,000 new donors for the UK, and this year companies such as Microsoft, Samsung, and even cities like Amsterdam and Bondi Beach are taking part.

We all know the importance of a blood donations, but might not donate as often as we can. But, the thing is… there is a global shortage of blood. With a growing global population, more medical innovations such as heart and organ transplants – blood is becoming increasingly sought after to exact the type of medical breakthroughs and procedures that have helped heal millions of lives. Continue reading “Need a pint? So do 30 million people. #MissingType”

Team Member Profile: Shea Rodrigue

sheaHometown: Houma, Louisiana
Position: Marketing Specialist
Been with InMotion Hosting since: 2012

How did you get started in the web hosting field?
It was a potent combination of curiosity and necessity. Many years ago a friend, and business owner with old-school values and processes, brought up the need to bring their business into the digital age and begin creating an internet presence by selling her clothing from a website. I had taken a class on basic HTML and one on eCommerce prior to that, which doesn’t really mean anything, but my ego was large enough to convince both of us that I could make that happen. And I did. I began lots of research on web design, eCommerce, website builders, and ultimately web hosting. I launched my first eCommerce site and haven’t looked back since. Continue reading “Team Member Profile: Shea Rodrigue”

5 Little Tweaks to Boost Sales from Your Website

The internet is playing an increasingly prominent role in commerce, and research shows that digital interactions influenced retail sales to the tune of in 2015. This number will only go up, but what does this mean for your business?

According to data from Eisenberg Holdings, for every $92 the average company spends to get customers to their site, they spend just $1 to convert them. So much attention is paid to driving traffic, to getting attention, that what really matters – getting people to convert – is ignored.

If you have a website, boosting sales is no rocket science. In fact, simple little tweaks – that can sometimes take minutes to implement – can double your revenue. Here are 5 little tweaks you can implement today that are proven to give you a sales boost: Continue reading “5 Little Tweaks to Boost Sales from Your Website”